This is Johan….or otherwise known as Johnny. We first met Johnny when we brought a team down from Bethel Stratford over three years ago. Before we knew we would be moving here….this is him three years ago, sporting the crown that he made.
This is a child ..who although he does not see so well, can spot Dale a mile away! He always greets him and myself with a huge hug and a big smile. He has a gentle and quiet personality. Here is Johnny and I. This photo was taken this week, after his mom gifted me with a bag full of mandarin oranges.
The other day we visited his home. We met his mom and both his younger and older brother. They have a cozy little home in the Buena Vista area; not far from the school Johnny attends. The home has a cement floor, but his mom really makes it a home with what they have. They do have a fridge, stove and dining room table and chairs in their kitchen, and a pretty white and pink embroidered curtain between the livingroom area and the outdoors. His mom makes tacos and sells Avon to help support her family. She has an infectious laugh. She became very emotional when we interviewed her about her son Johnny who is soon to have corrective eye surgery. Tears filled her eyes as she told us his story, and how he was only fifteen days old when she noticed there was something not quite right with his eyes.( There will be more to this part of the story in part two….in the next few weeks). But, that is not what I really wanted to talk about today.
Not long after we arrived in the home we learned that three years ago, her husband and father of the children had died; murdered for his motor bike. We were able to catch a glimpse of the man he once was. The older brother brought out one of those wooden photo frames that displays several photos. All of his dad. His dad was really big into moto cross and had even won awards for the sport. He brought out a trophy his dad had won. Then he brought out a photo album full of photos of them as a family, back when his dad was alive. We could see from the photos they were a happy family. Once upon a time.
Those are the kind of moments that get to me. The moments that break my heart. A young man taken far too soon from his family that still love and miss him so much. A family that is proud of the man he once was. A dad and a husband. A man who loved the outdoors and dirt biking. A man who will never see his children grow up. He will never know how his oldest son is struggling and is no longer allowed in school. He will never see his middle child have the eye surgery that before was only a dream. And these are the moments that make me want to cry out to God and ask why? Why do these things have to happen? It doesn’t seem fair. This family needs their dad, They miss him! They feel his absence every day . But he is gone and they are on their own to manage without him. It’s so sad. Heartbreaking. And we see and hear of these stories far too often. It’s sad that this has become the norm in that area. It’s stories like this that make me weep at the injustice of it all.
But you know what? Johnny’s mom is an inspiration. There is a strength inside of her that can only come from God. He is their provider, and they are doing better than merely surviving, even though they may not have a lot in the way of earthly posessions. While memories of her husband make her sad and while she obviously misses him, she has joy and is able to laugh again, despite the hardships her family has faced. And like I said in the beginning ….her laugh is infectious. She laughs a lot. Her life is an example and she truly demonstrates that scripture in the bible about the Lord being our strength.
The Lord is my strength and my shield. I will trust him with all my heart. He helps me, and my heart is filed with joy. I burst out in songs of Thanksgiving. The Lord gives his people strength. He is a safe fortess for his annointed King.
Stay tuned for more about Johnny in the next couple weeks or so…