Our daughter Izayla has gone back and forth about how involved she enjoys being in street ministry. However, lately she is quick to jump into somewhat forceful self-care conversations with neighbors who seem to be making especially poor choices from her perspective, which she can get away with since she is half their height. Her Thai preschool life is helping empower her to talk to neighbors directly now, without needing us to translate. Izayla seems especially distressed by one man in particular, who our team feels consistently led to pray for and believe a breakthrough for. He exemplifies a modern-day image of the demoniac Jesus heals in Mark 5 – he has crazily unkempt hair, is often barely clothed, only eats food off of the sidewalk and is often seen shouting and slapping himself. One of his favorite hangout spots is the stoop of the building we will soon be moving into. Rather than shrinking back, our children seem drawn to him, and we watch with interest as they lead out in a one-way conversation over and over. “Hey, big brother, you shouldn’t eat rice off the ground. It will make your tummy feel sick. Why do you eat rice of the ground? I am afraid you will get sick!” On the walk home from the bus stop from school recently, Izayla took it upon herself to approach every one of close to a dozen people sleeping on the ledge of a canal that cuts through our neighborhood and declare confidently in Thai, “Big brother, you shouldn’t sleep here! It isn’t safe! I am afraid if you sleep here you will fall into the water!” Her genuine care and innocence makes her completely inoffensive and, I believe, sometimes able to speak words of love that grown-ups never could.
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