When I was considering sponsoring him, a friend asked if I thought he loved me. I said I thought so but I wasn't really sure because he doesn't really show his emotions. I really had no idea. I was crazy about him and thought that he knew that but I didn't know how he felt about me. I knew he trusted me because he gave me his money to hold. I knew he respected me because I could look at him and he would stop doing whatever it was. I knew he liked me because he talked to me. But love...???
How I really got to know John was by treating a wound on his chest. He had been gambling and him and the other boy ended up in a fight. John was/is an intimidating kid. He hits first and never asks questions. He doesn't hide his annoyance well and if the person continues, he hits them. And he is a strong kid. Thankfully, he is improving on this now, but before most of the boys never bothered him because that was how he was. Tough.
Well, the fight ended and the other boy ended in tears. John...a huge bite on his chest. He actually has a scar still from it. Since it was a bite, I didn't want it to get infected so I made him let me treat it. That was the beginning.
I finally realized he loved me one day when he walked into programs and I was sitting on the ground playing cards with some of the other boys and an aunt. He walked silently past me and put something in my hand. It was a heart shaped charm. On one side it said love and on the other the letter J.
The day that I asked if he wanted to go back to school, we went out to eat. We sat and talked and I asked him what he wanted to be. I don't remember the first thing he told me but I remember the second. He said that he wanted to help children just like me. I will never forget that day.
Since then, we have had so many hard times. I thought he was going to be the easy kid but he has turned out to be one of the most difficult. He has shattered my heart so many times, it is a miracle that I still have one. The wonderful thing about us is I know when he has done something before he even tells me. Even being a world away, I know.
Even in his stubbornness, there is hope. He realizes his mistakes and always admits them and takes his punishments. His problem is he is hurting and broken and doesn't think. Not an excuse, but the truth. One of the last times he made a mistake, I thought I was going to lose him forever. All I could do was cry and beg God not to take him away.
Thankfully he is still with us. Thankfully, he is changing.
One day before I came back to the US this time, he didn't go to school. He was being super dramatic and said he couldn't find his shirt. So instead of looking for it, he pouted in his bed. I eventually found it but by then it was too late to go to school. So I made him come with me on all of my errands. We went to the middle of no where to get some jewelry, got lost, walked forever, it was hot. He was absolutely miserable. He said he would never miss school again.
John has a special place in my heart. He has taught me about love, forgiveness, and second chances. He makes me laugh and makes me cry. He reminds me that it is difficult to love and people don't always understand. More than once, people have told me to give up on him. I can't even think about what my life would be like without him.
It is funny to think that God put this plan in motion so long ago. Before I even knew where Uganda was. Before John was even born. God knew that He would bring us together. He knew that I would see myself in him. He knew that I wouldn't give up on him. And in the times when I felt like it was too much, He carried me and gave me the strength. God definitely chose these kids for the home. He chose John. He chose me. I would be stupid to think that I was the only one God was using here. It may seem that way. But I promise you, I have gotten more out of having John(and the other boys) in my life than I can even begin to explain.
|John and me|
|John and Davis |
This was actually taken when he had ran away from home. An aunt found him at the clinic with Davis and convinced him he needed to go back home.
|Uncle Steven, John's aunt, John|
This is from 2 weeks ago when he went back to his village for the first time since he had left.