There are some kids in Liberia that stick out to me. Most of the time, it’s the cute and cuddly ones, the trouble makers, the outgoing or funny ones, the ones who are always sick or maybe we shared a meaningful experience together. And then there are the other ones that stand out--the kids that are on the fringe. The problem is that when you’re one of 30+ kids you don’t always get the one-on-one attention that you need. It’s not so bad at first--you don’t do your chores or you stay out late. But then things change--you stay out all night, you refuse to go to school and you even run away.
The kids on the fringe are typically quiet and if given the choice, they don’t want to participate in things. They pop in and out, and some days you never see them. Usually it makes perfect sense to me why a kid is on the fringe--they’re behind in school, they can’t read, they feel like an outcast, or they are made to feel stupid. They’re getting older and becoming teenagers. They test the boundaries. They don’t want to go to school and they’re for sure too cool for our study class time. They want to find friends outside the orphanage, and really they are just going through that teenager stage. It’s funny, kids in Liberia have that awkward, rebellious stage too!
Ever since I first went to Liberia in 2007, the fringe kids tugged at my heart. I think it’s mostly because I felt like I could relate to them. But, I also want them to know that they are loved and that it matters if they are there or not. I make a special effort to acknowledge the fringe kids whenever I visit their orphanage. I want them to know that I realize when they are there. They matter and they are a part of the family.
Please join me in praying for a few kids who are on the fringe. Pray specifically for Patricia, Moses and Robert Lee. But there are other kids on the fringe too. They need to know that they are loved--not just by their caretakers or the ORR team, but more importantly, that God created them just the way they are and that He loves them. Pray for hope--there is hope! Pray for motivation when it comes to school, studying, chores, and that they would realize that the younger kids look up to them. Pray that they would know that they belong. You can pray for the kids who have given up, run away, started hanging out with the wrong crowd, gotten involved in alcohol or drugs...pray for safety, protection and for a change of heart. Pray that God would grab hold of them and that they would know that He loves them like crazy. Pray for us, that we would be able to recognize more kids on the fringe and that we would be able to love on them, and that they would experience His peace, love, joy and hope.