Kevin spilled out of the bus at our church this afternoon with sixty other kids eager to tell of their adventures. Still it shocks me to hear him speak, especially after a few days without him. I wonder if he’s deliberately trying to sound like James Earl Jones. In the car his eyes sparkled with fresh memory of his journey and he chatted me up for twenty minutes. I heard about the trash pile marinated in diapers that they had to clean up on Friday. The house they stripped and painted on Saturday, the kids they played with at the community center, the all African American church they attended on Sunday. He really loved that church experience because it was a tightly bound community where from the pulpit the preacher, Elmo- who really does sound like James Earl Jones- asked the congregation to pray for specific names of those with needs. Today before coming home they took some of the kids fishing. Kevin helped but he himself didn’t fish and someone commented to him, “Hey you know how you need a pool to swim? Well you need a pole to fish.” The reason he wasn’t so keen on fishing might have been because some little black toddler girls had captured his attention. He was overcome with emotion watching them play. He told me how much he liked their cornrolls and braids and puffs of hair popping out in all direction, and their chubby cheeks, big eyes and full lips. It made him feel all the more ready to receive his little sister. He told everyone he met that he’s going to have one of those in his family real soon and he can’t wait! I love it. This is the same kid whose first reaction to our suggestion we adopt a child from Uganda was to cry uncontrollably simply because the thought of that much change confused him to the point of deep emotion. It’s God who changes our hearts on these matters. And I can see Kevin has been taking some nice long faith walks with God over this matter. He’s the first one in line to hold her if he has anything to say about it. (I might.)
These pampered air-conditioned loving kids worked outside for four day in some brutal heat. But Kevin didn’t once mention how hard it was to endure it. He did say though that he felt something inside he hadn’t felt before because serving God that way just felt so right. Our prayers were answered because we hoped that yes he would help, and have fun with his friends, and see a culture unlike his own lifestyle, but most importantly he would come home with a fresh understanding of being a servant for God. To serve joyfully without getting anything in return is a privilege of knowing God’s alive, real and at work.
Here I go with the waterworks again. I can’t help reflect on how my boys are sprouting those branches that bear fruit right before my eyes. I’ve always hoped my sons would be self less in their giving to others. It’s not something I can order from a menu. And yet here it is on my plate. Beautiful ripe fruit. The best things in life really aren’t things at all, and this is my best example of that well known saying.
Kevin quickly slumped into a tired grump and as soon as he complained he was hungry he fell fast asleep on the couch. He’s too big to carry, and we are all afraid to wake him up because he may be dreaming he’s a grizzly bear and behave as such, so we’ll leave him be.
I can’t wait to have dinner with all six of us and hear the stories fly from all the boys about their adventures in mission. That’s a fine reward for missing them so much.