Not Your Savior
After certain episodes from specific girls in the home, I realized that I had to make something very clear to everyone. “I am not your savior. We (including Rachel and Kiley) are not your saviors. There is only One Savior, and trust me, it’s not me.” We explained this to the girls during bible study one night, as they somehow got the impression that because we are preaching to them and missionaries that we don’t sin, or that our sins aren’t as bad as theirs. I was shocked when even Ayanda said, “What sin? You don’t sin, do you?” I wish I didn’t. But I course I do.
The discussion was sparked by one of the girls in the home who wrote semi-suicidal letters to several people saying something to the effect of, “You’re my only hope. You are the only one who can save me now.” It might come as a surprise to you, but it didn’t to me because this girl is a master of manipulation. She knew just exactly what to say and how to say it, to make someone bend to her wishes and go out of their way to give her what she wanted. She is also a master of lies, which makes sense in her act of manipulation. It has taken us four months since I’ve been here to uncover the mess of lies she’s gotten herself into. But as we all know, lies catch up with you at some point, and when you least expect it. This particular girl had been skipping school every week. She’d leave the home, dressed in her uniform and with her books and backpack, pretending she was going to school, but in fact she was actually staying in town with her boyfriend. Her school refused to let her write final exams for that and other reasons. It was the school counselor that then filled us in on all the lies she had even told the school. That day, when the girl found out we knew about all the lies and more, she pretended all was well but when our attention was occupied elsewhere, she snuck off, “running” away from the home with a large sum of stolen money in her pocket.
It hurt. First of all, that she ran away. Second of all, that she told lies about the home to her counselor. Third of all, that after all I had given her, she still felt the need to take off with my money (which she had been stealing earlier, too.) To make a long story and a very long week, short, she admitted to stealing and was taken to court. She begged to be let back into the home, but she was already going to be on suspension before the stolen money. We had found oit that she had even lied about the reasons for why she was in the home to begin with. She had also been stealing from any place she had stayed, including her grandma, mother, and people’s tithes from church. That and so much more was finally broight to light, but she hardly showed any convicyion or regret.
I was so torn, though. I was crushed. I loved this girl. It was so hard to tell her no, she couldn’t come back. I wanted her back. With open arms, I wanted to welcome her back. But I also knew how destructive that would be to the other girls in the home as well. So I asked the Lord what to do. I prayed and prayed for wisdom. So many people were telling me just to forget about it and let her back. Even a man from social welfare said, “I know you have such a big heart, so you can let her back in.” But none of them understood. It’s not about having a big heart. It’s not about the stolen money or the lies. It’s about how to correct her. It’s about what’s best for the house AND for her future. It’s about showing her that we are not the saviors. I prayed for wisdom and the next morning, my reading in Sirach said, “…discipline at ALL times is WISDOM.” It was perfect. I had forgiven her, I even wrote her a letter to tell her so. But she still needed correction. After the experience it was very clear to me that people from the society expected us as the foreigners to be the saviors, and I realized how damaging that can be.
Unfortunately, the girl’s father, who hasn’t been a part of her life for the past 16 years, decided to pay the court fine and take her with him instead of to the remand/correction center (where she’d get supervised schooling and counseling) like we had all originally agreed. It didn’t take more than a few days for the dad to realized his cell phone had gone missing and maybe more.
Although, she is out of the walls of our house, she is still very much so a part of us and my heart. It’s hard not having her in the home, but it needed to be done. For her own growth and healing. For her own time to find the true Savior.