The Little Girl I Can’t Forget

2006-06-19-082cTwo years ago I walked into a small village north of Arusha, Tanzania with several of my traveling companions.  A large swarm of African children greeted us next to the crumbling church which housed their project. Excitedly, they shared their lives with us and entertained us with programs especially created for our arrival. Smiles were a plenty on the faces of the children who were being served by the Compassion International project. They had a glimmer of hope and were starting to understand just what the word “hope” meant.

It’s easy to be overwhelmed when you are surrounded by such intense poverty.   My eyes scanned the scene before me.  Through the smiling faces of the Compassion Int’l project children,  I noticed one very young girl timidly standing off to the side. She was not a part of the project. Tightly held in her arms was a white plastic doll that was missing most of its body parts. Undoubtedly, this precious child loved this doll very deeply.

Ever so stealthily, she walked towards the crowd. She was a sad, shy little thing, unlike the boisterous, happy children at the project. She could not have been more than 4-5 years old. There was no adult supervising her.  I tried to reach out to her — to hug her in my arms, but she hid behind the leg of a passerby.   Still, her curious eyes would peek from behind that leg to see what all the commotion was about.  She saw me look into her eyes once again, then shyly glanced away.

God has forever stamped her precious face in my mind. I have a feeling she will be forever imprinted on my heart, as well. Her little body was a word picture for Christ in my eyes as she tenderly hugged the broken doll in her hands. How often are we broken and mangled, just like that doll? How often are we overwhelmed by life’s simplest needs, as this little girl obviously was? How often do we walk towards a glimmer of light we see down the road and refuse to allow another to love us? How often does God still embrace us with His strong arms of love even when we are ugly and broken in our sin?

I saw Christ that day, not in myself, nor in my actions, but in the eyes of a dirty, ragged child. Blessed are the poor in spirit, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to them. I have never seen heaven more clearly represented as I did on that day — through the eyes of this one amazingly beautiful child. Thank you, Father, for teaching me.

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One response to this post.

  1. Outstanding post! I’m willing to bet that every one of us who has traveled with Compassion carries at least one such face, at least one such memory, in our hearts. My first was a boy named Melkin; he was not registered in the project and was too old to have any hope of getting in. My heart broke!

    One little girl that I met in October is more fortunate: I brought her packet home for a friend in another state to sponsor. But their name is Legion, is it not?

    I’m so glad you’ve joined the Compassion bloggers! Thanks for sending me your link, and thanks for your compliment. Like Arnold, “I’ll be back!”

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