We arrived at our “hotel/resort” at 3:00 am. I guess you could call that the start of day one. We were just finishing about 36 hours of travel. I suspect it is safe to say that we were a pretty tired bunch. Especially since any sleep you get on planes can be chalked right up into the worthless category.
I had to be woken up at 12:30 pm. The pillow next to me was exactly how I’d left it. My bed was untouched except for the corner I had slipped into. I must have slept like a dead man. Don’t grudge me. I needed it.
Kids from Faith and Agape children’s homes were to arrive at the “resort” where we are staying about 2:00 so we tried to rally our group and get organized. We are a pretty diverse team—ranging in age from about 10 to 60 something. We have plumbers, carpenters, doctors, nurses, students, mechanics, teachers, pastors, a title searcher…and, of course, attorneys. (What can I say, we can’t all be skilled labor!)
Our plan was for all 100 kids to be seen by a doctor as well as to generally have a good time and be shown the love of Christ. The resort had some cool peddle boats and other activities and I had brought a few things for crafts and games including innovative pumps with biodegrable water balloons. The biodegrable thing sounded like potential genius and potential disaster but hey, life is boring if you aren’t willing to take some risks.
While we waited for the kids—who were about an hour late—I talked with Benjamin, one of the young men that works at Faith. He told me the kids had been so excited the night before, he had a hard time getting them to sleep. Benjamin looks like a kid himself—maybe 14 or so, but he’s actually been to Bible college in Burma and India, teaches at the Bible school nearby, is married, and helps with the kids at Faith…always with a smile on his face.
Everyone was quick to pitch in and help, so we divided into three groups and one headed for the clinic while the others went their various ways. I didn’t suspect we would have much trouble keeping track of the kids…turns out we lost whole groups…but that’s another story.
As the kids waited for the clinic, I stayed with them and intended to keep them occupied with some crafts and games. They had designated a nice space for us on a brick patio outside the clinic building. But the first thing to happen was rain. So, we ended cramped in a storage room/office for resort workers.
The second thing that happened was that we lost our translator.
And maybe it was because they were sleep deprived, or maybe because Benjamin had just been summoned elsewhere, or maybe because they were about to see the doctor, but the Faith kids seemed a little tense and quiet. It was harder than I remembered to break the ice with a sweet group of kids who haven’t a clue what I’m saying. And even though I recognized a number of their faces, I felt like I was starting back at zero trying to remember names. Aung Thun Kyaw and Siang Khun Tial just don’t stick in my head like I wish they did.
The kids in these children’s homes are generally from Christian families and are taught the Bible, but I didn’t want to miss an opportunity to share the gospel. Unfortunately, without the translators and with kids coming and go, some of my attempts were not altogether successful and others were just plain dismal failures. But, we have four more days, so we will just keep giving it our all.
I stayed in the hot storage room most of the afternoon, so I didn’t get to see all of the goings on, but from what I heard, the kids had a lot of fun in the swan boats while our team generally had strokes watching them and worrying that their life vests might be too big. And from what I hear, had it been the World Cup, the score would have been something like Burma 19, USA 1.
It took a while to get all of the kids through the clinic and it was dark by the time we gathered the groups to load the buses. Just as we prepared to say our goodbyes, the skies opened up one final time, giving us a parting drenching. We wasted no time swarming the small outdoor “restaurant” which was now devoid of customers. As we stood and watched the downpour in soft glow of the restaurant lights, the electricity went out. Then we just stood.
The lights flickered on and off a few times, but Pastor Khar had the idea of getting the kids to sing—so my final memories of the evening were 100 voices lifted up in praise to our God. Those kids sing about like they play soccer. Incredible.
And I’m sure all of the rain was just God’s way of helping me out with “bio-degrading” all of those little water balloon pieces. Thanks, God!