Missions Trips …how do you save the one who doesn’t want saving?
I’m not quite sure how to begin this story, and there is a part of me that struggles even to try as I fear the heartache becoming more than it is.
I suppose this is the nature of what we’re doing, and maybe in time, it stings a little less? Although, in truth, I pray it doesn’t for me, because something like this should never be easily digested.
I’ve told you before how I came to meet the two orphans we’ve been supporting, Daniella & Nano. (click the link to read the story if you’ve missed it) Immediately, their frail bodies and big doe eyes stole my heart, and I knew without a doubt God was prompting me to allow them in.
We’ve kept in touch over the year, sending letters and pictures and gifts, and we loved hearing that they were safe, in school, and for once, being well cared for. (Pastor Joel took them in to live with him and his family.) We knew they were struggling, as both kids had likely experienced some kind of abuse, but now they were safe, and we had hope.
About a week before we were about to head over, we found out that Daniella (age 9) had been non-stop crying for weeks at a time, begging to go back to live with her mothers last boyfriend and 17 year old sister who has two small children of her own. The crying was so much, and so intense, that her behavior began creating a lot of distress for Pastor Joel and his wife, and their own three children.
When we finally arrived and were able to sit down with her, the Pastor and Robert (the head of the foundation), we all realized there wasn’t a whole lot more we could do. She wanted to go. She was going to go, and there wasn’t a thing…legally, we could do about it.
We had a heart to heart with her, explaining with a firm tone of love and passion, that we were invested in her. That we wanted so much for her future. For her to know the God that loves her. To one day learn to read. To graduate high school and attend University, and that we wanted so much to love and support her every step along the way. But, that we couldn’t make her do all these things. She had to want it too.
But what does a 9 year old know about making a decision like that? What does a 9 year old understand about planning for her future, when all she sees around her is a future of poverty & death, just the same as it was for her parents. There is no welfare system, no foster system, no CASA program assigning someone to look out for her best interests…it’s simply her who gets to decide, and there isn’t a thing we can do, but pray and hope and let her go.
We drove her back to her old village the second day we were there, and all the way I hugged her and kissed her and told her over and over again how we loved her and that we would never stop praying for her. She snuggled in close to me and promised she’d come back to see me the next day, and every day until we left.
It was a promise she had no intention of keeping.
For that was the last I saw of her while we were there.
I asked her brother, Nano, if she was safe and being fed…and he quickly responded that she wasn’t getting beat. It was an answer given too quick, and I felt a cold chill race down my spine. A chill that lingers with me even now.
I just can’t understand. I won’t ever be able to wrap my mind around any of it.
It’s a harsh reality when you can’t play God.
It’s a tough reminder that impossible situations only belong to Him and must be continually placed in His capable hands.
And so each time I think of her face, or glance upon her picture, I will prayerfully place her heart and her situation back right back where it belongs.