Hawaiian Shorts and Red Flags

29 Jul

We called him City Slicker at first. Slicker for short. He would come sauntering in with a shock of dark hair swooping down his forehead and across his left eye, his wild Hawaiian shorts always pulled high over a tank top. When he spoke, I thought the voice was coming from a man across the room, not his four year old frame. It was two octaves lower than a normal kid’s with a few pieces of gravel mixed in. He lives one street over with his grandma, not his parents, and she’s a drunk who doesn’t know how to take care of a child. I don’t know if it’s his unique style of clothing or the fact that they’re jealous of his manly voice or if he maybe wears an invisible sign saying “pick on me”, but every time we turn our back, he’s the one getting bullied.

Little sister and I decided we’re going to show Slicker what love looks like, with extra smiles and bouncing balls in his direction and making sure the big boys stay out of his path. He didn’t always acknowledge us but his little gravelly voice mumbled Khmer words here and there. Last week he was the one who threw a ball at me first. Then I slipped him a few extra crayons during coloring time. And during preschool last Tuesday afternoon, he ambled over out of nowhere and plopped himself in my lap. I sat there with my arms casually draped around him, controlling my too-big joy, afraid he’d leave if he knew this was the highlight of my day.

Because it was the highlight. And after nearly two months of seeing him four times a week, I love that I can pick out the gravel in a crowd of screaming kids. And that he shows up each time our team is around because he knows it’s a safe place. And that he shows off his crafts because he knows we’re proud of him. And that I can walk him home at the end of the day. And most of all I love that he’s getting a chance to hear truth and know Jesus.

Ever since we found out he’s HIV-positive and his mom died after she got it from his father but not before passing it onto her son, he’s been the Hawaiian-flowered red flag in my mind, reminding me that sin never affects just one person.

Whoever receives this child in My Name receives Me.
-Jesus

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6 Responses to “Hawaiian Shorts and Red Flags”

  1. Abby July 29, 2011 at 8:16 am #

    this almost made me cry, ervina. reminds me of a little boy from blossom who is hiv-positive… i wish i could meet this slicker boy. i’m so happy he can hear about Jesus.

  2. brother July 29, 2011 at 10:13 am #

    it was fun talking to you. keep inspiring us!

  3. Chelsea M July 29, 2011 at 11:26 am #

    Oh, thank you for loving the least of these!

  4. Kath Smucker July 29, 2011 at 12:07 pm #

    Oh how I do remember this naughty little boy!!! Bless you for loving like Jesus!!!

  5. clarita July 29, 2011 at 3:51 pm #

    Wow, how touching! You are being the hands and heart of Jesus around the world!

  6. Tanya July 31, 2011 at 2:43 pm #

    Claud and Erv, I just wanted you guys to know that this blog speaks to me every time I read it. It convicts me to love my girls more deeply and show them Jesus more truthfully. You are both in my thoughts often.

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