Our Last Show
We finished our time here with a very special group of children. They ranged in age from 2 to 16 and all had just been pulled off the streets. Some of their parents were dead, others too poor to care for them, and some of their parents were in jail. They listened with their souls. With all my heart, I wish that you could have seen their eyes, their smiles, heard their laugher and shared our joy. Your prayers opened this door and your prayers need to continue for these children. Even though many were so young, inside they were old, deeply hurt, and so in need of a Savior.
After we finished, one of the social workers came to me and expressed her thanks. She said, "This program was so alive. The children listened so well. I am so surprised." One little girl came to me, looked deeply into my eyes, and said, "Thank you." God had touched her heart.
Life In Prison
I want to describe to you what it is like for boys in prison. However old they are when they come to that place, they must stay until they are 15. They can choose to stay an extra year or two and receive more education. Ironically, most choose to stay. They simply have no place else to go. Many boys arrive unable to read or write at 14 years old. One boy that we shared with had both parents die while he was in prison. Many of their fathers and mothers are drug and alcohol addicted, so his story is not uncommon.
How bad is your life when you choose to stay in prison because it is better inside than outside? Inside, these boy’s face problems with sexual abuse. Sometimes, they are forced to work in the fields, but the director keeps the money .
When our friends started working there, the boys had cardboard tied onto their feet with ropes for shoes. The food was terrible. The dear ladies that now comprise our puppet team have made a huge
difference in these boys. They have worked there for several years. Most of the boys have never known love. One boy had many scars on his head from so many beatings at home. Even though he caught tuberculosis at the prison, they say that jail saved his life.
This week, the team delivered his first Bible to him. Please pray for this young man.
His name is V*****a and he has trusted in Jesus as his Savior. This week, our team delivered his first Bible to him. Please pray for this young man.
Our last words to the boys were the same. Sam and I both tried to give them vision. We told them that they could grow up to be great men of God. If we did not see them again in **********, then we would see them in Heaven. Please continue to pray for these boys.
This is a very dirty place. The air is so bad and full of dirt that when we return home, my washcloth is gray when I was my face. Many children here have asthma, but they do not have emergency inhalers. When a child has an attack, they must call an ambulance and they are always slow to respond. Sometimes if the call is from an orphanage, the child dies before help comes. These children are not valued. Again, we are reminded that this is not an easy place.
What We Will Never Forget
1. Watching a 14 year old boy with severe birth defects juggle with Sam and smile! His smile was a great gift! Abandoned to the care of the state because his head was large and pointed and his eyes bulged unnaturally, there is not much joy in the boy’s life. Our team faithfully visits him and the other orphans there every week.
2. Listening to a little girl in a wheelchair laugh as we let her touch a puppet.
3. Making a balloon hat for a boy to celebrate his 15th birthday in prison.
4. Sharing God’s hope with the homeless, deaf and seeing hope begin in their eyes.
5. Telling orphans that there is a Father who wants them.
6. Hearing the story of 2 beautiful little boys 2 and 4 years old boy, abandoned by their family and taken in by a Christian family. The youngest arrived in the middle of winter with only a scarf wrapped around him. When it was time to sleep, he crawled under a rug. This is what he was accustomed to doing. For 2 evenings, we played with them. Yesterday, these wonderful little boys met their new American parents.
7. Listening to Natasha share how God changed her heart toward the ****** people. One day, she was reading the Bible story of how Jonah felt sorrier for his shade plant that died than he did for the people who lived in Ninevah. Suddenly, she saw herself in the story. God changed her heart and now she spends her life ministering to these friends.
8. Hearing the responses of church people to the deaf ministry. Some objected because the said when you sign, you wave our hands around that makes my blood pressure go up. Another complained that she did not feel respected because our friend turned her back to her to sign. Many were unhappy to give up their seats where they had always sat to make from for the deaf ministry. May God forgive us if we see ourselves and hear our own complaints as we read this story.
9. The eyes of all the boys in prison.
10. The longing of the children at orphanages to touch us and be touched.
11. Riding high in the mountains, seeing the mountain rivers running crystal clear and making a snowball, but Sam and P***l refused to get out of the car so I could hit them.
Our time at the boy’s prison has been very dear. It is still so difficult to consider this as a proper response for the misbehavior of an 11 year old boy, but this is a place with many broken families. In reality, a good family would have fixed most of their problems. Guilty of skipping school and petty theft, they had no one to guide them. Traditions teach village ****** people to act in ways that will never produce health families. The cities have many homeless, with babies born on the street and in sewers. There is much alcohol abuse. In the darkness, there is light. Surveys indicate that there are around 5 to 7,000 true believers among a population of over 5 million. Ask God to strengthen these families that they would be a bright light for Jesus Christ! Ask the Father to protect them!
Home, Equipment, and Training
Tomorrow, Saturday, we will teach for 6 hours. Then, we will place the equipment and fly home late Saturday night. We will arrive at the Atlanta airport at 7PM Sunday. Please pray for strength and wisdom as we finish the trip.
Linda and Sam