We have a new brother in Christ. His name is Viktors.
Each day really has gotten better than the one before. I’d rather it be miserable prior to him leaving. Then maybe it wouldn’t be so hard to put him on that plane.
I asked how he was feeling about returning to Latvia. “Mom, whats feelings?”
I used facial expressions to show him different emotions.
“Ahh. Me sad.”
I was hoping he was going to tell me he was excited. That would surely make it a little easier to send him back. But he is sad. I can relate.
Last week I asked if he would like to take a gift back to the director of his orphanage. He said yes and knew exactly what he wanted to get her. Earrings. Diamond earrings. That wasn’t in the budget but some nice Target earrings were. He didn’t like the Target earrings, but in 30 seconds he picked out a set of beautiful bracelets. I loved watching him shop for his director. You could tell he knew her well and wanted to please her. When we got home he looked through my gifts bags and was very selective in which one would work. It was the one with hearts. Very girly.
Viktors had the little pouting fest over wanting me to buy sunglasses, which I said no to because he has 2 pairs already. A wise friend suggested that maybe he was really wanting them for his brother. So today I said, “Hey would you like to buy your brothers a gift from America.”
He sat straight up in his seat, “Yes!!!”
“What would you like to buy them?”
He hadn’t been pouting because he wanted more sunglasses. He wanted them for his brother. So we spent the morning shopping for his brothers and his best friend. I asked him before we went to the store what he intended to buy. I really wanted to go in with a plan. He didn’t hesitate, “Vadim, goggles. Robert, sweatpants. Alexsys, soccer ball.”
For as long as I live I will never forget the look of satisfaction on his face over his gift purchases. The joy it brought that sweet boy to buy treasured gifts for the people who are most important to him was one of the more heartwarming moments we’ve experienced with him.
We spent the afternoon packing. He has been very anxious about packing. Each item I put in his suitcase he would tell me a name. He has planned out who all he is giving his stuff to. He’s not even planning to keep it all. So many items he would say their name then say, “They will love it this.” I love how his English comes out.
Then he took his book light out of his bag and extended his hand towards me, “This one. You.”
“No, you will love having this in Latvia. Please keep it.”
“No. For you. I love it you.”
Then he took his stuffed tiger out that I gave him. The one that holds his audio bible player. “This one you.”
“No way. I will not keep that. I bought that for you. Please take it.”
“No. Me no Latvia. You have it. I love it you.”
When I come home after leaving him at the airport, I do not want to see that tiger. I will hide it in my closet before he leaves because it will simply make me too sad.
We continued through the evening. Dinner followed by the boys doing dinner clean up and chores. I never asked Viktors to do anything. But he jumped right in with the boys. He took out the trash, wiped the table, swept the floor and without being asked went upstairs and got ready for bed.
Story time before bed is usually me sitting on the floor with Zachary in my lap for one story and Andrew for another. Tonight I sat down on the floor, Zachary sat in my lap, and I began to read. Viktors asked Zachary if he could sit in my lap. Like only Zachary could do, he hopped right up, and said, “Sure you can!” And that big 11-year-old boy sat in my lap. He leaned his body back like a little child and listened to a story he couldn’t understand. While he listened he traced the veins in my hand like he would do in church.
When the story ended, I wanted to give Zachary an extra story since he gave up lap time. I picked up his new Jesus Storybook Bible Grandma gave him for Christmas. Zachary requested I find the story of Jonah, but like always, Viktors wanted his way first and grabbed the Bible. I whispered to Zachary, “I will read Jonah to you. I promise.”
Viktors flipped through the Bible and saw the story of the birth of Jesus. Since he was here for Christmas he has seen a lot of baby Jesus. Everything he has seen of Jesus has been a baby in a manger. I wanted him to know Jesus was more than a baby in a manger. So I flipped a couple of pages forward and showed him Jesus nailed to a cross. I flipped between the 2 pages. “That is Jesus. And that is Jesus.”
He looked at me confused.
“Jesus died on the cross because he loves you.”
Viktors pointed to himself with raised eyebrows. “Me?”
“Yes, you. He loves you.”
“And you? And Zachary. And Jacob. And everybody?” he asked.
“Yes. He loves everybody. And He wants us to live with Him forever in Heaven.”
He smiled a smile that said he understood what I said.
Using translator, I said, “Jesus lived a perfect life and died for our sins.” Translator limits the number of characters so I had to break up what I said to him in segments.
He asked, “Why did they kill him?”
In that moment I didn’t know how to respond. I knew how I would respond if I were speaking to someone who could understand perfect English. But translator is unreliable and doesn’t let you go too deep in conversations. So I looked at the boys and asked them how they would answer that question. They gave very complex and long answers, so I went with my own. It went something like this.
“Do you know what sin is?”
He looked very confused. I remembered him using the phrase “shame on you” and being quite surprised that he knew that phrase and proper context. So Jacob and I acted out a skit of Jacob punching me (I’m dealing with boys here…). I responded “shame on you Jacob”. I then used the “shame on you” to explain sin. We followed that up with explaining that Jesus died to take the punishment for our sin so that we wouldn’t have to. And that because of that when we have a relationship with him, we will get to live with him forever in Heaven.
Viktors never lost interest. He was hanging on every word. So I typed, “Do you want me to tell you how to do that?”
“Yes, Mom!” he said.
So I typed that he could place his faith in Jesus and invite him into his heart. I asked if he wanted to do that.
“Do you want me to pray for you?”
So we prayed. I don’t know how much he understands. I don’t know if this was a true salvation experience. Only the Lord knows that. I will never stop praying for him, I know that.
We were all a bit shocked. Zachary asked, “So he’s a christian now?” To which I said, “Yep.” Later I sat with Jacob and explained that only the Lord knows the heart and level of understanding a person has. Our job is to keep on praying. We will not stop praying for his salvation.