Thursday, February 16, 2017

Golden Nuggets of Joy

In a week where we saw children with severe leg deformities, terrible rashes that covered the whole body and neck injuries causing paralysis that happened by falling into a gold mining hole; where we heard about a mother who took the lives of her two children and tried taking her own life because her husband took another wife…it is a small golden nugget of joy that we cling to.

Idrissa is about 17 years old. As a small boy he came to live at the orphanage because he was not cared for well at home. His father is blind and his mother is not mentally well and he was not going to school. As time went on it was evident that Idrissa was battling the wounds of his life. He would run away for periods of time, but he would always return. 

When he was about 13 we found a pastor willing to take Idrissa in and we enrolled him in a special school where he would have a basic traditional education and learn how to construct things out of wood. Even under this care Idrissa ran away two different times. He ended up back at the orphanage where we talked him through what this opportunity could mean for his future and he returned to the school. Unfortunately, the third time Idrissa ran away, he lost this opportunity and he simply disappeared.

In the past two years, Idrissa has dropped in to say hello once and just recently came back again. He told us how sorry he was that he did not take advantage of the help that we offered before and knows what it is like to truly have nothing. For the last year he was finding work some days doing odd jobs and was living on the streets with little to eat and was sick very often. He came to us to ask for any help we could offer. Idrissa came back to us time and time again because we were his safe place. He knew that he was loved and could have a meal and a safe place to sleep.

We came up with a solution for Idrissa. We would help him find an apprenticeship in town with a carpenter since he already had learned some skills in school. He would go to live in his village so that he could help his parents and rebuild that relationship and we would buy him a bike so that he could get back and forth to work. You could see that look of renewed hope in Idrissa’s eyes.

Through a generous donation from Grace Community Church in Canada, we had funds to buy Idrissa’s bike. The day he received it he smiled for a picture, but as he walked away with the bike it became clear. Idrissa, in his 17 years, had never learned to ride a bike! One of our boys spent three days teaching Idrissa, and now he is racing around beaming with pride.

The joy in others in infectious! I thank God for this blessing that he gave us and for his always perfect timing. God knows each of us. He knows our hearts, our needs, our suffering and desires…and he cares! Turn to God in times of trouble and he will be your refuge. Share your joys with God and he will delight in them with you.