Saturday, August 6, 2011

My Maria

Her name is Nakabugo Bbiira Maria. Or simply - Maria.

Maria came to Canaan Children's Home in March of this year. Her mother and father both died from HIV. She was left with her step mother, who mistreated her and made her a slave, usually on an empty stomach. Sometimes neighbors gave her food to eat, for they knew her work was hard. She came to live at Canaan's after they were notified about her mistreatment.

I noticed her around Day 2. She was always with a little friend, who took most of the spotlight. Maria spoke a little English and one time told me to "sit properly" in my skirt (ha!)....my undies must have been showing! I didn't think much about our interactions until the next day. She was right beside me - again. And the next, and the next, and the next......until it was clear that she was waiting for me. She would take my hand, wrap her arms around my waist, and really.....want to do nothing but sit next to me on the concrete....smiling at me trying to "make conversation".

I'm trying not to just outright bawl here as I type. We stayed at Canaan's the last part of our trip. I was emotionally overwhelmed already from being at the "M's" (the children's prisons) and honestly wondered whether or not I had anything left to give emotionally......but day after day....Maria won my heart. She had such a servant's heart.....not servant like slave, but servant like Jesus. When we would sit down, she would take her hand and wipe the dust from where I would be sitting.....so I wouldn't get dirty. When I was wringing out my pants (not doing a great job since I've so rarely washed my own clothes), she came over and showed me the way to do it....wringing with all her might. She showed me a thing or two. And her hands.....they would always be stroking my arm, my hair.....she just wanted to show me love.

The night before we were leaving, Maria's eyes spoke volumes. She never said a word. I just knew. We sat down on the concrete steps.....she laid her head on my shoulder...and slowly, I felt her tears slide down my arm. Big tears. No sounds, just tears. My own eyes gushed. I instantly had the image of John leaning his head on Jesus. I instantly knew what it meant in the Bible when the Holy Spirit said, "Jesus wept". Wept.

My heart is still with Maria. I think of her often. I think of her dusting off my area to sit. I think of her stroking my arms. I think of her tears.

I am now her mother - sponsorshipwise and in my heart. We can all make room to mother another, can't we?

I am asking for your prayers. Please pray about being a sponsor to a child. I've seen what our money does.......if you can't give, then pray. If you pray, then pray about going. Once you go, you'll never be the same. I promise.

Sponsor a child here:
http://www.canaanchildrenshome.org/









8 comments:

Keri said...

Thank you for showing us your sweet Maria.

Gaby and Jamey said...

Inspiring! Which organization did you go with?

Heather said...

Oh Flo, I had tears in my eyes reading this...WOW!! I'm going to talk to B about sponsoring a child. I wanted to contribute to your trip, missed the chance and really want to do something. I will do a misson trip, and would love to travel with you one day. I remember as a little girl Mom going to Jamiaca with the church. We went to see them off and vividly remember thinking to myself, "I will do this one day!!" Very inspiring post!!!

The Garners said...

Flo,
I read this post before church this morning and just cried. Then our sermon was on "bearing fruit" and I thought of you and how you had the beautiful opportunity to show love, kindness and gentleness to this little girl. I've been so inspired by your trip. Thank you for sharing about your journey.

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Vintage and Company said...

Flo, your words and their lives challenge me and make me think...So I'm pondering things myself these days...

The Painted Parlor said...

I read that with tears welling on my eyes. You have such a beautiful way of illustrating your experiences there. How moving. I will go to the link you shared and see what I can do to help. Thank you for serving and thank you for sharing your story!

Julie

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