Today was a sad day.
I had coffee with a friend, which was lovely because she is lovely. But they are moving, away from Mae Sot and to other ministries. I am actually quite excited for them and the opportunities ahead. But they were some of our favorites. They loved their neighborhood, too; they inspired us with their language learning. And all three of them are leaving.
And really, there is a relatively small selection of English speakers in Mae Sot. In the grand search for friends, you only have so many that you can communicate well with. And then you have even fewer who are in your age range or the type of person you generally get along with.
That said, we are learning flexibility. We are learning to find friends in unexpected places, different age groups, and in general very different from us. But then when you find someone who is actually quite similar to you and you get along with easily, it’s more hopeful and the friendship comes easier.
But then they move, and it’s sort of a sad day.
And then the kids welcomed us home from church. Everyone played together and sang us songs; they enjoyed some fruit and crackers for a snack. Except Yuh Meh Oo; she sat to the side and didn’t participate. She wouldn’t even sit near me, which is particularly odd; she loves sitting on laps and having an arm around her.
At first I thought she was feeling sick to her stomach, so I asked Chit Ne Oo, who speaks a fair amount of English. Chit Ne Oo asked her and replied to me that no, she didn’t feel sick. She was sad.
The kids then talked among themselves and explained: Yuh Meh Oo mother go. Yuh Meh Oo father drink.
I knew this; it was not new information. She lives with a step-mother or caretaker of some kind; and every encounter I’ve had with her father I find absolutely terrifying.
But to hear the kids say it; to see the sadness on her face.
It was a very sad day.
Some of the kids stayed at our house quite late, and as I looked around I realized it was all the children without parents of their own. They live with caretakers or just on their own; and thus, no one demands them home at a reasonable hour. So four girls and two boys play late into the evening at our house and care for each other.
Eventually we came inside, and I simply wept: because I can’t help Yuh Meh Oo, but I love her; because it seems all the friends I can communicate with always seem to move away. And because I can’t communicate with these friends, to whom I have so much to say and I ache for it in a very real, tangible way. Why doesn’t God answer our prayers for language? I ask this oh-so-often. How will they know that He loves them? That we are here sharing badminton and playing with dolls and sharing crackers because He loves them?
“Therefore they are before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple; and he who sits on the throne will shelter them with his presence. They shall hunger no more, neither thirst anymore; the sun shall not strike them, nor any scorching heat. For the Lamb in the midst of the throne will be their shepherd, and he will guide them to springs of living water, and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”