By Jonni Sliver
I had one of the happiest experiences in a long time yesterday. It involves a precious young lady I have kind of adopted. Her name is Cris and she is here with her husband, John and daughter Leota for a short time (relatively speaking, they will be here almost six months when they leave). She is nearly eight months pregnant and they to have their second baby here in Brazil because John and Cris hope to return permanently when John retires. For right now, Cris needs a little extra support because John had to return to work for six weeks (he works as an engineer on oil rigs, his current assignment is in Singapore). So Cris is here with a two year old princess, a big tummy and as much Portuguese as you can learn in two months.
I have been trying to be a good aunty to Cris – taking her shopping, helping her make new friends, getting her language lessons, and just plain visiting! One of the more important little jobs I have had has been taking her to doctor appointments, and I finally come to the blessing I received yesterday! Cris needed one more ultra-sound, and as she doesn’t speak medical Portuguese, I went with. I have seen ultra-sounds before, but it has been a while. I was so amazed to see Faith Karen’s (this precious new baby’s name) face on the screen, as clear as a photograph! Her cute little nose, her hand pressed against her cheek, she even wiggled her fingers at us (I am positive she knew she was posing for photos!). It was amazing to see this little one, still in the womb, almost ready to join us!
I have mentioned before that Psalm 139 is one of my favorite texts; you can imagine how that passage came to mind! Seeing this precious little one is a gift from God, who gave talents and intelligence to men to create something like an ultra-sound, but none of this is a novelty for our Father. He has seen each one of us as we were being formed, as He knit us in our mothers’ wombs. Yesterday I saw just a glimpse, but the Father’s eye has been on this little girl since before her mother knew she was being carried!
Faith Karen hasn’t done a single thing to earn God’s favor, but His hand of blessing is on her and He has already dreamed great dreams for her. Do you ever feel like you haven’t done enough, or you aren’t important enough to warrant God’s grace and favor? You are correct – you haven’t warranted it, but you have it just the same! The Father loves you with an eternal love. When you lie down tonight He will be with you, when you wake in the morning He will still be there; your frame is ever before Him and he doesn’t even need an ultra-sound to see you!
by Jonni Sliver
I am having a really hard time writing you today. I am feeling fine, but am completely distracted because I have Daniel in a stroller next to me and he is just too cute to not pay attention to! Daniel is five months old and is the son of Odette, one of our house mothers. While she is making lunch and working with the children Daniel spends a fair amount of the morning in our office, distracting the staff with baby conversation and adorable aerobics (biting his toes, practicing for a swim meet as his little arms and legs swing with impressive rhythm). This precious little guy is firmly convinced that he is among the most amazing of children, because he is surrounded by people who tell him every day.
On the other side of the wall is another little one – Emily is 2 and a half and when she arrived a month ago she was convinced that she couldn’t trust anyone. She was afraid of everyone, the house moms and the rest of the staff, the other children. Fortunately she arrived at the beginning of a two week period when there were only a few children in the Home, because she needed time to adjust. By the end of the first week she trusted one person – house mom Neide; but when Neide went home she cried until she fell asleep. By the end of the second week she trusted all four of the house moms, but no one else – not even the other children. By the third week she had begun playing with the other children (a good thing, because by then we had several new children!) as long as she could see one of the moms she trusted. Now, after a month, she has begun laughing and even lets adults who aren’t one of the moms pick her up – if she can see a mom!
Now, why would a two year old have such a firm conviction that you can’t trust people. Because, like Daniel, she was surrounded by people who taught her. It is heartbreaking to think of, but her father regularly abused her, and even as a tiny little girl Emily knew that her mother and grandparents couldn’t or wouldn’t stop him. So she learned that grownups are people that hurt you or let you be hurt.
If I stopped now, you may never read another of my blog entries, it is just too sad. But there is good news! We didn’t go out and find Emily; God brought her to us! And He brought her to us for a reason; He has healing for this precious little girl. He is the Potter and she is the clay; though others have done their best to mar this young life, the Potter is able to remove every mark and create in her the strong, joyful spirit He intends for her. We can’t undo what has been done to Emily, but we can rejoice and participate in the bright future she has before her, and I am so glad for that!