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Friday, October 31, 2014

An evening on the swing

The view from the swing at nighttime.


It was the eve of a school holiday. As my custom often is when I have a bit of free time in the evening, I headed down to the orphanage to see who I could find to hang out with. There's almost always someone to talk to, and it's almost always a different person. You just never know, which makes it a fun adventure.

This night, I considered talking with a certain one of my students from last year, so I went to his house. But he was out fishing, so I talked with the other girls from his house for a while, and then went out to find someone else. As I walked along, I heard a voice call me from the swings. " 'Cher!" It was a couple more students of mine. We chatted for quite a while about all sorts of things, and other kids came and went during our conversation. Then those two decided it was time to go home too. As I was getting ready to leave, yet another of my students (an older one this time) sat down on the swing next to me and said, "I want to talk with you now!"

We'd never really connected before, other than time in class, so I was happy that she wanted to talk. She'd shown some rebellion in other teachers' classes recently as well, and I was curious as to what might have been the cause. We started talking, and immediately she began to ask me spiritual questions. Stuff she wasn't sure about from Bible class, and questions she seemed to have been thinking about in her heart for a while. She told me of her fears of ghosts and demons; fears that she wouldn't go to heaven because of all the bad things she'd done; the times when she didn't really believe in God - or that He is love. She explained that her relatives sneer at her for being a Christian. She shared with me how she hates the favoritism she experiences in her orphanage home, and the hypocrisy she sees in the "Christian" adults around her every day.

I was eager to answer her questions and show her the path to true happiness, but I felt so inadequate. As she tried her best to translate her thoughts into English, I prayed silently. Lord, give me Your words. I'll mess it all up if You're not here with me.

As our feet shuffled on the ground underneath our swings, I answered each one of her questions, sharing my own stories of experience, and even thoughts of fear and unbelief I've had before. I tried my best to point her to Jesus as a God of love, and encouraged her to live like Him, even amid the hardships she faces every day. I can't say I gave all the right answers, or complete ones at that, but it was special to be able to connect with her and encourage her to follow Jesus and spend time in His Word.

She told me a story, after I'd reminded her of God's greater power than Satan, about a time when she was so afraid of the demons. I don't recall if she had actually seen them or not, but as she was lying in bed one night, she had an immense fear of these evil creatures. She wasn't sure what to do, but then she remembered that she had a Bible near her. She picked it up and hugged it to her chest. As she did, peace filled her heart, and she knew for a fact that God's Word has power. She'd forgotten all about the experience but our talking about these things had reminded her.

Before we parted ways (late in the night!), I prayed with her.

Please pray for this special girl, and that God will continue to work miracles in her life. She still has a long way to go, but she seems to be searching. Pray that God will give me the time I need to be able to connect with her - and the other students who are open to encouragement.

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