Sunday, 17 February 2008

Parenting a teenager

Over the last few weeks we have been blessed to have a young girl visit us. We saw her 3 years ago when her mother died and she and her brothers spent the first few nights of their orphanhood with us. We thought we would never see her again after her uncle called her to move back to the village in UP with him.

But Hira (thats what we will call her) got sick there and so has come back to live with her brothers - two brave young lads who are living out their lives in very difficult circumstances. Well into her teens - this slight girl looks like she is only 12 or so.

Hira and her brothers are attend a fellow house fellowship group of ours here in Thane - and we have been thrilled to see some spiritual growth.

At the same time, Hira still needs a mother. Sheba asked her to start coming to stay overnight on Friday nights. By God's grace she comes - but remains painfully silent for most of the time. We try to just be as normal as we can with her. Building trust and comfort take time.

This weekend, a small break through. Hira started telling Sheba about the circumstances of her father's death. She was a favorite of his and used to eat off his plate. He was working at a local factory and earning well. Then labour unrest threatened to shut it. He had argued with his coworkers that they should not strike. They laughed at him and went ahead saying that they could all look after themselves. The company shut down. The friends turned to alcohol. Hira's father did too. Most of them died. Hira's dad included.

When we first met her mother she was hunched over in a dark room. A pathetic, blind little bundle of humanity. She had been shunned because she - like her late husband - was also HIV positive. It took us time, but we were able to spend some deeply moving months with the family before the mother died. Our fellowship was involved in praying and in helping out with money for her medications. Hira's mother left this world to be welcomed by Jesus - we believe his face will be the first she sees with her new eyes.

For those who are left behind - at this point - there is both sorrow and hope. We believe the sorrows have made little Hira almost mute. She hardly talks and interacts - her solemn little frame a sleight reminder of the past. But we also believe that God is going to give her a voice and a future. Sheba and I are woefully inadequate to be able to see this change happen - but we want to do what we can to facilitate this. Your prayers are coveted for Hira - and us as we seek to help out in her parenting. We can only rest in the arms of our heavenly Father.

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