• June 12, 2018

Lovely, Misbehaving Children!

by Kelsey B., on mis­sion in Brazil

     One after­noon, a 29-year-old mother arrived at the Fazenda with three of her five chil­dren in a state of emer­gency. She had left the home of her abu­sive hus­band after eleven years together and had been sent to us by her social worker. I had never seen chil­dren so mis­be­haved and a mother with such little authority, and they were under my care! Saying “No” to cookies before dinner was all it took for the end of the world to arrive; the two-year-old began cursing and kicking, the four-year-old was biting and breaking what­ever he could find, and the seven year old princess screamed and poured coffee on the floor. What to do? The first few days were full of time-outs and many hours of des­perate prayer on my part! During all of these tantrums the worst part for me was the real­iza­tion of the trauma and neglect the chil­dren had expe­ri­enced to arrive at such behav­iors. There were (and are!) hard moments, but moments too in which I felt strongly God´s pres­ence and that of my com­mu­nity. We also share many fun moments together each day –what beau­tiful smiles and laughs they have! The moments of pure grace are our moments of prayer together. The chil­dren are dis­cov­ering prayer and (usu­ally) remain very calm in the Church. M. was happy to dis­cover ado­ra­tion for the first time. I explained to M. that Christ was pre­sent in the taber­nacle in the host. That evening, during dinner, I asked if she had under­stood. She affirmed “God lives in a box”! After dinner, M. insisted on accom­pa­nying me on my nightly trip to the Church. While I say “No” to many things, I was unable to say “No” to this request! So, we quickly went and upon arriving and seeing the taber­nacle closed, M. asked me “Why can’t we see God? Is he sleeping?” "No", I responded. “Oh, God is taking a nap!” It is so beau­tiful to live the faith of the chil­dren with them as they dis­cover God and are filled with His peace. Indeed, thanks to the loving pres­ence of Christ and of our com­mu­nity, the chil­dren are much better after almost four weeks at the Fazenda. They even say please and thank you!

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