Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Newest Friend.

As I got onto my bicycle, I heard the familiar sound of my phone as it received an incoming text message.

"...Katie said Ma Think put on her best clothes and is already waiting outside, so happy!"

I smiled to myself and headed towards Mae Tao Clinic as quickly as I could.

Burma Children's Medical fund is an NGO working with Mae Tao Clinic to provide life saving surgeries for children who would otherwise have no hope for a healthy future. Patients receive treatment and care in Mae Sot, unless they require a special surgery, which is when they go to the hospital in Chiang Mai.

Ma Think Kahn is a beautiful 16 year old girl who's lived at the clinic for a year. She has undergone various surgeries in Chiang Mai. Her parents are faithful and have done everything to provide for her. She was first taken to a hospital in Burma, where even one visit costed more than her poor family could afford. Her father brought her to Mae Sot with hope that Mae Tao could help her. She will go to Chiang Mai on November 11 for her final surgery.

My friend Katie told us about her and asked if anyone could go hang out with her. She gets really lonely, and doesn't have many people to talk to or anything to do. My friend Tdaa and I went to see her for the first time yesterday.

I was a little bit hesitant, I'm semi-confident in my Burmese, but I was unsure that I could find things to talk to her about. I was so happy to find a happy, smiling young woman sitting in the outpatients area, waiting for us. She began chattering away to me, smiling and answering my questions. I told her I would come see her the next day.

I pulled up to the clinic and scanned the crowds of patients milling around. There she was, sitting and waiting patiently for me to come. I went to her and sat beside her.
"Hey little sister!" I said, "I brought some markers and paint, do you want to sit and color?"
She nodded, a big smile on her face. We walked over to a table and began to color and draw.

"That's beautiful." She said, complimenting my tree. "So is yours!" I replied.

We continued to draw together, enjoying the quite and company. A boy wandered past, looking longingly at the white paper and plethora of colors.

"Do you want to color?" I asked, offering them a sheet.

The little boy smiled shyly and came closer, he held his baby brother in his arms.
They were staying at the clinic until their mom gave birth to her baby. The seven year old chatted away as he colored the paper, his imagination filling the blank spaces.

Another older boy ambled over. He came to just talk. He's 16 years old, almost 17. He's from Rangoon and came to Mae Sot with his sister after her husband left her. She's due to have her baby any day now. He shared his childhood, what his life had been like up until that point.
"I'll go tomorrow to find work. I hear that they're hiring at the orange groves. 100 Bot a day."
I stared at him incredulously. "100 bot?" I repeated.
That is a lot of money for a days work, though it's only three American dollars.

I talked to Ma Think about her upcoming surgery.
"Are you scared?" I asked.
She shook her head no.
"I was the first time, but then I saw there were other kids there who were much younger than me, so I had to be brave."

I tried to wrap my mind around it. When I was a child I was scared to go into the dentist office by myself, how could a 16 year old, let alone a 5 year old climb into a van, stay in a house in a foreign city, and go into an intensive surgery alone???

In that moment, everything I thought was difficult about my life melted away. After her surgery she wants to stay in Mae Sot and go to school. She finished 6th grade in Burma but was unable to test because of her illness.

Ma Think's Father, the young lady herself, me, and Tdaa

As I rode my bicycle back to the office I blinked back the tears. Maybe on the outside I look like some kind of hero for giving her my time, but in reality, she's teaching me, she's giving me more than I could ever give her.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

One of Those Days

You know those days where you just wake up in the morning and feel like your heart is being crushed? Where you feel like there's nothing you'd rather do than lie down in the middle of the road and close your eyes? (That might be a little bit dramatic. I'll tone it down.)

Sometimes I'm really selfish. I look at my problems and I think, "Wow. I have it really bad." I complain to my friends about my issues, and I sit at my desk with a face that says, "Don't talk to me. Can't you see I'm having a horrible day?" I hate it when I feel this way. It's like Satan is winning the battle over my heart. It's like I'm exchanging all the joy and all the peace I could have had for a big basket of sorrow and pity. It is really dumb.

When stuff like this comes up, I know what I have to do. I need remove myself. I have to leave myself behind. I need to have my heart shaken up. So I stood up from my desk, where it was all to easy to escape the world with various blogs and conversations, and I walked out. I listened to some worship songs as I left.

Oh Lord, You're beautiful
Your face is all I see
For when Your eyes are on this child
Your grace abounds to me

He is jealous for me!
His Love is like a hurricane and I am a tree
Bending. Beneath.
The weight of His wind and mercy...

I stopped. I couldn't drive anymore. I just stopped. Photography is how express myself. I had brought my camera with me, because I knew this was going to happen.

Feeling so overwhelmed. So unworthy. I just opened my heart and asked my Father to forgive me, to save me.

I think I try to carry everything by myself. I see the problems, the hurt, the suffering, and I try to find the answer and solution on my own. The result of this is me, a small human, carrying the weight and burdans that only God can shoulder. Who do I think I am?

I cannot solve every problem. In reality, it's Christ who works to bring the Good that humanity so desperately needs. I am but a tool, here for a time to bring Him glory until He takes me home. I am far from perfect, and He knows that. He knows I will fail, He knows I will feel hopeless, He knows I will be frustrated and just want to Cry. He knows.

I got back on the road, feeling fuller; my cup of joy no longer running on empty. The Babyhouse awaited me.

Saw Min Oo is four years old. He was born into the Mae Sot Prison where his mother is serving time. I have grown to love with this little boy. He is so bright, so loving, and so inquisitive. He has grown so much in the month since he's been living at the babyhouse.

This little man has grown a lot too. He came to the babyhouse with his mom. He's over a year old, but he was unable to walk, crawl, or even sit up by himself. He never smiled, and made almost no eye contact. He had been neglected and unable to develop in a healthy environment. His mom recently left to look for work, and we have taken him in and given him a lot of affection. Now he's sitting up, smiling, making eye contact, and quickly developing his muscles to crawl, and hopefully walk.

I hung around while they ate lunch. I photographed them for some projects we're doing. I joked with Saw Min Oo and Birdy and cuddled with them as I put them down for their naps. My heart become warm again. I have a purpose. I have good things. My cup was full of joy.

But, God doesn't really stop once your cup is full. He kind of has the tendency to make it overflow, and He was about to blow my mind (and cup) to smithereens.

I took the beautiful way back to the office. A back road that has an amazing view. I was stopping every few moments to stare in wonder at the picture I was seeing.
God. Is. So. Majestic.

Feeling unworthy? Don't. He loves you more than you can imagine.

Feeling small and insignificant? Don't. He has wonderful things for your future, if only you will trust Him.

Feeling like laying in the middle of the road? Not anymore.

So life goes on.
Until next time :)