July 28, 2015 - Thailand

Tears stream down his eyes, his frail arms clutch me tight, hoping that this goodbye is temporary, hoping that I am merely taking a day trip to Bang-Na- Not flying off forever to the United States.

“Pai Thailand Mai?” he chokes out. He is asking when I will be back. I don’t dare look him in the eyes because I simply do not know. I hold his little body in a tight hug until we are motioned by a taxi driver to leave. I slump into the taxi as children bang on the taxi windows yelling their goodbyes in broken English and teethy smiles, tears still fastened to their eyes. We are off. The boys chase the taxi as far as their little legs can run them, but soon they are just a blur. They pant, crouched over, getting their final waves goodbye in. Goodbye dear friends.

We now sit in Alliance Guest Home, awaiting our flights. As our departure from Thailand looms ever nearer, I can’t help but imagine holding a sniffling Hi in my arms. I am tightly clutching him, wiping his tears away, whispering soft assurances in his ears, hoping with all hope that he will never leave the protection of my arms. But the dilemma is that we have left them. They are no longer in our sight, protection, and arms.  They will soon be on the other side of the world, as the realities of college and everyday life pillage my time and energy. I sit on the floor of Alliance Guest Home bewildered. What am I supposed to do with that?

Then God drags me to some truth. That isn’t really God’s hope for this trek. In a way, His hope isn’t that we hold on to these boys, our Thai family, as tightly as we can, but that we nudge these children to our God, Him- A God that can catch every tear and stop them from falling, a God that sings words of encouragement more beautiful than we can ever imagine, and a God that holds not only each boy or girl in his arms, but the entire universe and cosmos in His palms. God’s hope is that they know Him a little bit better because of our being there.

That became my hope- That rather than them knowing more about American culture, English, or how cool these American college students were, that the precious darlings we left in Thailand or Cambodia would know that they are comforted, loved, and cherished by the God of the universe, the living God, Yahweh.

Written by Jesse