Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Up and Down (or the other way around)

Yesterday was sort of an up and down day. Mark and Marsha left for a couple weeks of vacation yesterday, leaving me here as the only American, which isn't really the end of the world. The hard part is that all the things that we were sharing responsibility for, now I have to do. Which, again, isn't really that much. The biggest part of that is supervising the library with the computers and the internet. Whenever someone is on the internet, one of the three of us needs to be in the library supervising. And to make sure all of the kids get time online, we set up a schedule where each kid gets one hour a week online. Which means the library has to be supervised for six hours a day, six days a week. Which is kinda a lot of time for me to be in the library.

In the last hour yesterday, I was getting tired and bored. I was ready to get out of the library. Its a handful to try to maintain some order in the library with teenagers coming and going for six hours. I decided to write in my journal a bit. As I wrote, I got just got more frustrated. Thoughts that had come up earlier in my time here began to creep back. "What am I doing here?" "There's no point in me being here." "I'm not doing any good, I'm just taking up space and consuming resources." (Yes, not eating food or drinking water, consuming resources. Thanks Swarthmore.) My writing began to morph from journal entry into prayer, asking God for direction and a renewed sense of purpose here. (Its something that I've struggled with in the past month or so, and keeps rearing its ugly head.) So I closed the library half an hour later, then, after a quick supper of Heart to Heart cereal, I went to check my email.

Before I go into all the details, I need to describe one of the boys for you. He's not really the easiest one to deal with. Since I've gotten here, he got into a fight with one of the other boys and hurt the other kid's eye. He's come close to getting in fights on other occasions, and generally doesn't understand his own strength. I wouldn't hesitate to say he's got some aggression issues. Since I've been here, he hasn't really been friendly with me, more quick to poke fun than show anything close to compassion. He's kinda a tough kid.

So I was quite surprised to find an email from him sitting in my inbox last night. It didn't say much, and it was in Creole, so I'm still not sure what it all says. But, for starters, HE reached out to me. It expressed admiration for me, and he said "I'm happy to write you and have you as a friend." A much softer side to this kid, and a wonderful place to begin a relationship from.

And maybe the coolest thing of all, I think he wrote this email about five minutes after I wrote my journal entry/prayer. Pretty quick response to a prayer, if you ask me.


  1. Thank you for the update. What a wonderful story. The fact that the young man reached out to you shows that even if/when you don't know it, you ARE making a difference just by being you.

    Your goals do not need to be BIG or SIGNIFICANT. If you make even a small impact on one person's life that counts as God's work. It sounds to me as if you are doing much more.

    Hang in there - Carol

  2. cool Jamie! I hope you let his email sink in and enjoy that you are in the right place. Wondering what you're doing challenges our belief that "glorifying God" really is our chief end as humans. That doesn't always feel easy though. Enjoy what you can each day :). Lots of love!

  3. Jamie, sometimes we can't see the difference we make right away -- one thing I have been learning lately is that seeds sometimes take a very long time to break through their hard little shells and send out green sprouts. God's time is not our time! So praise God that you saw that little green sprout! Also, when you eat or drink with the youngsters at the orphanage, you are not just "consuming resources." Eating together is a sacrament.
    Don't forget to let us know if you need anything!