Siblings Joined in Love and CircumstanceRich Stigall
If there are multiple children from a family at a village, it is not shocking to observe sibling rivalry among those kids. Among the children that the local church is caring for in Haiti, there are many sets of siblings that live among many other kids, and sibling rivalry is the same as everywhere else. Siblings are joined in love but also competition and circumstance. Toss in some good natured wrestling and these siblings are actually just as ornery to each other as all sets of brothers and sisters around the world.
At Marmelade, there are two sisters who constantly pester each other, but it is impossible to also not observe that it is done completely in love for one another. They can be found chasing each other around the village in a massive game of tag when one snags another’s barrette, comparing drawings to see who is better, cheating on games to beat the other and getting frustrated when older sister won’t help play with a small folded paper game…therefore inciting the elder to draw with chalk on the younger ones’ head. But as fast as a blink of an eye, they will be unified and defending each other if anyone dares to hurt the other. Giggling, teasing, encouraging, fighting, and sometimes tears show themselves from time to time, but what remains constant is that family is always family, no matter which way you look at it.
Orphan culture is a constant pull to be known, to be found worthy of love and ultimately remembered by others. It is in the toothless grin that is easily recognized as recently losing those teeth. It is in the slow growth over several years of a small friend we ache to grow faster. It is the celebration from seeing the beginning violin player become excellent at playing the violin. It is in acknowledging when an older girl transitions to an older teenager who is embracing her role in leading and caring for the younger girls.
Truly, it can be as simple as remembering a name and face, or as complex as being able to point to a story that happened multiple years ago. It is shared life. It is in the pointing to a time and place that God brought his people together to acknowledge his community is bigger than language and borders. His community was meant to exist together and be unified by Jesus, and in our corner of the world, it looks like finding yourself in the middle of an unexplainable love for children you may only see for a few days a year. It is belonging. Many times from our American perspective, we can take for granted the people around us that can remember what we were like as babies or small children, and the photos that can document that time in our lives.
The reality is that those stories, memories, and photos of witnessing a young one grow over several years are never taken for granted among our young friends in the care of the local church in Marmelade. And those same friends want all who visit to know that they remember, pray, and wait for you to come back as God wills it to happen.
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