Thursday, September 2, 2010

retelling stories

Over the past few days, I've retold the same story about Anawim a few different times to a few different people.  It's a story about a 16 year old boy named Francis who lives in the boys' hostel at Anawim.  I've cried every time.

Francis has been living with Sr. Oresoa nearly his entire life. Sister rescued him as an infant; he was a newborn baby starving to death on the floor of a home for the mentally ill. This place really was no home at all. It was a room in a building on a property tucked back far from the main road. A place you wouldn't stumble on by accident -- and there's a reason for that. The mentally ill are kept in shackles, chained up by the dozens, naked, in a room, in a building, on a property tucked back from the main road.

The team visited a few of these sites one morning. I don't know what kind of picture forms in your mind when you think about the five of us going into these rooms to give out rice and soap, but try to picture fear and anxiety, ghastly smells and dingy, dark places. As we pulled up to the third location to give out the last of the rice, Sr. Oresoa turned to Francis and said, "Do you remember this place?" A chill ran down my spine. "Here is where I found you," she said. "Here is where I saved your life."


Francis had been there before. And he wasn't nearly as emotional as we were. Sister told him he would be there again too. She told Francis later that afternoon that she was taking him there so that he would know his story. "You have to know who you are and where you've come from, Francis. Be proud of your story. Be proud of the life God has given you."

It's hard to imagine Francis being proud of his story -- hard for me at least. But you know, all throughout history, time and time again, God chooses to use "unlikely" people to carry out great works. God wants to use us, all of us, to do his work. No mater how unlikely you think you are, God knows your story, and he wants you to be proud of it too. He's crafted your entire life and has chosen to give it to only one person in the whole world, you! The best way to know how God wants to use us in the future is to look at our past. Know your story. Be proud of your story. God wants to use it to do a great work!

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