Thursday, November 19, 2009

Isaiah 61 and a SMILE

A sister and a brother.

We are here for another two days, the mural is coming to an end. It has been quite a trip. Today came a conversation that was all to hard to hear, but at the same time an eye opener for the reality of Cite Soleil. Today I climbed up on the water tower to escape the countless questions of the men, children, and everyone else. Got to the top and just looked out over the countless shacks, tin roofs, people walking, and garbage. The scent of the garbage permeates your noise, makes you sick to your stomach. Taking it all in, thinking about the countless children that walk the roads daily looking for food, the countless people looking for jobs, countless people that are in search of love and family, it became this image of shacks beyond shacks. In about five minutes one of our young boys came up to the top of the water tower to join me. He is 16 and not in school. In that next 15 minutes we shared some conversation about his life. His family is him. He lost his mother, his father is nowhere, lost his sister at age 4, and he lives with his friend. The next question out of his mouth made my heart sink and feel this sense of guilt with how blessed I have been. His next question and look in his face made my heart so heavy. Looking into the eyes of a boy that lost his parents before he was even 15, he asked, "Are any of your parents still alive?" Like they should not be here, or at least one of them. With a simple yes I didn't think anything of it. His face displayed this emotion of, wow, how did you get so lucky? Almost left me with a sense of guilt in all that I have been blessed with, my grandparents, aunts, uncles, sister, brother, parents., Broke my heart to look at this young boy and see that he was completely by himself, but still he embraced me and smiled with such friendship. One of those conversations that will never leave my heart. I had to look at this boy and communicate to him that his strength, faith, and courage was far greater than mine. With that statement he respond, "You think." Like it was question. I thought about if I could ever survive one night of Cite Soleil.

By the end of 8 hours I am freaking out with being dirty, not wanting to use their "toilet" and pushing my "hunger." This boy had not eaten all day, sat next to me, holding my hand, sharing a smile and laughing and saying that he thought I had more courage and faith. Crushed my heart to see how he saw himself. It was my sweetest, but hardest moment today to have him open up his heart with me on the top of that water tower today. Before we left Cite Soleil I told him that he now had two sister, me and my sister, with that comment the grin on his face broke out into a full on smile. It was a sweet sight.

Came home to read a neat verse, "Peace and righteousness will be our leaders. Violence will disappear from the land; the desolation and destruction of war will end. Salvation will surround you like city walls, and praise will be on the lips of all who enter there. Isaiah 61:17-19
Isaiah 62: 1 Because I love Zion, because my heart yearns for Jerusalem, I cannot remain silent, I will not stop praying for her until her righteousness shines like the dawn, and her salvation blazes like a burning torch.
Those two verses just really captured my heart for Cite Soleil. A place that has been so devastated by war and violence, a desolate, destructed land that will one day be a place that is a desirable land that shines like the dawn because her righteousness is so marvelous. The days continue to be hard, but God's beauty and love have been in each one.

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