This entire week I could not stop saying "precious." Everything our boys(meaning the kids at Zion's Gate) do is precious, from Ronni trying to act out "swag" to Anderson licking our knees under the table to Hector trying to learn the phrase "Ain't nobody got time fo dat!" I literally could not stop saying the word.
If you could see these boys you would understand. Last Wednesday they were all in the bathroom talking, about 7 of them in one shower stall. I was suspicious as to why they were ALL in there, until they came parading out in new, matching soccer jerseys. It was precious.
Honduras vs USA played soccer this week; we threw a party and cooked food and the 30 people on the property crowded together infront of the TV to watch it. Anderson, 8 years old and dubbed our "Honduran Peter Pan" for his tricks and impish nature, surprised us all by passing out plates of food and cups of juice. Instead of head butting me or asking for cookies, he voluntarily shared his popcorn and even sat on my lap. It was precious.
Carlos, who was the first kid to ever stay at Zion's Gate, was also the first to meet us when we arrived in Honduras a while ago. He was pretty aggressive, liked to scare the girls and would punch and hit us "just joking." Every time I see him I say "Me extranaste?" (Did you miss me?) He used to reply with a glare and a harsh "NO!" Carlos still says "no" but now he accompanies it with a massive hug and a sloppy kiss on my cheek, sometimes squeezing my face in his hands with affection. It is precious.
Over and over and over, it is the word "precious" that comes to mind. "Cute" of course, "funny" and "thoughtful" pop up frequently, but "precious" is engrained in my mind.
I thought of a song that my mom taught my siblings and I when we were kids:
Jesus loves the little children,
All the children of the world.
Red and yellow, black and white,
They are precious in His sight,
Jesus loves the children of the world.
Truly these boys are precious to God. Why else are they here at Zion's Gate? Because He cares for them, has a plan for them. Most of the boys were on the streets, begging, stealing, hungry, engaging in drugs and all manner of crude and rough behavior. Now they are in school, are learning English and are drug free. Most of them have truly accepted Christ and want to continue the ministry at Zion's Gate when Tony retires. Roni told me what he used to be like before he came to know Jesus; it was not a pretty past. Now he sings worship songs constantly, he joins us for prayer and told me his dreams of going on the World Race mission trip that Adventures In Missions offers.
Hearing stories of how the boys used to be and seeing where they are now shows me that God cares for them. Matthew 19:14 tells of Jesus and the children:
Jesus said "let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to such as these."
These boys are valued in the eyes of God, for He is the Father to the Fatherless. They are completely and absolutely precious.
"For I know the plans I have for you" declares The Lord, "plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you," declares The Lord.