Let me tell you about a boy. He is a boy who lives oceans apart from me, and I think about him every day. I see a quiet confidence in his teary eyes as they look up at me. I can’t tell you exactly what he is thinking, but I am pretty sure I can see his heart through those eyes. What I can tell you is that those eyes are teaching me still.
Abneezer is a young boy with what I would consider to be a very heavy weight on his shoulders and a quiet confidence in his heart. He lives with his mother and sister in a small home they have put together on land they do not own. They are squatting on government land in what you and I would call a “lean-to.” At any given time, the government may come in and rightfully reclaim its space, leaving them with nothing. My initial perspective was that they would be left with nothing. But my initial perspective includes space, food, and…stuff. Abneezer’s perspective is different. He is proud of his home and cares more about the happiness of his mother and sister. When we met him, he smiled big and in clear English said to my husband, “Welcome to my home, sir.”
As our group entered his humble home, he was nothing but smiles looking up at us. Maybe it was the innocence of youth, but he certainly was aware of what his mother was saying to us at the same time. The story she shared with us was no light matter; we were all in tears. Abneezer’s mother and sister are ill, and they cannot afford the necessary medical care, nor is there easy access to it.
We stood with our arms around each other crying, even though I can’t say exactly why. I could have been crying for the harsh reality of her situation. I could have been crying for the ache in her heart, and because she was crying. I could have been crying for the brokenness of my own heart and the silly complications I needlessly add to my life. Or it could have been all of these things. As we cried, she spoke of her recent feelings of fear and loneliness in facing the future. But then she continued. Because of a group traveling across the ocean to meet her and the staff she connects with at HopeChest in Burayu, she no longer felt alone. She knew of a much larger community of people who care for and pray for her family, despite the ocean in the middle of it all.
Abneezer’s eyes looked up at us and seemed to say that he too understood they were not alone. His eyes were bloodshot from holding back the tears, but they still smiled, and he seemed to have a strange peace in his heart. I saw Abneezer again the next day at the Kale Hiwot Church CarePoint. He was our biggest fan, getting his picture taken again and again, often returning to the back of the line to await another turn. But what was most striking was how throughout the day I would have a little hand come up from behind, grasp my hand and give a little squeeze. He didn’t need attention, as he was often already engaged in another conversation or activity with a buddy. He would just reach out, simply hold my hand and exchange that smile behind his tear-filled eyes with me as if to say ‘I notice you are here.’ I love that little boy and he will always have a piece of my heart. I am honored to have met him, to learn from him, and to help solidify his connection to the dedicated staff at the Burayu CarePoint. His face and his grasp are continual reminders to me to keep my perspective real and grounded, to value relationship, and to smile upon one another in love.
Originally posted here
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