by Jenna, Children at Risk DTS student
I wasn't sure what to expect when we trekked into Thailand's hill tribes. I knew there would be mountains, dirt, and bugs. I knew we wouldn't have running water for a few days. But I definitely didn't know that one small girl would completely capture my heart!
It had been a long day already. We played games with many of the orphaned children in the hill tribes. I sat on the ground with some kids, drawing pictures of trees and mountains in the hard dirt, I noticed out of the corner of my eye another group of children. They were doing that thing that kids do–where they look at you and pretend to not look at you and then act shy when you notice them.
I smiled and motioned for them to come join us. That didn't work. So I stood up, brushed the dust off myself, and walked toward this little pack of 3-, 4-, and 5-year-olds. That did it! They ran away, giggling and looking behind them. We played like that for about an hour, running up and down the dirt hills. It was fun, but I was happy when they stopped running! Eventually, they invited me to visit their home.
When I arrived there, I was welcomed in by even more children and adults. They were playing a game that involved putting a stone on your foot and throwing it, kicking it, and doing all sorts of hard things with it. They invited me and one of my friends to play.
As I was playing, I felt a small tug on my wrist. A tiny girl with the most precious smile I had ever seen was looking right up at me. She was beautiful!
“What's her story?” I asked one of the women in the village.
“She's very small for her age,” the woman told me. “No one pays much attention to her.”
Well, that broke my heart to hear. This girl was so carefree and loving and soaked up all the attention and love I gave her that day. She liked to crawl up in my lap and play with my friendship bracelet.
I could tell she wanted the bracelet, but it meant so much to me.
I think God wants me to give the bracelet to her, I thought.
If she had my bracelet, maybe she would remember our visit and what we said about how much Jesus loves her. I wanted her to understand how precious and valuable she is. So I slipped it off my wrist and tied it onto hers.
Now that we're back in the city, I think of this girl often. I wish I could really show her what true love is. I wanted so badly to show her how valuable she is. But I know that Jesus is watching over her and protecting her. He will be there when she feels lonely. He loves her more than I ever could.