26 Oct Day 16: New Kid in Town

“How sweet are Your words to my taste! Yes, sweeter than honey to my mouth!”
Psalm 119:103

Today’s prayer is for the children as they arrive. Philip’s memory of one recent arrival, Janaina, summarizes it well.
Janaina, eight years old, had been with us only two months. Not only did she not talk, but she seemed incapable of smiling. Her mother had abandoned her and her little sister in front of a church. The police took them to a government orphanage in São Paulo. There, her loss was compounded further: her little sister, only three years old, was adopted and taken away.

Tonight I was determined to make her smile. Every month, Corenne and I accompany the birthday children on a special outing. The evening starts at the park with a walk around the lake, followed by fresh fruit juices. Then we go to the mall to visit the video arcade, music store, see a movie, and finally—the highlight of the evening—McDonald’s!

We were at the video arcade. All the girls were playing and chattering excitedly… except Janaina. She had no interest in the games; she just stood at the entrance, staring off at something in the distance. When I looked, all I could see was a gum ball machine. Either her mind was a million miles away, or she was truly fascinated by those bright red gum balls!
We were walking toward our next activity when I felt a little tug on my sleeve. Looking down, I caught Janaina’s imploring eyes, and then she surprised us all: “Uncle Philip, can you buy me one of those rubber balls?” All the girls gathered around in amazement. “She talked! She talked!”
I took Janaina by the hand, and we walked back toward the red vending machine. Usually I make sure to treat every child the same. But at that moment I felt like buying the whole gum ball machine for her. I stuck in a coin, and the ball spun around and around inside the machine, and finally the bright red gum ball popped out!
I wondered how long Janaina had dreamed about getting one of those red gum balls. I guess she had been waiting to talk until she needed to communicate something really important. This, for her, was clearly urgent.
When Janaina finally had that ball in her hand, her face lit up with a smile from ear to ear; a smile that seemed to say, now everything will be all right.

Please pray for our kids who feel ripped away from the only homes they have ever known, and pray especially for those who lose contact with siblings in the process. It is agonizing to see the terror in a new child’s face. Pray for friends, for bonding, and for them to build trust and not walls. Pray for them to hear the Holy Spirit whispering that they are His, and they are loved.