My Dear Tied Shoes..

(this is a lament i wrote to my mother in the midst of my summer of counseling and ministering to South Sudanese Teens with War Trauma)

its so sad. every day i dread going to school because i know that im going to be faced with more than my strength can handle. but then every day im blessed as the Lord literally fills my mouth with words to say to each child and he inspires different techniques of how to connect to each kid. its so hard though. im tired. im tired and overwhelmed. and still i feel so STUPID and SELFISH saying that . because i mean… how blessed am i ???? my counseling sessions are on this hill where we sit on huge rock overlooking a drop down into the mountains. mountains and clouds and afican plains all around me, and we sit overlooking the NILE RIVER… i mean IM BLESSED. but im tired. im overwhelmed. a whole school. A WHOLE SCHOOL is looking to me to help them. a whole school of students my age and even older, comes to me each day to ‘discuss’ their problems. IM NOT A COUNSELOR!!! but i am a vessel…. i know that. you know today i saw the fruit of that.

last week in the process of meeting with like 14 students, i met with one boy named william. his story was sooooo touching… like they all are. his parents have been burned alive in their house by the rebels some years back and he has been displaced since. as he told his story and pain, he spoke of nothing but his desire for education. this kid lit up when he spoke of education. knowing that i had enough pocket change to cover this kids entire term, i was shamefully forced to sit quietly and
just listen sympathetically. because honestly, HERE it IS a problem to give one a gift and not the rest. the implications of that would not only ruin my trip but the trips of other americans as it would further the reputation of richness in america. so i sit and tell him that i have no money to support him in that way and ask if there is anything else i could do to help- you know, as a friend would. he then agrees that prayer would help him. so in my moment of feeling cheesy, i said with a blank
mind, ‘ how about – from now on, every time that  i … tie my shoe… i’ll pray for u – and the blessing of your education..’, he seemed to like the idea and i thought so little of it. i mean no its not common for me to make deals and agreements with the students, but still this didn’t stick out in my mind as anything extraordinary for him. well, Ive been having all of my students write letters to tell their stories so that i can take them back to america and share their reality with a world so far apart. and today william brought me his letter and i stacked it in the pile with the other 50 letters id received,thinking little of it. later today i was reading through some with emily and she came across williams’. and as she reached the end she stopped with tears in her eyes and said… ‘sophie,,, you’re going to cry…’ …she then read his final line of his letter to me…. ‘ God is great, my dear tied shoes.’
………………… :)……………….i couldn’t believe… it meant so much to him…. God is great? my dear tied shoes?-….. can god really
use something so small that i did unknowingly that it would mean ANYTHING and use it to give someone hope? ..
so i know im being used as a vessel. and its moments like that which keep me going.

Sophie B.

Summer  in Sudan ’07

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