yesterday afternoon it was raining when i went to pick up c14 from his mission trip. and the fact that it was raining is very important. it meant the windows in the car had to stay up. which was most unfortunate. because he stank. and it’s times like this when i wish al gore would get to work updating the internet and add a smell-olicious feature, because there just aren’t words.
the first question i asked him when i picked him up was, “if you get a chance to do it again, will you?” and his reply? “you bet, it was fantastic!” while he was gone i was a little worried. he wasn’t the most excited about going. the youth group is full of acquaintances, but no one he considered a friend. so he was understandably anxious. it took a little poking and prodding from us to get him even a little excited.
once we were on our way home, i just let him talk. their big project was building some staircases. it involved them trekking into the surrounding hills to harvest some bamboo and then trekking back out – it took several hours and this was done many times. he told me about the bonfires that were built. one night there was dancing around the fire and another night they played games around the fire. he said bonfires are uncommon, that they built them to honor them. he really enjoyed playing with the akha tribe kids. that initially they seemed afraid of him and his curly hair. then they discovered that if he bounced his hair would bounce, too. and they enjoyed this very much. and what he seem to be most proud of was getting one little girl to play. each evening, after they finished working for the day, they played with the kids: football (soccer) and tag and chase and gave piggy back rides – they did this for hours. but this one little girl, he thinks she was 7 or 8, maybe, wouldn’t play, she just stood to the side and watched. and c14 was told her story. her mother is mentally handicapped and her father is gone. she has siblings. and she supports the family. all day long, every monday through friday, she goes out to the fields and picks tea leaves for very minimal pay. she doesn’t go to school and because of her families legal status the options are limited. he was told she used to smile alot, but not anymore.
i am incredibly proud of him. proud that he is sensitive enough to notice one little girl who stands away from the rest and isn’t interested in playing. and that he was touched by her story. michael and i prayed that this week would be life changing for him. and i believe it will be.
and i’m very glad i heard about his week before i opened his bag to start his laundry. it made the daunting task of getting this stuff clean seem like much less of a chore.
i’m thinking it’s going to take more than one run through.