No name

I just went back through the last couple of years of posts and realized that I’ve never written about him. So I’ll need to start at the beginning.

I met him several summers ago, on my first trip to Rwanda. He lurked on the outskirts of a school and orphanage that my mission team was visiting, clearly not a part of the action but also not an unfamiliar presence. Upon inquiry to the pastor who ran the school I found out that he was a local child, no family that they were aware of, but no real information about him because he was unable to speak and was mentally impaired in some way.

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There were so many precious children at this school, but for some reason this one boy who was not a student pulled on my heart. It took some time to coax him onto the school grounds and get him to sit with me, and even longer to get him to engage with me in any way, but once he started he wouldn’t stop smiling. And as you can see, he has a beautiful smile! I fell in love with him, but I felt sad when I left because there was nothing I could do for him. There’s a severe lack of special needs education in Rwanda and I didn’t know of any way to get him the help he needed.

I prayed for a year for this little boy, and looked at this picture that I had of him. I wondered what was happening with him and if he was OK.

The next summer, my church once again planned a trip to Rwanda. I had no intention of going. There were a lot of things not lining up for me and I just decided it was somebody else’s time to go, but as the time grew closer there were still openings on the team and I felt the call to join. I had no idea why.

Our team visited the same orphanage and school that we had before, this time planning to spend 2 days at the site. From the moment we arrived, I was scanning the perimeter of the grounds, searching for my friend from the previous year. He didn’t show up until around lunchtime, and I was hesitant to approach in case I might scare him.

He remembered me. He saw me across the yard and he smiled and ran across the yard to see me.

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This time I pressed harder, asking around to the other kids, trying to get any information about him that I could, but everyone I asked said that he was just known as “No name.” It was frustrating and upsetting and I felt helpless. I enjoyed the days I spent at the school with him, but ultimately I knew that I would leave and that my young friend would still have no home, no education and no name.

This was about a year and a half ago and is really still just the beginning of the story. God was preparing to show me a miracle. Not the kind that changes things in an instant, but the kind that works gradually, that takes perseverance and effort. But it’s pretty amazing.

To be continued…. 🙂

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