Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him. Lamentations 3:22-25 (NIV)
Another exciting day at the Malnutrition Center. I have decided that I need to start coming for longer than a week. Just about the time I get over the bus and airplane trip and used to the altitude, it is time to go home. They have college students who serve as interns for four weeks at a time, and I think I want to be an intern. They don’t need to give me college credit for it! Another reason I would like to stay longer is because there just isn’t enough time to get the things done that I would like to do. This week I have focused on serving Nanny Christy and there is so much I could do to help her if I had more time. I cannot believe how much work she does from taking care of the children’s needs to keeping their room and beds clean to folding laundry and everything else in between. The final reason I would like to stay longer is because the children change so much even on a daily basis. I feel like I miss so much. Take my boy Billy for example. When I first arrived at the center eighteen months ago, he was like a little lump. You could see nothing going on in his eyes and his body was limp and unresponsive. He was so sick when he came to the center and even though he was healthier, he was so behind developmentally that it was hard to tell what mental capacity he had. In fact, I was told that he was mentally handicapped. That was a hard blow to take because I had gotten so attached to him on that first trip and my heart was broken. Then, I went back nine months later and Billy had grown so much physically that he had moved up in age levels. Still, he was very immature for his age and though pleasant and sweet, very blank. He could look at you and smile, but it was hard to know what he was thinking. He didn’t communicate with body language or with words. Despite his delays, I still loved him thought I cannot explain why I would be so attracted to this little boy who did not know me nor would likely ever know me or be able to communicate with me. Four months later and I was back at the center and this time, something had happened to Billy. Perhaps his body had healed enough that his mind could begin to function, but you could see the wheels turning in his head. That was the trip where he spoke for the first time and said, “Cube” and where he kept gazing into the black screen of the IPOD to see his face. In the last four months, I read on the Orphan’s Heart blog that he had begun to speak more and more. Mostly in whispers, sometimes just moving his mouth, but making an effort to communicate. Today, once all the Chicks were fed and down for their nap and the laundry was folded and put away, I went to visit Billy in the Ducks. They were playing and one of our team unwrapped a new Mr. Potato Head set and gave it to Billy. My heart lurched when he picked up the toy and immediately without hesitation, put the feet on Mr. Potato Head. Then, he put the hat, ears and eyes in their places. He puzzled over the nose and mouth, but when I touched his nose and mouth and said the Spanish names, he knew right where to put those pieces. In just a few minutes, Mr. Potato Head was complete. And Billy smiled. And I cried. To think where he was when I first met him and where he is today was incredible. If I hadn’t seen his progress with my own eyes, I would not have believed it. Oh, how I would love to be able to stay for an extended period of time or even be in a place where I could pop in once or twice a week to check on him. But, right now that is not possible so I will have to rely on the reports of others and the mission trips as frequently as I can afford it. I am blessed to have had this time with him and praise God for the progress he has made.