Sitting here in the sun, trying hard to keep the boys occupied on their school break and enjoy the weather before it becomes too hot to speak of.
Carl is currently away for the next five days doing medical teaching and assisting with a group of visitors and I am scheduled to do a one day medical camp with a local hospital group tomorrow. We seem to find ways to stay busier than the 24 hours in a day will permit, but it’s always a blessing to have time pass by fruitfully.
Last time I had checked in, we were waiting for BB’s father to arrive to orchestrate BB’s return to the village. Much to my amazement, and only after we had permanently removed her from the local TB program, did she decided that maybe the grass and cows should wait for a while and that she should try her hand at school. I’m certain that this is because so many people around the world were praying for her and God decided he wasn’t done with her yet.
It was difficult to listen to her father speak about not having enough food to take care of his other children. There are four others at home (14, 9, 4, and 6 mo.) in a village that is very far away from here. He shared with us that to pay off a debt that he owed to one of his neighbors, he sold off a piece of land that he owned. Afterwards, he came to the realization that he no longer could farm enough land to meet his families needs.
I tried to stare him down in case he was trying to stretch the truth, but then I found myself looking at his feet, which almost seemed like shoes that were permanently affixed to his skin. I have to say that I’ve seen many “bad” feet since I went into missions, but his take the cake.
The toenails were black to the point of not being able to see any visible surface at all and the soles of his feet had a good 3/4 in. of dead skin on them, broken and cracked, from years of abuse and no care. Somehow, in my mind, I realized that this man must be telling the complete and absolute truth.
He shared that three of his children had died from TB and that the 4 year old was now sick without any chance of help. So Carl and I decided that it seemed right to have the 4 and the 9 year old come here and stay with BB, who could easily look out for her younger brother and sister.
We felt confirmation in suggesting this when we realized that this man could neither hold a pen or read a single letter on the signature page for the children’s home. Since there continues to be no opportunity for school or education in the village where BB comes from, it’s easy to understand why Nepal is in such a dire predicament these days. Not much changes around here.
At the same time, we were also faced with a 16 year old who we’ve been in contact with sometime now, who has repeatedly asked for help with her 9 year old brother. Theirs is also an interesting case in that it isn’t an issue with money, but another issue of children who are in need of help and have no one to go to.
It’s been a long time since I’ve sat in the presence of someone who I thought might be thinking about killing themselves, but Carl and I both felt that this young female was a likely candidate if she didn’t get help quick. She had called early in the morning last week and asked if she could come to talk. She was crying and said that she needed help and had no one to turn to.
When she arrived, she began by asking if we knew that she was born in November. She said that nothing is ever good if it’s born in November and certainly if it’s a girl child. She said that her father had almost beaten her mother to death after she was born and that she was removed from the home by age 1 permanently.
Since then, she has lived on her own in Kathmandu, in a tiny room, and has raised her younger brother without parental help. She realized she had turned into her parents when she found herself using excessive force when trying to control her brother recently and felt she might kill him if he didn’t stop upsetting her. He is nine years old and has never been parented so to say that he’s easy to live with would be a gross untruth.
It doesn’t help that this girl is absolutely beautiful and has so much going for her in someways and yet has absolutely nothing going for her in others. After telling her that this was primarily a “boy’s” home and that we wanted to help her but were limited in our ability to expand to females, we realized that maybe what we thought was best wasn’t necessarily what God thought would be best. Therefore, we have agreed to take both of these kids on an interim basis.
In the last few days, we’ve cleaned out our back cement storeroom and the entire family has been busy painting it and getting it ready for her and BB. She will return this week with her brother, who we have space in the main house for, and she will live in the outside room while we look into a permanent boarding option for her.
Over the last year, Carl and I have prayed extensively about how to increase the number of children here and how to determine who is appropriate for admission? We’ve learned that God is in control of that, and that as long as there is rice and lentils, then we need to be careful about who we send away. We’ve also had many inquiries to which none have become anything of seriousness, which we took as a sign from the Lord to just lay low and wait on his leading.
We are thankful for opportunities and are praying that this will continue to be a good fit here. All of those who are coming have been told that they absolutely must behave and help with everything around here since we don’t have any formal house help nor do we ever want any.
The boys have really taken a liking to BB, who isn’t the easiest person to be bossed around by at times. We’re all very forgiving considering the seriousness of her condition but still, when she barks out orders, they bark back on occasion and everyone ends up laughing in the end.
Our evenings are spent with squinting into the tiny screen that Dee and Janet bought for the home. Praise God for enough electricity during the day that allows us to charge it for use at night. Last night we watched “Alvin and the Chipmunks” which made us laugh and feel like we were at home if only for a few hours.
Everyday and in every way, I am certain of God’s plan and direction in my life. It will be hard for Carl and I to leave the Open Hands Children’s Home when Eva and Isaac arrive on June 10th, but it seems as if God is already laying new ground for us in the direction of the Mustang.
As many of you recall, that is the exact direction to which Carl is certain we are called to serve while here in Nepal. Man, it’s just a wonderful thing when the vision that you have on paper can be materialized by the vision that you’re living.
Ok, back to washing the beans for dinner and we’re going to live it up by having some buffalo hot dogs too, a very rare but welcomed treat indeed!
Gina for Arise Medical Missions (Nepal)