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"It's a LUXURY auto!"

Out of the mouths of babes

P and L live in a South American country where L spends her week at an outreach that cares for the children of prostitutes. Here is a glimpse into everyday life at the project.

Yesterday was a fun day at the project. Many of the 57 children were missing since it is still only two days past 'Carnaval' week and lots of the children’s mums remain out on drunken binges or are recovering from them. We all worked on school homework for the first hour, then I taught a flannelgraph Bible lesson with object lessons on seeds and plants, music and other supplementary activities. We broke out the new Crayolas from the States.

Later, a short sturdy girl from the intermediate group poked her head in the doorway, black eyes just dancing with excitement. “Tía L, your... uh... ohhh... ummm (she seemed to be searching for a word)." “My husband?” She pounced on the word with relief. “Yes! Your husband. He’s here. He’s out at the street, in an auto!” When I asked her if she had another minute free to return to the street and ask my husband if he wanted to come in, she accepted and ran off with alacrity to do so. Another tiny girl, R, from next to me in the youngest children’s group, grabbed my hand and looked up with wide eyes, full of wonder, into my face. “Tía L, you have a husband (un esposo)? I thought you didn’t!” P then appeared in the doorway to the room, with about 12 little kids already hanging onto him. The kids chorused a respectful greeting to him, then most of the children escorted him all around the place to show him absolutely everything while I finished gathering things up and straightening the room in order to leave.
Out at the car (I was amazed to see that P had dared to leave the car, even for a few minutes, in that particular street) the children piled around the car. P opened the back door to the jeep in order to put in the carry bag and the bulky flannelgraphboard. Immediately eight kids melted into the back of the jeep together with the flannelgraph board! But when P gently told them they’d have to get down so we could leave, they all did without so much as a word of protest or complaint. R said to me, big eyes shining, “It’s a luxury auto!” Inwardly, I was just dying because our vehicle is a 27-year-old Mitsubishi short-wheelbase ‘jeep’ model! When I told R and the other children that the ‘auto’ was 27 years old, E, a gentle boy 10 or 11 years old, marveled, “But it looks like new.”

It’s amazing and humbling to me to see these children’s perspectives on things: to glimpse the world through their eyes. Our vehicle has scratches and dents and faded paint, but yesterday it was not in its normal state of being heavily coated with dust inside and out, since we had just sprung for a good washing, over last weekend.
When we said goodbye to the children and carefully started the engine to drive away, I turned and peered out the back window to make completely sure no more children were still clinging to the back and sides of the vehicle to ‘catch a ride.’ I saw that one young obviously drunken and hungover mum had strolled out behind the car from the ale-house across the narrow road, and was glaring suspiciously at all that was going on. She was puffy-faced and bleary-eyed. A waif of a slim braid-headed girl child from our project ran over and put her arm out to her. “Hi Mum!”

Would you pray for P and L, and other workers just like them? Head here for current, specific prayer points from our members all over the globe.

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