A few weeks ago, we went on a mission trip to inner-city Kansas City. We invited families to a Vacation Bible School in an area so rough, some residents wouldn't walk. But they were willing to ride our bus and they joined us for a week of learning about Jesus.
We came home and things went wrong, as they always do. Our floor had water damage and had to be torn up. Our air conditioner broke. The bridge to our house was washed out. We encountered some very grumpy people.My daughter's birthday is coming up soon. We don't have enough money to buy her much, but she will know she is loved. There is no doubt that she will always have someone to sing Happy Birthday, Dear Honor. I try to teach my children to drop the idea that we deserve anything, but this encounter with Brice highlighted to me just how entitled I still feel. We are all sinners. We deserve death. Because of Christ, we have life.
He took of his baseball cap to wipe sweat from his brow, revealing a bald head contorted with scars. He had no ears. They had been chewed off by a pair of dogs when he was three years old.
I asked him how old he was. He had just turned twenty six the week before. It wasn't a very good birthday though. He didn't have any cake. He was alone.
I invited him to our Friends and Family night, coming up the next night. I mentioned that we were already making cupcakes to get ready for the party. I promised we would sing Happy Birthday to him.
He did show up the next night. I wasn't sure if he would. As he sat in the service, listening to the worship, he told me he'd really never had friends before. I nodded around at the smiling faces and said, "It looks like you have some now." Tears came into his eyes.
I was busy when it came time to go downstairs and eat, so I missed seeing his face. But I heard everyone join in singing Happy Birthday, Dear Brice.
Such a little thing. But it meant so much to him.
He lives in a box. There are shelters in the area, but one is full and he isn't allowed into the other because he got in a fight there once. He's said that he's a Christian now, and I believe him. He has some mental disabilities that make it difficult for him to take care of himself well. He's alone and doesn't have someone to help him figure out applications and deposits and doctor visits.
We were unable to help with any of that. We loaded him up with nonperishable foods, a very temporary help. But somehow, Happy Birthday was able to touch him like nothing else we had to give him.
Love. A kind word. Friends. He was starving for them.