Over the last few weeks, and really since I have been here, I keep having the same experience over and over. I had never considered it much or its significance until recently.
First, it was one boy that sent me a friend request on Facebook. I don't think I had ever spoken to him other than greetings, but I had seen him around many times. I accepted the request and he sent me a message. I had just seen him that day in Kivulu. He asked if I knew him. He didn't believe me that I did until I told him we passed each other earlier in the day. He couldn't believe it.
Next, it was a boy that was hungry. There is a man that has a chapati business and also cooks beans and rice. He will serve boys food and then I pay after. However, to make sure it is fine he asks that I send him messages if I have given a boy permission to get food from him. I've known this boy for a long time. I know his name and nickname. The day he asked to go and get food, I was sending the message and he told me his name. I told him I knew it. A few days later, the same story. Another few days, same story. Every time he asked for food, he would tell me his name.
Next, another boy messaged me on Facebook. Same story as the first. I don't think we had ever really spoken in person, but he is friends with other boys I know well. I have seen him around many times. When he asked if I knew who he was and I told him yes and explained how I knew him, he couldn't believe it.
Maybe it was a coincidence.
Maybe it speaks to my forgetfulness.
However, I think the truth is these kids are invisible to most of the world. The only time they are seen is to be reminded how much of an inconvenience they are or how unwanted they are.
They are seen as many things...thieves, nuisances, worthless, dirty, drug addicts, thugs, stupid, annoying, inconveniences, unlovable, loud, quarrelsome, unreasonable, destructive, mistakes, useless. The list could go on.
But they are rarely known. Known as gifts from God, special, cherished, talented, loved, individuals with likes and dislikes, full of hope and dreams, musicians, dancers, by name, brothers, children, funny, intelligent, smart, beautiful, handsome. And all we all want is to be known. Isn't it? To be seen for who we are and who we want to be. Not to be defined by the choices that we have made or the things that have been done to us.
And how earth-shattering is it when we find someone that truly knows and sees us-not just for who we are at this moment but for who we are to become? Does it not change us? Thankfully we have that hope in Jesus. He does know us. He sees who we were and loves us to who we are to become. His love doesn't wait until we become less dirty or more perfect. He meets us where we are and whispers to us that we are worth knowing. And we change. We become free. Free to let go of the past and free to embrace our destinies.
It is just the beginning for the boys to feel known on Earth. If people aren't known on Earth, can they really believe in a Savior that sees them as worthy of His sacrifice?
Will you keep the boys in your prayers that they would know how worth knowing that they are and that they are loved where they currently are?