Friday, March 2, 2012

In the Brokenness

I met Patty* nearly a year ago. She was one of the handful of children that frequented Kid’s Club, a play and teaching time at a local park for at-risk children.  She didn’t come every day and even when she did come, her grandmother often made her to leave early so that they could continue their rounds of begging for money in the park. She was an adorable six-year old with a hint of mischief in her eyes. She had two little brothers who would trail after her everywhere she went. This little girl quickly stole a piece of my heart and not a day of Kid’s Club would go by without me intentionally seeking her out.

At that time my spoken Khmer was very basic so our communication was limited.  Whenever she saw me at the park, she would race up to me and we would have the same conversation:
        Becki: Hello Patty! How are you?
        Patty: Hello bong (older sister) Becki!  I’m good. How are you? 
        Becki: Good! Happy to see you!  Becki loves Patty!
        Then I would say, “God loves Patty!”  

This conversation would give her so much delight that she would grab my hand and say,
            “Patty loves bong Becki!”

It was our little ritual.

Something so simple yet so powerful. I know that this little girl was daily in harm’s way, perhaps it was only a matter of time before she was abused or sold or both. I wanted so much to protect her and love her well. 

Three weeks ago a former colleague called me out of the blue and told me that Patty had been at Kid’s Club that afternoon and she insistently asked where Becki was. It had been nearly six months since I had last seen her because of a change in my job. The call reminded me of this precious child and I told my friend that I would visit soon.  I wanted to see her and have our ritual conversation and remind her that she was dearly loved!

But before I could get back to the park, some really terrible things happened to her. Much more than I can bare to think about...things that shouldn’t happen to a six-year-old full of so much life and wonder. When these events were discovered, she was quickly removed from her situation and taken to the safety of an aftercare shelter. 

And now I sit and cry in the brokenness that is all around me.  I wonder where God was and why He didn’t save this little one. I know that she is now in good hands - a place that will provide for all her needs and begin the hard work of restoring her.  While this is good, I am still broken-hearted for the darkness that is all around me.

"Lord, come quickly!"

--*name has been changed