- Where do faith and real life meet?
- How can one person make a difference in the world?
I can still remember the first time I visited an orphanage. I was 18-years-old and in Targu Murez, Romania for a summer internship with Livada Orphan Care—a ministry that helps orphans become productive Christian adults. The orphanage looked like an unfinished hotel. Imagine the structure of a hotel—a large rectangular building with a grid of windows—but without any of the frills that normally adorn a modern resort. The walls were plain white concrete. There were no shutters on the windows. And instead of beautiful landscaping, weeds grew out of flowerbeds and up the side of the building.
The building looked lifeless, barren, and cold.
Suddenly, the building came to life as small children bubbled out of every crack and crevice. A five-year-old boy with dark hair and dark skin grabbed my hand while another boy of almost the same age climbed up my back and onto my shoulders. The boy who grabbed my hand started pulling me toward the entrance of the barren building.
The inside of the building was dark and cold. Tile that had once been white was now yellowed and dirty—tarnished from years of foot traffic by kids who didn’t have parents to teach them to leave their shoes at the door. But my tour guide was not depressed nor scared of the foreboding building. He smiled—a big, wide, contagious smile that could light up even the darkest darkness.
We walked up a few flights of stairs to his room. I have two very vivid memories of his room.
- Everything was red including the curtains, the throw rug, and the blanket on his bed.
- The room smelled bad.
But my five-year-old tour guide didn’t care. He was SO proud of his space. Like a close friend who just purchased a new home, he showed me everything he owned with a deep sense of pride and confidence. His favorite possession? A dirty and blackened teddy bear.
As we turned to go, I noticed five or so locks on the door?
“What’s this?” I asked the translator.
“One of the bigger problems in orphanages is sexual abuse. Those locks are to prevent an older boy from coming into this room at night and abusing that little boy holding your hand.”
“What!?!” I couldn’t believe what the translator said. If there’s one thing I take for granted it’s the fact that I go home and sleep at night in peace. I’m not worried about someone trying to abuse my wife, my kids, or me as I sleep. That thought never occurs to me. Sure, I lock the doors and sleep with my door open to get to the boys as fast as possible if needed, but I do not go to sleep every night wondering who may break in to steal the innocence of my kids.
In fact, let’s stop there for today, because chances are—if you’re like me—you have never stopped to think about the fact that you sleep in peace. And that is something all of us should be VERY thankful for. I will continue this post on Thursday…
Instead of a question, just close your eyes for a moment and thank God that you get to sleep in peace tonight.