Thursday, September 16, 2010

Kerry Ann...(3rd post of JMP)

Kerry Ann wearing My Jamaica Hat....it ended up staying with her...LOL!
So today I get to share with you stories about My Kerry Ann. I'm not even sure how we even first started getting close. I suppose it was just from pushing her wheelchair up and down the bumpy yard singing songs. That is probably what sticks out most in my mind is her singing. At some point I had a video of her singing and somewhere along the way it has been misplaced. But I can tell you it is probably the most precious sound you could ever imagine. The first time I heard her we were sitting under the shelter in the middle of the property and I asked her to sing something to me and I asked her if she knew the song - Open the Eyes of My Heart.......Oh My...That was probably when we connected. I sat at watched this girl sing these words to God and truly speak to Him. This is a girl who has been confined to a wheelchair her entire life with Spinal Bifida. Has been through pain like I can never even imagine. One day I watched as Njoki lifted her tiny mostly limp body into her wheelchair one morning and I cringed as she winced in pain until she got adjusted. And then to be left in an orphanage to be raised by others because her family doesn't have the ability or finances to take care of her. If anyone should be in a pit it is this young girl. And yet on that morning when I saw her connect to God I knew I wanted to be in her presence. And so now she is "my girl.." and it is mostly selfishness on my part. I push her wheelchair and sit and hold her one good hand and rub her face. And then I tell her that she is SPOILED and she does her laugh where she lifts her body and looks up and away like she is embarrassed.

Goodbye Hugs are always the hardest...

The first time I ever told her that it was just adorable. We were sitting in the "dining area" and she reached into her little purse and pulled out some J (Jamaican money) and handed some to one of the boys. She said something in the language I dont' think I'll ever learn and off he went. I didn't really pay attention until awhile later the boy came back with a grape soda. I looked at her and I said.."is that what you told him...to go get you a soda..." - "yes" - "and then he just runs and does what you say..." - she just sort of giggled....And so I told her "Kerry Ann, you are spoiled...do you know what that means?.." She said that she didn't know the word...So I explained it means....Everybody Loves Kerry Ann and so Everybody does anything that Kerry Ann Wants...and I said it to her in a sing songy voice...and so that is our little joke now...Every time I say it to her she just giggles and giggles....

My second year at the orphanage was probably the most difficult. Kerry Ann and I spent alot of time together and on the last day of working there she was acting very upset. One day we were in the school room and I was holding her hand and loving on her. She wouldn't color or do anything like the other children. I kept asking her if she didn't feel well and she would just look away. Finally all of the sudden she just burst into tears. The teacher came over and was talking  to her in Patwa and so I had no idea what was going on. She was so good with her and was comforting her but my stomach was in a knot because I had no idea what the problem was. One of the girls pushed her wheelchair out of the room and the teacher and her went to
the side of the building so she could calm her down. Finally the teacher came over and explained to me that she didn't want me to leave...That just broke my heart...So the rest of the day we just spent time alone and I tried to explain that I would be back the next day to take her to church.

Rob pushing Kerry Ann up the hill to church...and of course she was Singing

So the next day at church we found a place over by the window. The children in wheelchairs take up the outside isle and then people sit on a small bench beside them. So we found our spot in the middle of several other wheelchairs and began to listen to the woman sing and Pastor Douglas began to preach. His sermon that day was powerful just like every other time we have been there. But this sermon was about healing. He told the story about the men that brought their sick friend to see Jesus. They couldn't get inside so they climbed up on the roof and lowered him down through the ceiling and asked Jesus to heal him. I looked around at all these children scattered among the local people. Children that couldn't speak or were deformed from birth. Did they understand what he was saying? Did they pray for that? Did they lay in bed at night and asked to be healed? And then my eyes rested on Kerry Ann. I was holding her hand and she was staring directly into my eyes. What were her eyes saying to me? Did she want me to pray that for her? What if I were strong enough spiritually to believe that God could heal her right there. Was this God testing my faith right there? Did he give me the gift of this girl to be able to witness a miracle if only I had the faith...And in my soul I felt myself say.."no"...I couldn't..literally within seconds Kerry Ann began to weep - uncontrollably weep..There was no where to go - we were jammed in like sardines and it wouldn't have mattered anyway. The church is on a Steep hill and Kerry Ann has to be carried up by several strong men. So there we were. I rubbed her face and put my head close to her ear and just began to speak softly and try to comfort her. Letting her know that I would be back to see her and that I would call and talk to her...which I do but not near as often as I should....Gradually she began to calm down...Services were over and we took the children back to the orphanage and said our goodbyes. It was very difficult but Njoki promised me she would take good care of her....We drove away and I began to weep. I realize that my group thought it was because of leaving Kerry Ann and it was in part. But at that point my soul was breaking. I knew that morning was a turning point. It had to be....That evening I sat out by the water where it was quiet and I talked to God. Why would He do that to me? How could I be put in that position? Was He really asking me to do something so bold or was it my vivid imagination. And what if he was and my response had now changed this girls future and my obedience could have dramatically changed the direction of the faith of the people I was with and all those people in that room and people I would never know.....What if I would have said Yes???? I don't know...I honestly don't....Maybe I think much to highly of myself to think that God would have used me in that way....Honestly - Who Am I???? And so I switch from It could have happened if I would have only obeyed to thinking that I am crazy.....

So as my JMP friends read this I really have no idea what they may think....possibly yes that Linda is a little Wacky but we have come to expect that...but I do think that we have all had some pretty bonding experiences now that they know my heart...It has been a joy to have shared these special times with each of these people. If any of you have ever been part of something like this you will fully understand the impact that it makes on you if you invest in it fully. The people you serve with are connected to you forever...They have seen the faces...They have pried on shoes with you that were to small to fit the feet....They have cleaned and painted the walls of bathrooms covered in stuff you don't want to identify....It is a bonding experience and we are now like a family. We may argue or get irritated because of lack of sleep but each of us understands why we do what we do.....For the Kids....For Us....For the lives back home that will benefit from our changed lives and I am beyond blessed to have this incredible family called Jamaican Mission Program...

Today I dream for you the opportunity to truly serve from the depths of your heart...for you to impact and be impacted...for opportunities for God to speak to you...I have tried to let go of the guilt of saying No and live in the truth that He speaks if only we listen...I have to believe that He knew my answer before He asked so He was not surprised or dissapointed...He just needed me to be aware so when the opportunity arises in which I would give Him a Yes I will hear his voice....Have a blessed day my friends....

3 comments:

Terry said...

After you read this, grab a tissue and watch the 'missing' video that Linda referenced! We miss her, too. http://www.facebook.com/terry.sebranek?v=app_2392950137#!/video/video.php?v=554556838339

Jenny said...

awww, so sweet, your story and the video.

Anonymous said...

This was such a beautiful story. Thanks for sharing it!
- Amanda F.