The Maxfields

The Maxfields

Monday, November 3, 2014

A Day on the Rez

We made another trip over to the Rez today.  Even though it makes for a long day -- get up early, drive over, go to church, stay for lunch and play with the kids, look at a couple of houses, then drive back -- we always love the trip.  Seeing the staff, catching up a bit and then spending some with the kids helps to reconfirm why we are doing this.

Two highlights of the day.

The first was seeing Octavia (named changed of this precious little girl).  I often refer to Octavia as appearing shell shocked.  Whether she has fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS), is a crack baby, has other mental and emotional issues, or has any combination of those is not really in doubt. She is a handful to say the least. In the past, it has taken one person specifically assigned to Octavia to keep her focused and without creating chaos around her.

But as the kids were lining up to go into church this morning, I look over and all by herself Octavia is picking up pens and crayons and putting them in their containers. Then she was stacking up the containers to get things organized. I was amazed. In the last few months she has started to settle down, learn to control herself and is now even making a positive contribution. She's able to sit through church too and seems to be able to listen to the service and participate. Very cool to see how the time spent with her is having an impact on her life.

Me and Daylene on the teeter-totter
The other highlight was the little cutie, Daylene. I was able to spend some time with her a few weeks ago -- putting together a puzzle and then pushing her on the swing for what seemed like 30 minutes. Today she came in and sat down by me. I didn't recognize her until later, but when she first sat down she was her normal, quiet, shy self. She wouldn't talk to me until I commented about her temporary tattoos on her arms and then she wanted to show them to me. After church it was a bit of a struggle to get her to eat lunch; she really wanted to go play on the playground.

Once we got on the playground she wanted to swing on the tire swing, super fast, in her words. She wanted to slide down the slide, play on the teeter totter (see the picture), and pet the dog (Cooper). She asked me if I knew her brother and talked about what a nice dog Cooper was and told me about her dog. I found out later that she is known for not talking to anyone. Even her older sister talks about her not talking to people.

These kids struggle.  Their home life is a mess. It shows itself in many ways.  Like Octavia, they might be out of control, unable to focus and acting out.  Or they may be like Daylene, who doesn't talk to anyone and is a bit difficult to manage.

To be able to spend time with them, give them fun experiences where they can get away from the issues in their life and be around people that love and care for them is very special.  It can be easy to focus on that and say, "Look at all the good we are doing!"  There is good being done and the love of Christ is being extended to "the least of these."

But it can't stop there. Showing mercy without sharing the Good News of the resurrection of Christ does nothing eternally. It's like giving a band-aid to someone with cancer. Those of us in Christ are called to help alleviate suffering in this world.

"Is not this the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the straps of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke?  Is it not to share your bread with the hungry and bring the homeless poor into your house; when you see the naked, to cover him, and not to hide yourself from your own flesh?" Isaiah 58:6, 7

Christ is the way, the truth, and the life. True suffering, suffering beyond just physical, mental and emotional suffering, can only be alleviated in Christ.  Suffering of the soul is alleviated by the true Shepherd.

"The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name's sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You set a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever."  Psalm 23

1 comment:

  1. I am trying this one more time. My heart hurts for these little ones. Thank you for answering the call from Jesus to minister to these little ones. I am thankful to be one of your supporters.