Thursday, August 26, 2010

"Spunky P"

The adorable animated girl on the left in both of the above photos is Precious Z. She is the youngest of all of this group of kids. I met her the first time I visited Zim. Despite her younger age she was living in the home with the older kids. She soon was moved into one of the other homes to be with kids her own age....but I've been blessed to see her every time I have visited Zim because she always requests to see me and it is known that I always focus my attention on the teenagers.

The second time I visited Zim, I didn't think I would see her because I had been told she was moved to one of the other homes that Fatima runs. But then I saw her sweet little face in the modest sized crowd and I remember it clearly. I gasped with excitement and I reached out my arms to her and I specifically spoke her name, grabbed and hugged her. I had not seen her in 11 months and had only met her once, but I spoke her name. I remembered her. I knew her. And it blew her mind. She did not expect me to remember her name because there are so many of them. She did not expect me to light up with extra voltage. But I did.

Because of our special connection, she was permitted to come and spend the entire week with us on my most recent visit as well. Soon she will be old enough to move back in full time.

On one of our outings we had a picnic at a park. After enjoying the lunch and the park itself, we were treated to a large bowl of popcorn. We all sat around sharing the snack and it got quiet. I saw opportunity in the silence and so I recommend a simple exercise. I asked each of the kids (all sitting in a big circle) to say one word about the person sitting next to them. I explained that I wanted to hear how they would describe each other so I would learn a little more about each ones personality. They giggled and chattered and then they began. Little Precious Z was the first to go and she said one word about the girl sitting next to her. It was a funny exercise. I was not to participate in the game....but I got dragged in. At the end of the circle, Sarah was supposed to say one descriptive word about Precious Z and then the little game would be over. But Sarah wanted to say something about me instead....and so she switched it up a little. We all laughed and thought the game was over, until little Precious Z said "what about ME?" Oops.....she was waiting on a descriptive word from me. The only word that came to my mind...and it came abruptly was "spunky". I said "spunky" and the laughter roared. They didn't even know what spunky meant, but somehow they all knew that it fit her perfectly. And it does.

Later that day the kids initiated an impromptu talent contest where they took turns singing and dancing. Little Precious was encouraged to sing. I told her that her stage name could be "Spunky P". More roaring laughter. And thus the nickname was born.

We called her "Spunky P" for the rest of the week, and if I know anything about those kids, they are still calling her Spunky P. She was so proud of her nickname and so honored to be the only one with a special name from me.

The day before I left, Spunky P came up to me, put her arm around me and walked beside me. On our little walk together she told me the love she feels from me is even more than she ever felt from her own mother. As you can imagine, this crushed me. I do not know if her mother has passed or if sweet little Precious Z was abandoned. But I know this. My love for her blesses her life and encourages her in ways that I never would have fathomed. And she knows the Holy Spirit in my heart is where my capacity for love comes from.

God bless sweet Spunky P. She is an amazingly strong girl with gusto and spunk. She packs a lot of power in her small package. And she is not afraid to gush about her feelings and wear her heart exposed. What a gift she is to my soul.

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