Torn Into Pieces
After the emotional encounter with Tenele as she poured out her tears, I was so encouraged and felt this was definitely a turning point in her life, which I still know that it was. But I also was a little weary as to whether or not she would let me see her after she showed this vulnerable and painful part of herself to me. Sure enough…no sign of Tenele for a week and a half. Meanwhile, Johannes had come to visit me several times and we had some really deep and wonderful conversations about life, about his past, about the pain he had been battling with, about his future, about Tenele, and about God. He wrote me some really powerful notes and messages. I made him some pancakes one day and he LOVED them! I walked back with him to Mangwaneni that day and he excitedly told Pununu about these interesting “pancakes” I made. 🙂
I had also prearranged the Christmas celebration with my kids on the 23rd so as I walked back with Johannes, he took me through Mangwaneni to find all the kids and tell them to meet me on the morning of the 23rd for a surprise celebration. We found Pununu, Ayanda, Nomphilo, Ayanda, and Temu, but no sign of Tenele. After tracking around camp looking for her, we finally found her back at her boyfriend’s house. I heard the man’s voice from inside, but didn’t see him…I have yet to see him or know anything about him really. As Pununu called Tenele out, Johannes pointed to the ground where there were tons of pieces of what looked to be ripped up paper. It’s not an unusual sight to have random garbage laying around the squatter camp, so I thought nothing of it until Johannes picked up a piece and handed it to me. It was a torn piece of a part of my and Tenele’s faces together. All along the ground were theses pieces. Someone had took the pictures I had given Tenele of the two of us and tore them to pieces. I took the torn piece in my hand and my heart sank with a bit of fear. I could only imagine how a fight happened or something where all the pictures would be torn like that…and I suddenly didn’t felt very uneasy and out of place.
When Tenele came out she wasn’t the same. She grabbed my hand and said, “hamba” which means “go.” She walked with us towards the top of Mangwaneni and we stopped and talked; I assumed she didn’t want to talk where her boyfriend could hear. I asked about the picture and she said a friend ripped it up, though Johannes told me it was her boyfriend. I asked about her boyfriend… and I asked her if he liked me and she changed the subject saying, “I like you.”
I said, “I know you do, Tenele, but what about him?” and she just shook her head…and later tried to deny she had a boyfriend.
It’s getting more and more scary trying to help this girl. It’s getting more and more difficult and it hurts every time she denies my help. I asked her straight up that day if she wanted my help and she gave me a heartfelt, “yes.”
So, I said, “How? How Tenele? How can I help you?”
She replied with her eyes down, “I don’t know…”
She honestly wants my help, I can see it, but then again she doesn’t know how much help; she doesn’t know what she really wants. I think she also might be doing this to try to protect me, especially after the torn pictures.
This is so much more than I can handle; but that’s the beauty of having strength come from Someone else. Though sometimes I am scared or tired or frustrated or broken, I won’t stop loving her or pursuing her. I can’t. It’s not my love to say whether or not she gets it…it’s the Lord’s. Though the path is sometimes lonely and full of burdens—and by far the most challenging path I’ve taken in my life—yet through it all God’s grace and love is written all over it. His goodness and the protection is already set over me. While this is the most challenging path I’ve taken in my life, it is also the most I have seen of God’s work, and it’s incredible to be a part of it.
After all, there are no such things as torn up pieces that God Himself can’t put back together.