Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Somewhere there is a boy named Wincent


One word to describe 25 students.


One word to describe the missionary woman who had come to chat with them in English.

I sat down at a desk and found the air supply drop drastically. I barely had room to turn my head. They were everywhere, all of them, asking question after question, in rapid-fire Spanish.

One girl in particular, was like glue. She was twelve-ish, and the only thing I could understand was that she had tried to talk to some gringos on the street who were wearing backpacks. She was very persistent about this, but I wasn't very sure how to respond.

Eventually, the students were made to sit down, and I was called to the front.

"Listen to this woman. She speaks English." the teacher said.

And I did as instructed and said the alphabet.

Then I listened as they learned how to ask me my name, and where I was from.

"Please describe the United States" the teacher asked me.

So, I said it was big. It was diverse. It had a lot of people. That my state had no mountains and that it had a lot of corn.

Describing the US was a very big task for me when the kids had such small vocabularies.
When I said the word Chicago, they nearly flew out of their seats. Chicago! They recognized that! President Obama received the same results. So did Disneyland and Hollywood. I had fun trying to think of words they would recognize. Words that would light up their eyes and make them rush forward to ask more questions.

Because eagerness is beautiful. And contagious.

The same girl who had tried to tell me about her conversations with gringos was especially interested in my descriptions of the US. She didn't much care about the president, Chicago, or Mickey Mouse. She was searching for something particular. I just couldn't figure out what it was.

"What is my name in English? What is my name in English?" The children wanted to know.
"Hush up" the girl commanded. (in Spanish) "I want to know what the buildings are like."

I tried to tell her that the buildings were different in different places.

"But are they noisy?" "Are they big?" "Are they right next to each other."

I answered to the best of my ability

"I tried to talk to two gringos who had backpacks." She said again.

I responded, "Why did you want to talk to the gringos?"

"I want to know if they know my brother. He lives in the U.S. I want to know what it is like where he lives."

Nothing else I did today was as important as those next ten minutes that I gave comfort to a young girl who persistently sought it.

She was eager for a connection. I was eager to be that connection.

So. Somewhere in the USA is a young man named Wincent. I don't know where he is, but if you meet him, will you tell him his sister in Loja loves him so very much and that she misses him and wants him to be safe and comfortable?

Will you be kind to him? Invite him into your home? Be to him the family he had to leave behind?

Will you remember the next time you see a stranger in your land that he or she has a family: children, sister, brothers, mothers, fathers, that are missing them and seeking the comfort of knowing that they are in a good place?

Because Wincent's sister will seek out any white face on the street of her city, just in hopes of making a connection.

I will be the connection on this end. Will you be the one on yours?

Deuteronomy 24:17-22 (Holman Christian Standard Bible)

17 Do not deny justice to a foreign resident [or] fatherless child, and do not take a widow's garment as security.

18 Remember that you were a slave in Egypt, and the LORD your God redeemed you from there. Therefore I am commanding you to do this.

19 "When you reap the harvest in your field, and you forget a sheaf in the field, do not go back to get it. It is to be left for the foreign resident, the fatherless, and the widow, so that the LORD your God may bless you in all the work of your hands.

20 When you knock down the fruit from your olive tree, you must not go over the branches again. What remains will be for the foreign resident, the fatherless, and the widow.

21 When you gather the grapes of your vineyard, you must not glean what is left. What remains will be for the foreign resident, the fatherless, and the widow.

22 Remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt. Therefore I am commanding you to do this.

1 comment:

Marta Vinson said...

This was beautiful. Thank you for writing.