Working In An Orphanage Yesterday
Officially, this is kind of my first “blog post”, ‘ been a long time coming. So many phenomenal experiences happen in my life, I feel I should make the effort to put them down on black and white. I’m no poet but, hopefully, as we go along my writing skills will improve and I’ll be able to really share some things that are interesting and insightful.
It’s like you wake up every day, then comes the night with just the span of tasks in between. So few are the moments in life where you find yourself not thinking about, or talking about but writing in your own life’s dictionary the meaning of the word; purpose! Yesterday was one of those moments…
Doing his daily chores, cleaning the floor to be exact, when he looked up and saw me standing outside the window. You see, I honestly didn’t even know if he’d really even care. But when he saw me he dropped the mop and literally bolted to the door, ran full speed and jumped into my arms with a grin from ear to ear. You gotta think about what would make a kid, about 13 years old, have this reaction. I was so happy, because in this simple moment that took no more than for a few seconds to unfold, I realized the purpose I have.
I felt like an athlete who trains for years of repetition, work, sweat, pain and time all for one moment in a championship game. The story started many years before when we had done a presentation for an orphanage “village”. I was so excited to have such an oportunity. About 160 kids and then the adults and caretakers. I just finished a little pamphelt for children that I looking forward to giving to them, plus we had some pretty good sketches this time around to really interact and make ’em laugh.
They had a nice theater but we chose to use the outdoor court ( instead. It was a beautiful thing unfolding as the synergy between us and them began to build. Running around like a clown being chased by a dog (David) I often feel quite absurd (even though it’s really fun). But its like a crowbar prying open an old rusty chest. It’s worth what ever it takes to get to the treasure inside, which, in this case is the hearts of those watching.
I vaguely remember (trying to forget) doing some new random sketch of trying to dance salsa in a fat caveman outfit. Woe! That sounds even weirder as I write it down. It’s what is called a “bomb” in the comedy world. Pure awkward. No neat ‘crowbar to someones heart’ analogy to apply here. Just slink away and hope no one remembers that one.
Sure enough, our fickle friend came pouring down about half way through. Refreshing but nonetheless a pain in the neck. We l had to run, rather madly, to the theater from this lovely South American rain. I wasn’t unhappy, I love having a theater. Seems like people pay more attention and understand things better indoors. Plus, there was then more of a chance the fat caveman thing will be completely forgotten in the chaos. Lol.
Anyways, after the performance the children, teens and caretakers opened their hearts and homes to us with warm smiles, hugs and tremendous appreciation. I remember sitting around a table in a small living room with children running in and out and climbing all over. My parents were sharing with some of the caretakers, the director of the institute and other visitors what it really take raise children and all the experience they had caring for us. It all felt so right as they listen with respect and asked apt questions. “Where else should we be right now?” I thought. No where! No where.
We offered the director to come and teach the kids Tae Kwon Do (we’re all 2nd degree black belts, certified in Korea, if I didn’t mention it before) or dance during the time we were there ministering in that city. He gladly accepted the offer.
So for the next couple of months it was a dream come true. Here in the third world, teaching orphans? I mean come on, Lord, You’re too good. What a privilege!
Personally it was a tremendous challenge. I wanted so much to change these kids’ lives inspire them to come to Jesus. But to do it in such a way that is creative and… My goodness this is insane. Sorry, it’s just that I am writing this as we drive through the Andes. Wow. There are is no grading, or angles in the curves or shoulders and only one narrow lane in each direction and about 10% grades up and down. They call them highways but it’s more like they just pour some asphalt over the mountains. They semi’s load in front of us just split open as he nearly went off the mountain and swerved back on the road. Yikes. A few miles back a tanker semi was tipped over, just happened. Very, very dangerous.
So.. Anyways, to conclude it was all quite an experience. I’ll never forget the moment when I was holding one if the little boys that would always run out and leap into my arms, clinging ever so tightly, turns to me and ask “can I call you daddy?” Wow. Thanks for breaking my heart little buddy. Not a moment a lot of people experience in life. He’s got nobody, give anything for someone to love.
So we taught classes for several months once a week. It was incredibly exhausting. I taught the kids who didn’t want to do TKD some basic dance (from my vast array of awesome dance moves, obviously).
We actually got to take all the kids to a theme park that we contacted and worked out for free (no kidding) and an ice skating rink for Christmas (disaster!) and even a tour of the presidential palace. Pretty special experiences.
I put together some choreography with my class and a little symbolic theater part that we performed for a final celebration and graduation for all the kids before we left. It was cool.
When we left all the kids gave us letters they had written. If you ever need a tear jerker, that will do it. And some little figurines or knick knacks they had around for us to remember them. Meant more to me than pretty much anything I’ve ever received.
So then yesterday I wanted to drop by and say hi/goodbye before we left again. We were able to get back and do another performance for all the kids a few months ago. But that was about all.. We wanted to get back there and work with the kids more but there was really just no time this time. I also wanted leave some copies of the new Wabyder kids book I just finished with some of the kids. So there was just really a moment when I walked up to one of the houses of one of the student from my class. He always stood out as being more interested, more engaged and just special. When he ran out to greet me and when we share a bit. It meant so much.
I realized I had actually changed this young mans life. He was now 15. Many of the things I taught he remembered and was eager to share with me. He took out the New Testament I gave him and showed me how he had been reading every day and writing notes. Which is much more effort than a lot of people I know.
So much more I could share but, this post is getting longer than I wanted. I have a tendency to go on and on. If you got this far, thanks for reading. Please feel free to share comments, corrections or feedback below.
You may not have much, you may not know much, I sure don’t, but try if you will to realize and to remember; you have the power to change someone else’s life! You have the power; to love.