by Marlo, DTS Student
Last week we paired up to work shifts at a home for children from various backgrounds, including some with or affected by HIV/AIDS. It’s hard to put into words what this time meant to me, but I know my life won’t ever be the same.
There were ten babies, a few toddlers, and four pre-teen girls. Some of the children were only at the home because of temporary family problems, but the other children’s stories were more horrific.
A few children were at the home because one parent murdered the other and went to jail. Some lost their family to the LRA, a rebel army in northern Uganda known for kidnapping children to become soldiers and killing whole villages indiscriminately. Another child was severely sexually abused and brought to the home at age 6 months with many health problems.
But one girl stood out to me the most, thirteen-year-old Ruth (name changed). Her story is long and it includes arranged marriages, rape, and murder. It ends with Ruth living here and caring for the baby she gave birth to when she was twelve.
It’s hard to imagine even one of those things happening to an adult, let alone all of that to the same person before age twelve. Even though she never got the chance to be a child, Ruth’s smile is full of youthfulness and delight. Christ has transformed her heart and He is healing her from the wounds she’s suffered at others’ hands.
Today, Ruth is a spirited, vibrant, and friendly young woman. She delights in everything around her. And she remembers to look up. Up past the wall in front of her, past the things she has to face, past her circumstances. Up to God.
Her perseverance and joy are an inspiration to me. Ruth reminds me not to get caught up in my own circumstances–I can get so overwhelmed by the troubles around me. Her endurance inspired me to always look to God for his perspective, for his heart toward me.