I first met David in 2011.
With his wide smile, curiosity and enthusiasm, David captured my heart right away. Shy at first, it didn’t take him long to ask to try out my stethoscope, otoscope and reflex hammer. Before I knew it, he was giving me a physical.
David became my little friend, and I became his sponsor through Jubilee Kids. I sent him little packages, notes and photos from time to time, but was only able to visit once a year. Amazingly, David remembered and recognized me year after year.
There is power in telling a person’s story, but a story is only truly powerful when it is honest. I wish that I could say that things were good and easy for David after coming to the Jubilee School, but that would not be the full, honest story.
The truth is that David has experienced and seen things that no child should, especially a young child. His little heart has been pierced by the things that he has witnessed. Unable to fully process and comprehend what he has seen, along with his own human brokenness, David struggled with acting in inappropriate ways and with disobeying. His teachers struggled to find ways to correct, instruct and help David.
In 2013, David was suspended from school the day that I arrived in Jubilee. He was unable to participate in the school-wide birthday party and receive the gifts that were brought for him. I knew that this was the best decision for him, but it was still hard. I talked with David, and Ritaud (my friend and interpreter) and I visited his home. We talked with David and his mom, prayed with them, and encouraged David to make good choices. I left his gifts with his teacher (to be given at a later time) but gave him a Jesus Storybook Bible in Creole. There was else nothing that I could do but pray.
David continued to struggle that year, and was suspended again, but that is not the end of this story. You see, David has some amazing and godly teachers who were in his corner. Instead of writing him off as a constant discipline problem or a hopeless case, they continued to work with him, encourage him, love him and pray for him. Even the decisions to suspend him were covered in prayer. They kept me updated on what was happening. And all I could do was pray.
David was able to come back to school and start learning again. He hasn’t been perfect (what child, or adult for that matter, is?) but his behavior has continued to improve. He is a bright little boy with a lot of potential. Last year, he was so proud to read to me in Creole. His English is getting a little better too.
I am so grateful for the teachers and administrators who didn’t give up on David. Their job is so hard, working with children whose growth and development have been stunted by malnutrition, and whose hearts have been wounded by the poverty spirit and harsh environment. These teachers’ hearts reflect the heart of the Father with His unconditional, sacrificial love. Little ones who are least in the eyes of the world are precious and beloved. They are worth it; they are worth the time, effort, sacrifice, energy. They are worth it because they bear the image of a holy God who loves them and who made the ultimate sacrifice to show His love. They are precious and beloved.
I am forever grateful to the beautiful young women who are pouring our their lives to love these little ones well. They are my heroes. David’s story isn’t done yet, but I have hope as his story unfolds. He has His Savior, some amazing warrior women, and me in his corner.