Can You Spare a Pair of Thongs?

Patrick Melson on September 24, 2011

Was there a rap on the house?   Maybe, sometimes people or children are shy and do not want to make much noise, as though somehow they are bothering you.  But still some will come, it does not hurt to ask, the worst that can happen is I may say "No."  There was someone there, it was Lindsey, a girl of about 10 from the village.  "Uncle Pat I regularly go and come to school and I have no shoes and the stones hurt my feet and I came to ask you if you had some thongs you could give me so I could be alright."   What a mouthful!  She had prepared her words carefully and said them all so quickly to make sure she got them all out.  She stood there looking up, imploring, willing me to say "Yes."

Her words were true, she walks about two miles to school with other village kids, she comes from a broken family with little money, and sometimes her needs go unmet.  She looks just like her grandmother Ase, with a pleasant face and a broad contagious smile.  Ase adopted our family as her own, and me as her son, and she often brought food to us, sometimes to sell, and Lindsey was our translator.  When Ase died a few years ago, I told Lindsey and her family to come if she had any needs.  And here she was, like before, requesting little things of little value but our relationship was not a little thing nor was it of little value.

I hoped we had some thongs, with several girls in our family we might have some, I told her I would go ask Kellis...   We did have a pair!  A nice solid made white pair, a kind you can't buy here and would make her seem cool to her friends.  She ran off with a "thank you" and a big smile, the thongs rattling against the rocks.

And smiling, I knew she is more than someone to help, she is my friend, we're family after all, the fruit of years of being a part of a community, the result of hands extending their care across the oceans from churches who still send out missionaries.  She is a wandering child, with little encouragement, yet beloved of the Lord, growing up in a culture that does not value girls, she needs hope, she needs to see herself through Christ's eyes of love, she needs a kind word, a pair of thongs.  Who are your Lindseys?

 A couple days after Lindsey, two other girls came shyly, asking if we had any extra shoes.