Wednesday, June 20, 2012

A Dress for Hidaja from Maya

A pile of children surrounded me as I sat outside Pastor Newton’s small church listening to the ladies of Next Level Church deliver their Spirit-filled messages. All were happy to shake my hand or play peek-a-boo around the bent tree trunk. None, though, were interested in the photo of the small white girl except one. The one who was interested – the one who would not smile, would not talk, would not respond when asked her name – tentatively moved forward.

I motioned her toward me and she quizzically took hold of that small photo examining the front and the back of this stiff paper card. I pulled out the adorable dress that went along with the photo and held it up to this girl, a perfect fit. Hidaja (a teacher would later reveal her name) was a willing child…willing to be hoisted to my lap while she held onto that photo and examined the dress. A short time later, she even allowed me to slip the new dress over her solid frame. She clung tightly to her old dress, and to her new white-girl picture as well as to the adorable little card written to the recipient of the dress. I later had the teacher explain to her that Maya was a little girl in America who wanted to give Hidaja that dress so that she knows God loves her.

Having to leave her and the other children behind to attend to a few details, I soon found Hidaja standing next to me with her little hand in mine. And again. And again. She so refused to leave me that she wet herself (and my dress). We shared my lunch until it was time for the group to depart. This little one looked on wondering what would happen to me. Once the van door closed, this emotionless girl exploded with screams and tears until the teacher came again to comfort her. Oh why can’t I bring all these children home with me.

The van returned the next day to pick up the team speaking at Pastor Newton’s church and I hopped out once I spotted Hidaja. She came quickly to me and as I picked her up she lifted her legs around my waist and lowered her head to my shoulder. Those who hadn’t seen this girl with me the previous day stared with mouths agape. “She really loves you,” some said. And I really love her!