I have talked about John on here before. He is an amazing kid and part of what helped me realize Uganda was where God wanted me. I can't imagine loving anyone more (Of course I love all of the boys the same, but he has a very special place in my heart.) and would do just about anything for him.
John and I are very similar in personality and I think that is part of the reason that we connected so well. He is very quiet and shy, until he knows that he can trust you, and then he never stops talking. He holds a lot of things in and is very guarded, but has an amazingly soft heart. It took work getting to know him and there were many days I was convinced he didn't care about me one bit. Of course, now I know that isn't true.
Very soon after I told him I was going to take him back to school, we were talking and I was asking him about his family. It is almost a useless topic with street kids because most of the time they won't give you the truth as to what really happened to them. However, I feel like if it is possible to keep the family ties, then the boys should. So I was asking him if he would like to go home for a visit or to stay. What he said shocked me and broke my heart all at the same time. He told me, "Why would I ever go back there? They don't love me."
While that could very well be the truth, there is a chance it isn't. He could have just been hurting so much at the time from all of the trauma and abuse that he couldn't see the situation clearly. There is a chance his family is missing him and praying he will come back, but there is also a chance they don't care and are happy without him. Since that day, I have never asked him about his family again. He has shared a bit at his own will but nothing in depth.
Yesterday, I was talking to him on the phone, first he told me that he forgave someone he was very upset with. He was upset because she never came and visited him at school and he was expecting her too. He felt hurt and abandoned and said he would not forgive her and never wanted to see her again. She finally did visit and he forgave her. I was very proud of that accomplishment alone. It showed great growth and maturity on his part but most importantly it showed how God was working in his heart, that the healing had begun. Then, as if that wasn't enough, he asked me if he could go visit his parents because he missed them. What???? I couldn't believe it...
There are a lot of ups and downs with these kids. Sometimes the downs seem so overwhelming, that I wonder, "Is it ever going to get better? What is the point?"
But John is the point. God calling us to take care of orphans and widows in their distress is the point. A while ago when I was trying to decide if it was God calling me to Uganda long term, a friend told me that it is our choice to accept God's calling in our lives. God doesn't need us to do His work, so we can choose to accept the calling or not, but if we don't we will miss out on the blessings from doing His work.
For me, this means I would have missed out on moments like this with John. I would have missed out on miracles because it is a miracle what is happening to John's heart and many other boys like him. I would have missed out on being loved by some amazing kids.
I am very nervous about John going home and part of me wants to tell him no just to shield him from more possible heartache but that wouldn't be fair. So I hope you will be praying with me for God's hand to be over this reunion, that his family is missing him and will welcome him with open arms, and that God would continue to work in John's heart and would prepare him for whatever he finds.