Hermana, I have never had a birthday like this before." He told me as we sat on the bus heading back towards the canal he calls home.
Earlier in the day we had called him out from under the bridge and he had jumped out with a giant smile on his face.
"Feliz cumpleaños!!" We had shouted and gave him a huge hug.
We walked several blocks to find a place that served chicken and ended up at Burger King where we placed a paper crown on his head. He wore that crown for the next few hours as we bought him his birthday present. A pair of red nikes.
A pair of tennis shoes, a birthday lunch, hugs, a paper crown... it doesn't take much to share love.
As he soaked in what it felt like to be loved and seen on his birthday, I reminded him that God loves us and surprises us in special ways. He sees us.
"Hermana, when I wear my red nikes, I am going to make better choices." He told me that day. Those red nikes have been worn every single day since his birthday. Yesterday, one of the older boys told me that the birthday boy has been keeping his word and hasn't been consuming as much. It blows me away.
A pair of red nikes can't bring change... but Jesus definitely works in this way. He loves using small things to surprise us and show us His love. 5 fish and 2 loaves. A poor widow with two small coins. And Jesus used a pair of red nikes to show this young kid that he is loved, valued and precious! I absolutely love that!
Thank you to everyone who supports Anchor of Hope for making moments like this possible. Thank you for your prayers and encouragement and support. It's God who is moving and loving and we are blessed to be a part of it. So thank you for making birthday crowns and red shoes and giant smiles possible.