**stick with me here, this is a long post, i just couldn’t stop writing, its not edited, its grammatically correct, it would fail as an essay, but i think the emotion in the rambling is more important than capitalization, run on sentences, etc.
This week has been pretty slow, we don’t have any vehicles that are drivable besides a 30 passenger bus and the Mack truck. neither are acceptable for running an errand to the hardware store or bank. Most of my work this week has been little “chores” Moving 5 gallon water buckets in to storage, finishing putting a few beds together, changing out MORE doorhandles and sorting through keys (how is it we can have so many keys and NO ONE knows what the key belongs to…baffling…)
So I spent a lot of the morning finishing up some work around here, and then reading. I have found a lot of joy in reading this last few months, its been a nice way to calm down, reflect, and kind of give me something to ponder on throughout my day (that’s a whole other blog post, stay tuned for that one!)
This afternoon I went to the deck to read and hopefully to finish the latest chapter of “When Helping Hurts” (if you are thinking about Mission work long term or short term, or any kind of humanitarian aid, this is a MUST read!!!) as i came down from the deck i noticed a lot of the boys were out on the new soccer field trying to finish to spread the last two mounds of dirt that we recently had delivered. (the boys have been playing soccer on that field for the last few weeks with these two huge mounds of dirt in the corners, its the funniest thing they play soccer like they arent even there, corner kicks take place on the top of them, while countless kids build tunnels for the “cars” to drive through, or make dirt castles, or throw dirt “snow” balls at one another). On my way downstairs I found Volcy and he had this HUGE smile on his face! I asked him what was going on and he grabbed me and told me that there was going to be a big party this afternoon at Source de la Grace East (SDLGE, the orphan village closet to the Jumercourt Inn) Volcy told me we wer invitied Pastor Calix’s kids and Pastor Claude’s kids over for some music, dancing, hair braiding, jump roping, and most importantly our boys were going to play Calix’s boys in a soccer game! I was excited mainly because Volcy was excited and you could see the boys starting to get excited, and nervous (it was so humbling, and eye opening to me, to see this boys 13-16 years old getting excited to this soccer game, they were getting nervous for this BIG game, to me it just seemed like a silly scrimmage with the neighborhood boys, but to these guys it was like the State Championship or something, these were the same nerves and the same excitement I used to feel suiting up for a soccer game…that took me back for awhile, it was great to be in that place again, a place I have nearly forgotten as my soccer years have been over for about 6 years now)
SO i grabbed my video camera and decided I was going to take video so I could share with all my friends back home this party! I was pumped this was going to be awesome! As the game gets started Volcy runs up to me, and says, “Are you ready?!” I asked, “Yea! for the game?!” Volcy laughed and said, “Nope! you are going to be the referee!” He handed me two streamers all folded up like cards, one yellow and one red. he also handed me a whistle (God only knows were this thing had been!)
Now I’d played soccer nearly my enitre youth through most of High School, but I had never refereed, BUT I had played soccer for all these years I can handle a neighborhood soccer game right?! WHOA WAS I OFF TRACK, all though these kids are playing in old hand me down uniforms, tube socks and crocs, this was the most important game they had played in! And it was vital I blow the whistle for EVERYTHING! Fouls, hand balls, penalty kicks, corner kicks, goal kicks, throw ins, you name it! if the play stopped i better be there with my whistle!
About twenty minutes into the first half, SDLGE gets a lucky goal, a slow rolling shot his a rock in the field and bounced right around the goalie….THE PLACE ERUPTED!!! PLAY STOPPED AND WE HAD A HUGGGGEEEEE PARTTTYYYYYY!!!! the kids had torn up pieces of paper as confetti, waiting, praying for a goal. …the ball went in…the kids came out!! Do you remember the PK shoot out in the USA vs China or maybe it was Japan, world cup final back around 2000? and the final penalty kicker for the US scored, ripped off her shirt, and all the girls dog piled on her, they just won the world cup?! that’s nearly what this was, and exactly what it reminded me of!
The second half of the game, Jacob (Calix’s oldest son) came to play, and single handedly destroyed SDLGE, it wasn’t a pretty sight..i think he scored like 6 goals or something. The boys were demoralized, humiliated, they had just lost everything…This story doesn’t get better, they didn’t come back and win in over time, nothing like that…the game ended, I blew the whistle, and the teams shook hands…SDLGE went and sat by themselves to discuss whose fault this was for the big loss…I went over to “listen” and try to figure out what they were saying…
To me, this was fun, this was silly, this was a blessing to be a part of…To these kids..it was SOOOO important..I can’t get over it, I can’t get over how much like me all these boys are! That might sound ignorant, or you might be saying “well they are kids just like you were” but don’t we put this kids on there own little platform sometimes, or pretend they live in a world that isn’t the same as ours? (maybe you don’t but I am definitely guilty)
These kids aren’t playing for a premier, nationally known, traveling soccer team, they aren’t playing for a high school of 2,000 students, so what do they care if they lose, what do they care its just a game right?
This experience made my ministry to this boys that much more real, and definitely strengthened my relationship with these guys. yea i now, i don’t speak fluent Creole, I don’t get to talk to them like I would like to, but that will come. I can still “coach”, i can still play soccer with these boys, I can still invest in their lives without verbal communication…
this is what I am most excited about…I love the American teams that come down, I love getting to be apart of their huge heart transformations week after week, and see all these mountains being moved, all these wounds being healed, and this walls and barricades we have built around our hearts begin to crumble as we get to experience the Love of Christ; as HE intended for us to! But I’m going to enjoy mentoring and being a big brother to the older boys here at SDGLE, I am so blessed to have these 1o or so young guys to spend time with, be with, and share life with. And when I think to myself, how can i relate to these boys?! I have a great family! both my parents are still living! (or what might be worse) My parents didn’t abandon me, because I was a financial burden…these kids have seen so much more pain that I might ever experience, they have seen things I pray to God i will never have to see…BUT HERE IS THE KEY, THIS IS WHAT TO FOCUS ON, THIS IS WHAT IT IS ALL ABOUT!!! these boys, these kids, these orphans…ARE KIDS! they laugh at the same things I used to laugh at, they play just like i used to play, they love just like kids love, as if they don’t know any other way to show you that you are important…
In the midst of all the trouble in Haiti, the elections, the Cholera..Father help me to find peace in this love that you have poured out in front of me. Help me to find comfort, joy, and strength in it. When I begin to label this kids as orphans or oppressed and abandoned, don’t let see that label, don’t let me believe these kids are any different than I was when I was there age. Help me to remember they want the exact same things I wanted. Remind me these kids are only looking for the essentials..food..shelter…and LOVE.