Monday, September 11, 2006

Marlon

We were bringing Buknoy and Louie back to their ABP3 home in Molino, after a weekend at the Scott house. We arrived late to the home, and surprisingly the boys were all still awake. They were watching tv, playing outside, and just hanging out. We disrupted the whole bunch when we arrived. As we stepped out of the car, we instantly heard shouts and screams of 'Ate Deborah, Ate Lindsey, nasaan ang pasalubong namin?' Which means where is our gift? They were all so excited to see us. So we decided to go in for a little while and visit with them before we returned home. As we walked through the gate into the front courtyard my eyes met two of the most beautiful, big, dark, deep brown eyes staring back at me. It was my first time to see Marlon, and obviously his first time to see us! He was staring as if in amazement that there were other people in his little world with a different skin color. From the look on his face we must have appeared like aliens :o) He is the newest little boy in Ang Bahay Parola 3. He is 8 years old, with the stature of a little 5 or 6 yr old. After a few minutes of playing and talking with all the boys I began to fellowship with Elder Renee, the staff on duty that night. He was telling me stories of the boys and sharing his burdens with me. All of the sudden I looked down and lil' Marlon was tugging on the shirt of Elder Renee. He was asking to change his shorts...again. Supposedly he had done this repeatedly throughout the day. It was a new and amazingly wonderful thing to have spare shorts to change into, so he had gone through several pairs that day. And since there are about 25 boys at the home, there are plenty of shorts to go around! I bent down and asked him his name and how old he was... he would not look at me. I reached out to tickle him... he immediately backed away. I knew then it would take a while for him to warm up to me and be comfortable around me. He watched from a distance as I played with the other boys; almost like he was studying me to evaluate if I was a safe person or not. Elder Renee then proceeded to tell me he came from an abusive family; his father is in jail and his step mother was very abusive. Elder Renee brought him into the kitchen where the light was bright and showed me the bruises on him. My heart broke as I noticed big bruises on the temples of his head, his neck, arms, and I am sure many many more places. He quickly ran off, as I was getting a little too close for his comfort. Immediately this little boy stole my heart. It's so hard to see the struggles of kids here! We are bombarded with it daily, and it tears at our hearts to know of the oppression that they suffer. This precious little boy had stolen my heart in a matter of 15 minutes. After that I began trying to break through to him. I would come within 10 feet of him, trying not to get too close to him; I would then ask him for one kiss, just one kiss. Of course I knew he would not give me one, but I knew that would show him that I love and care for him. At first he ran off, and the pursuit was on! I chased after him, and would stop before I got too close, so as not to scare him. The next time he released a huge grin across his face that sent chills all over me! That smile had enough cute power punch to knock me off my feet. With that wide grin and those big eyes staring at me, I asked again... 'isang halik Marlon, paki, isa na lang! One kiss Marlon, please, just one!' This time he took off running and laughed a cute, raspy, jolly little laugh. As Elder Renee was watching us I heard him let out a gasp of shock. I stopped immediately and asked what was wrong. He told me that was the first time Marlon had laughed since being in the ABP home. Oh the joy that filled my heart!!! As our simple little game of chase continued... I could tell he was becoming more comfortable with me. A little bit later I chased him inside, and exhausted Marlon collapsed laying on the floor. I sat down beside him and asked him if he was ticklish. I told him I was going to tickle him and empty out his tickles, which is a common Filipino practice. So I tickled him a little, and then stopped. He was laughing and my heart was rejoicing, overflowing to a huge smile on my face. Some of the other boys then began to gather around. They started tickling him too, they thought it was a fun game. Although I could tell Marlon was not enjoying himself anymore. I noticed he was now laying on the floor and holding his head, right at his temples, like he was anticipating and trying to prevent a blow to the head. My heart sank, and ached as I watched him helplessly reliving a past experience. I intervened and told the other boys to stop however, he continued to lay there with his hands grasping and covering his ears and temples. We didn't want to leave him there for fear that the other boys would continue to tickle him, thinking it was still a fun game. So Mom picked him up and stood him on his feet. It was like his hands were superglued tight to his head. My heart sank as I thought of the trauma this precious little boy had been through in the past. He recovered quickly, realizing that no one was going to hit him, and he took off running. By this time I was worn out, and it was time for us to leave. So I went around saying goodbyes to all the boys. I asked where Marlon was. He was upstairs, so the youngest, Apol, went to tell him that we were leaving. I waited at the bottom of the stairs hoping to see him, and then to my surprise I saw those big brown eyes peep over the rail. I was shocked to hear a little 'goodbye' (in English) through a big bright smile. I said goodbye and told him I loved him. I sent him a flying kiss, and he threw one back to me! My heart lept in my chest, as I jumped up and down with excitement! We threw each other several more kisses, as he giggled while watching me rejoice over him. Mom and I walked outside to the courtyard, saying our goodbyes, and proceeding to the car. We got in the car, and they closed the gate to the home. As we were about to drive off, I see lil' Marlon climbing up the gate to look through the top railing. He was waving goodbye and throwing me kisses! Oh the joy that God gives us through the lives of these little children. What a privilege to have the opportunity to love them, and impact their lives for the Lord! Please continue to pray for little Marlon. Please pray that while in the ABP home, he will hear the gospel message, feel the love of our heavenly Father, and that God would change his heart of stone into a heart of flesh that seeks and desires the love of God! Please continue to plead with us for the salvation of these little souls; what a joy they are to me, and surely even more of a joy they are to their true Father in heaven!

3 comments:

Bev F. said...

Wow- what a story! It brought tears to my eyes as I could picture it all. Wish I could just bring Marlon, Jing Jing, etc to live with us! But God is sovereign and I have faith that He will care for them... Love the blogsite - great job! Be in touch. Love, Bev

Victoria Hansen said...

i can't tell you what it means to me to read that. i'm so thankful each of those kids have an ABP to go to.
the story about Marlon made me cry. i'll be praying for him and y'all. i can't wait to go back to Manila, i pray God is willing to let me. love y'all!

Summer said...

I'm in tears. It thrills MY heart to hear about the power of God's love through your willing hearts. Press on, my precious friends.
I love you,
Summer