Sunday nights we have a house full of high school boys who come for bible study with Craig. They bring food and hover in the kitchen over it like a litter of lion cubs over a fresh kill. Not a crumb is left to be found when they are finished. It’s noisy, boisterous and entertaining for Kira and I. These young men are relaxed in my home and their smiles are natural and wide. Having them flood our home every week is one of my personal highlights. Craig does all the work and preparation for the lessons. The kids bring the food. Jordan rearranges furniture and sets up the drinks station. I don’t have to do a single thing. This is an occasion for the guys to step up and I don’t mind one bit leaning against the wall and looking on.
This Sunday I was the guest speaker. I tried to present myself as a much funnier person than Craig, and I didn’t hesitate to point it out to the boys. Craig and I have a long standing competition in our home to establish who is the funniest. We might go to our grave in disagreement about that. The struggle to be on top with this issue is worth the trouble. It keeps our comedy routines sharp and honed, our wit on the front line, and a hearty laugh ever ready. I happen to think this is a pretty good way to live.
I spoke to the boys about our adventures in Uganda, specifically how Jack got busy for the cause way before we ever knew we would have a whole orphanage to take care of. I shared the stories about the hardships of living as they do, the harsh realities of death, and the great provision and planning of God to use us to help them.
While I showed the slides on the wall above the stairway and the boys sat behind me on the rug, my mama antennae sensed a child slinking around. A child not yet old enough to participate in the meetings, but often found crouching out of sight, listening. If I could say Jack had one extraordinary trait, it would be listening. He’s quick to learn from what he hears, and he goes straight into action.
He knows this story I was sharing with the boys. He was there! But hearing it again, telling it again really moves the heart. I saw Craig’s face redden and I know his eyes might have spilled over if the boys weren’t in the room. I myself get choked every time I tell it because I feel so honored by God to be able to participate with this project. It’s humbling. So Jack then disappeared, and later I found this on his desk.
The next day after school he asked if he could babysit Kira for some money because he’s saving his own money to help the orphans. He then played with her for an hour and a half at my feet. She loves having his undivided attention. Next he asked for another job so I said he could give Lucy a bath, which he did, and he even walked her around the lake to get rid of the wet dog stink.
I am always inspired by the depth of this boy’s heart, his “can do” approach to all things, and his good humor while serving and working. He also knows if he wants to do something, then he has to find a job, there are no handouts. We can all learn so much from a child. (I might mention, he’s not allowed to play with friends monday to thursday, so he wasn’t distracted with that automatic desire. That rule has served me well over the years to teach them there is a time and place for every activity.)
The response from the teenagers after learning about the children at the orphanage in Uganda was special for me to see. They were visibly moved, and eager to see how God is going to involve them. They looked through my book of children who do not yet have sponsors. Next week while they devour the food in my kitchen I will be eager to talk to them individually about how God moved their hearts during the week. I know my Jordan is considering sponsoring one of the kids on his own. I think that’s a great idea, though if I had ever suggested it he never would have considered it. Mothers with young children take note: they like to think it is their own idea. Anyway, Jordan would be a good mentor for one of the children, and he will be there this summer to build the relationship. I hope he commits. But I won’t say a word, this is between him and God. (I continue to learn the hard way that my best parenting happens more often with what I don’t say.)
This baby girl LOVES her big brothers.