simply Moses.

Sunday the fifteenth of July I was originally supposed to go up the mountainside to Santo Domingo, an outdoor worship service that I love, but I ended up having a free-ish night. I wanted to go to the men’s home half the team would be visiting that night, but I also wasn’t feeling highly motivated to get out of the coffee shop I was residing in and actually go. Low and behold, one of the interns needed some help so I scooted out of the coffee shop, into a taxi and back to the foundation. Motivation. By the time I got there dinner was wrapping up and it was about time to head out. I was still in a strappy tank top, trying to show off a tattoo, so I wrapped myself up in my prayer blanket [which doubles as a towel, scarf, head wrap, pillow, etc, etc.], plopped my backpack down and we headed out. I’ve been to this foundation before, about a week in on this trip. It’s a home for men who are leaving drug addiction. It’s nestled a few blocks up from the foundation I work in, has the most lovely view from the terrace and is filled with lovely testimonies. The first time I went was the first time I got to sing worship over people again in Medellin so I already had a heart tie here, boy I did not know what was coming. Everyone sat down, mostly across from the men we were here to serve. I opted to stand along the wall near a friend. If you know Latino culture at all, you,, understand it was a bit of a struggle to convince the men that I was happy standing, and I rejected like ten chairs. The chair I rejected next to me was quickly filled by small, very quiet, mostly still body. He looked very young, in drug addiction that’s normal, to appear much younger than you are, so I assumed he was mid twenties, although my brain thought about fourteen. Plus, it’s a “men’s” home, so I figured you’d have to have a couple more “man” years on your life to live there. That small bodied boy next to me sat like a crumpled up human in the chair beside me. I asked if he was tired, “tienes sueño?”“no.”He shook his head and watched the one really bright star above us. Everyone was settling in and we had yet to begin, but this human had grasped me entire attention. All of my being was focused on him, something in my heart was attached to his existence. And before my brain knew what my hand was doing my fingernails were tracing his spine. Oops. I remember my hand almost stuttering as my brain caught up, and I decided I should probably ask permission, although it hadn’t occurred to me that he hadn’t even reacted. So I asked if I could scratch his back and he nodded. Within two minutes my crumpled friend had stretched his back to give me full range across his shoulder blades and had tucked his head into his lap, crying. Usually I take crying as a sign of “yeah I’m supposed to do this”. So for the entire hour of testimonies the team was giving, I stood scratching his spine and singing over him. He laid his head on my thigh, and I prayed with all of me that my presence was bringing him rest, comfort, ease. I tried to keep it in Spanish but the only song my mouth wanted to sing was the River Lullaby from Prince of Egypt: hush now my baby, be still love don’t cry, sleep as you’re rocked the stream sleep and remember my last lullaby so I’ll be with you when you dream river oh river flow gently for me such precious cargo you bare do youknow somewhere where he can be free river deliver him there During ministry team I found out that he was sixteen. His name is Camilo and it was his second day in this home. After giving him a word I got for him I asked if I could hug him. He nodded quietly, enough that if my eyes hadn’t been watching him I’d have missed it. I pulled a chair up next to him and held him as his body sunk into mine. We cried together, wrapped and entangled. I sang over him and traced his spine again. I wrapped my fingers into his curls and let him cry onto my shoulder. I don’t know why we felt so tied together, but I still feel him tied around my heart. I know what it feels like to feel love pouring out of me, but this was new. I’ve never been a mother so I can’t truly attest to it, but I swear the love pouring out of me and spilling on Camilo was the love of a mother. My heart was so shattered but so encouraged by sweet boy’s life. I told him God was giving him a new name, and I don’t think by any means it was a name for him to change to, but when I think of him he is now Moses Camilo in my brain and heart. Leaving him was terrible, but I wrapped him up in my prayer blanket, left a kiss on him forehead and said too many times how precious and purposeful and loved he is. And that might be my favorite thing that’s passed in my time in Medellín.

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