Friday, July 02, 1999

VOLUME 6 - Summer 1999

Yellow Blue Bus

(Russian for I Love You)

To see children suffering always takes an emotional toll. Americans are blessed with so much in material wealth when faced with the poverty and suffering in other nations, remorse and a fair share of guilt is experienced. Seeing little ones without parents also brings an indescribable sadness, and a sense of helplessness at our efforts to change their situation, trying to bring a small bit of sunshine amidst a hopeless future.

On the second day of our journey, we visited a deski-dome*. Our interpreters explained children of this age have the most difficult emotional time understanding their situation. Unable to grasp why they don’t have parents; why doesn’t someone want them?

Each day in the mission field, the children’s excitement to see the visitors brings encouragement. The smiles on their faces make the trip and the temporary hardships of travel, jet lag, planes, trains and buses worth it.

Whatever you did for the least of these, you did for MeDuring our visit to a local deski-dome* the team split into two groups, “picture takers” and “hug-givers”. The caregivers are eager to tell outsiders the children available for adoption to America; which child’s parents are dead, and sadly, which child's parents are in prison.

As we took Polaroid photos, occasionally the teachers would ask for an extra shot to be taken to be sent to an incarcerated parent, or for the adoption agency that was waiting for a photo to be sent. The orphanage resources were so low they could not afford the film to take a picture of an available child.

We took the pictures.

A picture, something so minor in our western disposable camera world, and so major in a society that has lost its resources, its hope, and its grand dream of a perfect society.

As the day progresses, the smiles hold back the tears. Yet, as always, when the smiles become difficult I am reminded of Matthew 25:40. I can then picture myself with an opportunity to hug and hold Jesus one more time, to take my picture with Him, and my enthusiasm returns. How could I not smile when I am holding Him? So as I grab each child and place them on my lap, I just say “I love you Jesus, oh, I love you”. Strength returns, enthusiasm and smiles spill forth.

As I walked in the last classroom a child began shouting and screaming “CLOWNSKI, CLOWNSKI!” All I could think of was “oh, great Lord, now I have scared a poor child to death, it’s the end of the day, I really didn’t need this” .

To my surprise and delight, it was not fear that had the child screaming but surprise and joy! As she broke away from the teacher she ran to grab my legs shouting and screaming all the more. Then in excitement she would run back to the teacher, taking delighted pauses to share with her friends her elation at the day’s visitor. We all laughed, and I inwardly smiled at this treat from the Lord, and such generous sharing of His joy.

The last picture developed and the last stickers were placed on frames that said “God thinks I am special”.

The strangers bringing joy slowly left and began to make their way down the dark hallway. We were stopped by the enthusiastic little girl shouting “yellow blue bus” (ya low-blue vas transliteration - in Russian). I turned to the interpreters repeating “yellow blue bus”? They laughed and quickly informed me “Ya low-blue vas” means I love you in Russian.

As I went down the hallway I smiled and said “yellow blue bus” back to the little girl - having just heard from the King with a big grin on His face “I love you too”.

*Orphanages housing children 3 to 6 years old