Who among the gods is like you, Lord? Who is like you— majestic in holiness, awesomein glory, working wonders? Exodus 15:2 (NIV)
They tell us not to have favorites, but it is impossible not to do so. The problem is that the children chose you. The love that flows from them and fills your heart is impossible not to ignore. Once the love bug has bitten, no matter how much you try not to have a favorite, you do. Most times, bonding with that favorite is life changing as well. When you realize how much you love this child that you have never met before, you come to such an understanding of how much God loves you as well. My favorite has always been Bili. He was here my first trip to the Malnutrition Center in January of 2011. Seeing Bili so sick, almost nonresponsive with a blank expression on his face broke my heart. I never dreamed I could love so much. Over time, I saw Bili grow. I saw the intelligence in his mind. I heard him speak and laugh. Every trip, it was something new. A flash of who he was becoming. Then, in the Fall of 2013, Bili went home. I was not sure that I would ever see him again, but I knew I wanted to remain in his life. The sponsorship program gave me that opportunity. Paying only $30 a month ensured not only that Bili and his family would have food each month, but also that the Center could maintain contact with him. Each month when he returns to the Center with his family for the food basket, the staff can measure his health and his progress. Bili’s mom has expressed her appreciation for the gift, which costs me so little. As Americans, we have been extremely blessed. While we might have to make a sacrifice, cut back on our fast food or Starbucks coffee, chose to make fewer purchases or in some way earn the extra money, that $30 means a lot in the life of a child. Yesterday, returning to the Center for the first time since Bili left, I was sad that his face was not among those who greeted me. I walked into the Ducks, but there was a hole in my heart at his absence. Today, while working with the Squirrels, Olivia came to find me. She had a big smile on her face and said, “Someone is here to see you.” I knew instantly who she was talking about, but could not believe that Bili was here. I had hoped that he might come, but thought it was a long shot. After all, he was just at the center last week to pick up his food basket. Though they made the journey last week, his parents brought him on the bus again, a forty minute journey, to see me. How humbling. He is talking so much more. Obviously loves his momma and papa. There is such a sweet bond between them all. He has a new baby sister only eleven days old. We spent a couple of hours together, talking with the help of the interpreters. We played on the playground, had a snack and enjoyed each other’s company. His parents are loving and kind. My boy is in good hands. The hands that God intended for him to be in. It was a sweet, sweet gift. My heart is full.