Wow I feel completely rested. I rolled over. Wonder what time it is. Where is my phone? For the past few nights I had been waking up at 3 or 4 in the morning, unable to sleep, drenched in sweat. It is so hot here. Besides that, our next door neighbor is usually blaring an eclectic mix of tunes around 6:00 am. You never know what you’ll hear; it is Thai pop one minute and Brian Adams the next.
I stood up. Where was my phone? Why haven’t I invested in a clock? Found it. 9:30??? Shoot. One new text message from Ashlee: hey when you come today… Double shoot. I totally forgot about the drop in center. It opens at 9:00. My phone began to ring as I tried to reply. “Ashlee? Hey! I’m so sorry. I just woke up, okay I’m leaving now.”
I was out the door in 3 minutes. “Don’t forget we’re meeting for lunch today.” My friend Steph shouted as I ran out the door, helmet in hand. “Oh! Thanks for reminding me.” I definitely would have forgotten. Why am I so scatterbrained?
I got to the drop in center ten minutes later, with a heartfelt apology and no good excuse for Ashlee. A few of the street kids had already arrived and were playing checkers. They are way too good at checkers. I’ve never won a game against them; slightly embarrassing considering I’m a high school graduate (plus an INSIGHT Alum) and they’ve never been to school. I’m pretty sure they cheat though.
We spent the morning coloring, making bubble wands, blowing bubbles, watching homemade videos, kicking the ball around, and then we closed up. We took three of the boys to pick up some bottles and cans that had been collected by a local Burmese Church. These kids spend the day digging through garbage to make enough money to bring home. These three boys in particular had recently begun supporting themselves, the rent, and four younger siblings. Their mom was just put in prison. They hopped on the back of our bikes, laughing. They were so excited to be riding on a motorbike.
At 12:30 I met a few friends at a restaurant for lunch then we went to Mae Tao Clinic, one of two hospitals in Mae Sot, this one specifically for Burmese. A friend of mine works there and was more than willing to show us around. It was amazing. There was a room for everything. Dentistry, counseling, maternity care, I don’t even know what all. One room that specifically stood out to me was the prosthetics area. We walked in to see 2 men sitting around a table, constructing fake limbs. One man had crutches and was slowly pacing the floor, testing his new leg. A few other men sat waiting for their limbs to be created. I looked at the wall behind me and saw a white board. The chart had the names, ages, cause of accident, and limb needed for forty people. Forty people in forty days would soon have 2 legs again. I scanned down the row titled “cause of accident” every single one was listed landmine.
Hundreds of people cross the border from Burma to visit the clinic. They come to vaccinate their babies, receive treatment for illness, have their limbs amputated. It’s really overwhelming to think about the numbers of people in Burma who have no medical care. I know that so many die from preventable illnesses. Visiting the clinic made me wish that I could help in some way, even if it’s just to finance.
I went back to the office. I had about 30 minutes before my next engagement. I lay on the floor reading a book on ministering cross culturally, then a book on the LAMP method. Times up.
I got back onto my motor bike and drove to the Compasio Safehouse. When I pulled up the kids were all asleep on the floor. I lay down between them and closed my eyes. I felt someone poke me and I looked around, all the kids were sleeping. I closed my eyes again. Poke. I reached behind me to tickle Saja. He laughed.
I spent the next two hours coloring, braiding hair, dancing to music, pretending I was on a train bound for Chiang Mai, pretending I was being chased by the police, pretending I was in jail, playing soccer, rescuing the dog from the neighbors yard, resolving an argument (Jamila had stolen Chiada’s lipstick), drinking mango smoothies, having a tickle war, and playing in the mud pretending leaves were fish. “Twamino!” I shouted to the kids. “No! No! P Katie! Ten more minutes.” How could I say no to those little faces?
Here I am at home now. It’s 6:15. It’s been a long day. It feels like it’s been three days crammed into one. Not bad for waking up two hours late. As I sit here and process, I am really amazing by what I’ve seen, who I’ve talked to, what I’ve done. I feel so blessed to be here. I truly am blessed.
So there you have it, one day in my life. I try to constantly remember why I’m here, to remember that I am representing Jesus, I want to be a blessing to people I come in contact with. What does it mean for you to be a blessing? For me today it was playing and laughing with the street kids. It was having a smile and making eye contact with the people (complete strangers by the way) I saw at the clinic. It was hugging and loving the safehouse kids. What is it for you? Is it saying hello to someone who looks lonely? Is it buying lunch for the homeless guy on the corner? Is it sitting with your kid, talking and working on a coloring book together instead of watching TV?
I can’t ever redo this Wednesday. I like to think that Jesus really knew what He was talking about when He said “Don’t worry about tomorrow, because tomorrow has enough trouble of its own.” So friends, maybe you’d like to join me in remembering to make each moment count, to show love to those around you, and to be the hands and feet of Jesus everywhere you go.