Texas towns along the border aren't the only places with an influx of illegal aliens. Has this little one been taught to be distrustful of strangers, someone who may be from INS? Will the next knock at the door mean yet another move for the family?
Has the language barrier boxed her into a small world? Have misunderstandings and misinterpretations in broken conversations left their marks? Watching this sad and beautiful face made me wonder if genuine smiles, appropriate touch, and a book are enough. Are they enough to give her hope?
Maybe the pain of poverty means the cups of crackers and juice will be her evening meal? Perhaps the book she was given is the only book she's ever owned, the only one in her home?
Then there are the pictures we couldn't take. Beautiful girls who somehow seemed more at peace in their dangerous world than we were. Children oblivious of the coming dark and cool air as we sat on a bleak patch of grass surrounded by parking spaces.
In her multi-unit housing ministry, my friend, LuAnn, goes to places I never dreamed of. Places like motels that house homeless families, sex offenders, and ex-convicts.
In the state of Colorado, registered sex offenders and ex-convicts are required to have landlines. Landlines that motels provide. Motels where homeless families, usually with children, stay between a home and the street.
The new manager informed us that our very small, and short Kids Club meeting at the motel was to be the last one. The motel had been sold to a large chain. LuAnn told me that typically means upgrades, rate hikes, and homeless families on the street, literally.
Aisa came to our shade tree meeting at an apartment complex, prepared with her notebook and pencil. She was writing down the other children's names for me to write in their books. When I asked her if she wanted to be a teacher, she confidently answered, "Yes! How did you know?"
Aisa's face said she had no reason to doubt that her dream would come true. And I asked myself if her hope would be enough. The best walking, talking testament, Aisa's confidence reminded me that, "Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen." (Hebrews 11:1, NRSV)
Please hug the children in your world and thank God they don't live in a world caught in the web of poverty and perps. As you hug them, pray that God will protect innocent and vulnerable children, blessing them with help and hope.