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I Want to Be Broken

Two weeks ago I returned home after leading the Jamaica Ambassador team in Kingston. 

We lived on the Salvation Army base where there was a nursing home and orphanage on site. One thing I had forgotten was how difficult it was to love orphans at times. They are some of the worst behaved children I have ever had to deal with.

We were in charge of VBS while there. It would have been easier to teach bible stories to a room full of squirrels. I found myself frustrated more than anything. I was irritated with the children that wanted to climb all over me instead of listed. I was annoyed with the street beggars always asking me for money on my way to the grocery store. 

From jamaica.myadventures.org
One day I sat by a kid named Dwayne. I knew he was trouble the moment I saw him. He had that smile on his face like could get away with anything. He told me his name, he was eight, and then turned around and spit on the kid behind him. He would run around the court yard of the First Baptist Church while all of the other kids were in class. There were so many of the boys who also did this that I didn’t think twice about him.

On the last day I sat in the court-yard discussing the evening’s debrief with my co-leader. Dwayne came barreling out of his classroom once again, after biting one of his teachers. As I took him down the hallway for the third time that day, I looked down at this smiling kid. He wasn’t from the orphanage. He was one of the neighborhood kids. He was not forced to be here. What was the point of our ministry really? It wasn’t to make kids sit quietly in class.

From jamaica.myadventures.org

I pointed to a bench in the hall and told him to sit down. “Why are you here Dwayne? Why are you here really?”

He thought about it and then wrapped his armed around me and gave me a big hug. “You” 
I asked him why expecting something wildly inappropriate from previous experience with the Jamaican children.

“Mom,” was all he said.

“You want me to be your mom?” He nodded.

He didn’t have a mom. He lived with his dad and told me he had no one to take care of him. I just looked at this tough little boy who all of a sudden was pouring out his life to me. My heart began to shatter.

After a while I asked him what he thought about Jesus. “He loves me and is good.” 
I looked at him again and asked if he REALLY believed that. After looking at his shoes he told me no.

I had to leave this boy. I had to tell him that I couldn’t stay and be his mother. I told him that I couldn’t protect him and care for him, but that I would pray every day that Jesus would. I looked him in the eyes and made him promise to ask Jesus for those things whenever he needed them, because he deserved to be loved and taken care of.

From jamaica.myadventures.org
Suddenly my heart dropped in my stomach and I wanted to take this boy home with me more than anything. I wanted to change his life, but I couldn’t. Instead I hugged him, told him I loved and to stop biting the teachers and took him back to his classroom.

The teachers thought I had threatened his life, because he was an angel the rest of the day.

Jamaica was no longer comfortable for me. I have not gone a day without thinking of that boy. After that, I went back to the days when I allowed myself to have a broken heart, back to the early days of the Race when I wasn’t immune to poverty or indifferent towards the suffering of others. Somewhere along this incredible journey I had allowed myself to shut down. I stopped the broken hearts.

From jamaica.myadventures.org
I don’t want to be afraid of that any longer. God reminded me it’s okay to feel the hurt and the pain. It is a call to action. It is a catalyst for change. It is what brings us alive and opens our hearts to love.

I don’t want to be okay with how the world as it is.

I don’t want to be comfortable.

I want to be broken.

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