Wednesday, June 13, 2012
RHODA IS FROM UGANDA
Yesterday I was speaking to a group of women in Fayetteville, AR when I noticed the sweetest little girl looking up at me with huge brown eyes. She stood out in the crowd because she was obviously not from the area, not even from this country. Her pitch black skin and many pig tails wrapped with ribbons in her hair drew every one's attention. I watched her from the podium as she grinned, interacted with the people sitting at her table, and played with her food.
She was introduced as one of the members granddaughter, who had come to live with her new American family from UGANDA, just one year ago. Rhoda looked to be 8 years old. She was beautiful.
As part of my talk I ask the ladies to identify their attitudes by choosing a song title to describe them. That is usually accompanied by lots of laughter, soul searching and hesitancy. They choose a country western song title, a tune from their past, or make one up and then write it on a card, and we review them. If I know the song we sometimes sing a duet, right there in front of God and His people!! The titles they choose are VERY revealing about their joy, sadness, frustrations or grief. I pay very close attention to what they write.
After the meeting I made a special effort to talk to Rhoda, to thank her for her sweet expression as I spoke to the group and to tell her that I thought she was the cutest thing I'd seen that day. She smiled shyly and I wondered if she understood English.
She understood alright! Maybe she understood better than all the older ladies in that room.
She handed me her card on her way out. She'd given some thought to her life, her attitude and decided upon a song title that described her. She'd printed in bold letters, "I AM A SURVIVOR."
She trotted out the door holding onto her very American, white-protestant, grandmother's hand.
WOW! What a smart little girl! She happily went on her way as I wondered what all she had seen and where she had lived for the first seven years of her life.
She has SURVIVED, something!! Her stories would probably set my hair on fire.
She WILL survive whatever comes along now! At eight years old, she has already made that determination.
I hear the news of thousands of Rhoda's in third world countries, children that have seen and experienced adult atrocities. Most of them will NOT survive.
BUT, for now, Rhoda is safe, and fed, and clothed, and loved. Her American family is very blessed to have her in their lives. She will teach them much! She will teach them to order their priorities, to ditch their complaints for thankfulness, and to see beyond color and cultural barriers.
I'm so glad Rhoda attended yesterday. Her presence was certainly more important than my talk.
Rhoda has much to teach us if we'll listen.