Tuesday, October 12, 2010

there's something about the baby house...

I was not in the mood for my "shift" at the Baby House. I was tired, had some important emails to respond to, and was concerned that a whole evening of taking care of the kids would wear me out too much. The Baby House is where kids who had been living in prison with their moms could receive a healthy home environment in which to grow and go to school. We also welcome in the moms when they are released, give them time to reunite with their child, and help them regain an independent lifestyle. All good stuff, yes, but like I said, I wasn’t in the mood for it.

Chat and Nee are the house parents, and they stuck around all night, even though it was their day off. I somehow forgot how I always feel like family when I’m there, and how warm they welcome me into their home. I spent about an hour watching the kids play together outside, and could see Saw Min Oo, the newest boy to the home, laughing hysterically as he was being chased by Simomo. After that, Bobo noticed my Thai dictionary and wanted to practice saying the characters of the alphabet. At four years old, I was impressed with her ambition. We sat there for an entire hour while she repeated the alphabet, learning from her mistakes and moving on to the vowels. As Chat walked by, she said (in Thai), “Look dad, I can read the alphabet!” He gave her a smile that warmed my soul, a thumbs up, and said, “Alright! Great job!” as enthusiastically as possible. He was so proud of her, and she knew it.

We broke for dinner, and I realized that the best was yet to come. After goofing around with the kids and making some videos (Nee and one of the kids’ mom’s got in on the action, too), Chat gathered the kids together for some worship time. Did I mention it was his day off? This was not something he had to do, nor was it something the kids had to do. They were so excited. They gathered in front of him, ready to sing and dance their little hearts out. In between each song, Chat asked them what they thought God was like and got these responses: good, kind, and “I feel happy around Him”.

He asked me if I had anything to say to the children, and I thought it would be neat to ask them what they want to be when they grow up. Bobo, who is usually very quiet, said she wanted to be a doctor without any hesitation. While the boys wanted to be pilots or truck drivers, Simala, a 14 year old girl who has already endured a lifetime of suffering, had the most thoughtful response. She said she’d like to work at the Baby House, to help Chat and Nee, and that she would like to work with people who have broken hearts. This kind of wisdom and heart is rare in anyone, let alone a young girl with plenty of her own pain. It’s beautiful to see God’s healing and restoration at work.

Chat told the kids that they all have dreams, and that they have futures where anything can happen. He told them that they can ask God for anything, and that God will help them. We prayed for the kids, for their futures, and for their precious little hearts.

I left because I felt like if I stayed any longer I would be keeping them up, and not because I wanted to or had to. I left feeling whole and alive, without a care in the world about the emails in my inbox. It was not a distraction or an obligation, but an absolute privilege to be welcomed into their lives, and to experience the community of family that takes place in this home.

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