Often people tell me that I have great courage I quickly tell them that this is not true. I am not brave, but I know what courage looks like. I have seen it so many times in the eyes of a child who dares to believe that God loves them, that Jesus can solve their problems. These little ones live in such hard places but the grace of God, they hold on to hope.
I met one such little girl in Brazil. We all climbed in the back of Pastor Neto’s big truck and traveled for a long time on a very rough road. Then it turned to dirt and finally we stopped and began to walk across pastures, climbing several fences. We carried with us balloon, a few puppets, paper, chalk, and some storytelling supplies. It was a long walk.
When we first came to the house, I did not recognize it as a house. It was very small, made of stick, with mud in the cracks. It had a dirt floor, no indoor kitchen or bathroom. This place was home to the Grandfather.
A little further up we saw a second house, bigger then the first, constructed of mud bricks also with no indoor kitchen or bathroom. The Grandfather waited there with two little boys, one and three. A tiny little girl, too small for her seven years was holding both of them. It was her responsibility to care for them until her mother and father returned from the hospital with her new baby brother or sister. Such a big job for such a little girl.
Gerson, one of our two Brazilian directors, held the papers for me as I knelt in the dirt and drew the Bible story for her. Faby, our other Brazilian director, began to translate. The little brothers began to cry because they had never seen so many people. While others comforted the boys, Gerson, Faby and I spoke to their sister.
I saw the courage in her eyes as she dared to believe that the story she was hearing was true. I watched as she listened with her ears and her heart. Our hearts broke for her, for how she lived, and for how she suffered. We all ached for the childhood she would never know, but more, we begged God our Father that He would call her to Him.
When we left, tears filled our eyes as we walked back to the truck, but we left with a special gift. She smiled! More, we were all challenged to find a way to reach little ones like this dear little girl who are so often ignored or forgotten.
Please pray for her and her family. Pastor Neto takes them food and water and tells them about Jesus. They are desperately poor, but their greatest need remains their need for Jesus. Pastor Neto, and Dinga, our new puppet team leader will return to this place. Pray she trusts in Jesus.
We are home, but not at home. Very quickly after arriving back in the states, a team from three countries gathered to practice for summer ministry. Five young men are living with me this summer and the Kelley’s host most of the girls. I am especially glad to have our English son, David Thomson, back with us! Pablo and Ali Tarquino traveled from Colombia so that they could learn more skills to use in their work in South America. Collin and Daniel Hipps returned from Alabama and were joined by a new friend from Maryland, Jon Bova. Praise the Lord for these young people! They are amazing and faithful.
The regular girls USA team is traveling with me. Hadia Jackson leads an amazing group of young women, Heather and Mykayla Kelley, and Katie Humfleet. It requires to vehicles to get us to the shows, but I firmly believe that these young people are worth the effort. It is a joy to call these young women my friends and family.
Our first show of the summer was at a youth detention facility. We do a lot of these shows but rarely see the response at this place. Many of the young people did not just sit, they listened. You could look into their eyes and see that many listened with their heart, not just their ears. All of us could sense God’s spirit was present. Please pray for these young people. God knows who they are. Beg the Father to finish His work in their lives. Ask Him to deliver them for the darkness, into his life.
Most people have given up on these people. Please be different and remember to prayer for them. In Jesus, who might they become?
A little boy held out a handful of coins to me yesterday. He said, "I can come to the puppet show." I smiled, pushed his hand back toward him, and said, "It’s free." He said, "Cool!" His face was a big smile. He loved the puppet show. Today he heard about Jesus because you gave. After the show, he remember to come and thank me.
Most of the shows that are doing this summer are like this one. We are going to where children live in very difficult places, but there is no financial help for these programs. Nine shows over the last six days fell into this category they heard about hope because of your generosity. Thank you!
Linda Summer for,
Alejandra (Ali) Tarquino