About three months ago I moved to South Africa. God called me here somewhat out of the blue. I was in an active career, but God saw an opportunity for me to participate in his Kingdom on the other side of the world, and I’ve seen him do amazing things through the community development and construction work I’m doing at a local orphanage.
Last week I got to be a part of something that really reminded me of the goodness of God. I was on my daily rounds to say “Hi” to the teachers at the school and receive some hugs from the kids. This visit is the best part of my day, and the kids also seem to eagerly anticipate a visit from the tall, goofy-looking American. They sometimes even line up in long lines to give me a hug and then quickly run to the back of the line to try and sneak in another one.
Today was very much the same when I noticed a young Zulu boy standing in the corner of the room looking my way and then quickly turning. I paused from playing with the other kids and went to kneel near him. I waited and then looked his way. He looked at me again and then half-turned away...until a shift happened. He moved toward me! Not gracefully or with a lot of energy, but step-by-step he came closer.
With arms at his side, he leaned and placed his head on my shoulder. I hugged him and he leaned closer. As I was letting go, I looked at his eyes as they were growing large and wet. He started to cry and sob. I hugged him again and wiped the tears from his eyes.
We walked together over to the coloring station and started to draw. The sadness faded as we colored and played together. It turns out that crayons in my nose, in addition to hugs, works quite well to brighten someone’s day (do not try at home…risk of brain damage from crayon wax).
My interaction with this young boy reminded me of how often I “play hard to get” from others and even dare I say God. It reminded me of Jesus’ own story about the Prodigal Son, another one who played hard to get and returned to find God’s beautiful, loving embrace.
NieuCommunities South Africa