Wednesday, September 19, 2007

I hate saying goodbye . . .

I remember the night I met him ~ I was having dinner with friends and the chefes (youth who help in the dorms) to appreciate their work when one of the members of our street ministry team walked in with a litle boy with a huge belly. (I would later discover his huge smile as well!)He looked to be about six years old. His name was Albano Paulo. They explained that the police had found him but hadn't been able to find his family and would we take him in to our center? Of course, we would! That was almost three years ago.

Several times we tried to find Albano's home and family, always coming to dead ends. He seemed to have lots of information but we never found anyone. He told us last week that he had lied to us in the past but now he was ready to tell us truly where his family was. He's been in a lot of trouble in the last month, stealing excessively and lying even when caught red-handed, and he said it was so we would want to take him home. That doesn't completely make sense because we wanted to find his family. Also, there may be some truth to it but Albano has had a serious history of stealing and I think he was coming up with an excuse for this latest round.

Regardless, the home visit staff decided to take him last week and see if he could indeed show him where he lived. AND HE DID! He directed them right to the house and walked right in. There was much celebrating by family and neighbors, all of whom thought he had died. So sad. So Albano stayed through the weekend and came home Sunday night. It was arranged that he would go home every weekend and would move home in November when school is over.

Sadly, that wasn't enough for Albano. Yesterday, he decided to steal a pastor's camera as well as our head administrators two flash drives, containing financial information of the ministry amongst other things. Praise God, he was caught trying to sell the items in front of the center so they were recovered.
The director of the children's center, Felipe, decided that Albano needed to go home today rather than wait til the end of school because he is quite likely to continue trying to steal things before he leaves. Which means he won't finish school and will likely have to repeat next year when he only had one month to go. It also means we weren't able to properly celebrate with him before he left but we did send him off with prayers and lots of hugs this morning at breakfast. He's in the orange/white jumper.

We are full of joy and praise to God that Albano has been reunited with his family but our celebration is definitely dampened by the circumstances he's left under. My Educators (Tias) are very concerned that he will steal in his community which may have much more severe consequences for him.

Please pray that Albano will be welcomed smoothly back into his family and that the stronghold of stealing will be broken off of him. I spoke to him and prayed for him that he wouldn't "leave Jesus here at the center" but rather would take Him with him in his life, back to his family and community. Please pray that Albano will truly learn to surrender his heart and life to the Lord Jesus and walk with him all the days of his life!

Here's Albano with his favorite friend, Feliciano. F will sure miss Albano's tender loving care!

I'll miss my little darling Albano too ~ I really hate saying goodbye . . .

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