I recently completed the mammoth task of cleaning my lined cupboard, and discovered a bag of hidden treasures. All my teenage ‘writings.’
I wanted to share this piece with you, that was written after a mission trip to East Timore, one to two years after they gain their independence from Indonesia. We were going to look after the school, whilst the teachers receive valuable teaching education.
I have left this piece as I wrote it then, for the sake of authenticity. But please realise this was written by an innocent seventeen year old, with no real knowledge of how the world worked, and the belief that every one could be classified in little white boxes. That every problem was the result of an absent father or a disconnected mother.
Obviously I’ve grown up and realise that life is not that simple. But having said that, I believe the answer is still the same. Regardless of anything, the answer is still the same…
On the 5th of January, 2001, I was a member of a Team from Darwin , who was going to Dili to work with some children from a school there. The experience, to say the least, was life changing. Apart from working with the children, I was given the opportunity to make friends with people from all over the world, who were staying at the YWAM/JOCUM base there.
And whilst the lives of all those there touched me immensely, I was particularly inspired by a team from Brazil, completing four months of outreach for their DTS (Discipleship Training Course- course run by Youth With A Mission.) Needless to say, I jumped at the opportunity to visit another school in the same district, on the morning of the Monday I was to leave (to go home.)
It was whilst sitting in the ‘staff room’ of the school that I first noticed the ‘writing on the door.’ We were waiting for Carlos and Gisele to put on their clown makeup, and being unable to speak Portuguese (although I did pick up a few words), I quickly tuned out the conversation. I looked towards the door, and saw there, scrawled in a black permanent marker, ‘ I hope mister understud my home is brokin.’
In a country torn apart by war and the desperate cry for freedom, it is not hard to see that the house of this child might indeed, be broken. However in reading that solitary sentence, I could hear the cries of thousands of children worldwide.
‘I hope mister understud my home is brokin.’
Is not the phrase innocently graffitied on the school house door, the same cry of the seventeen year old drug addict, lying in the gutter?
Is it not the voice of the anorexic prostitute, exiting the car of the man, who has so much money he doesn’t know what’s do with it?
Is it not written in the suicide letters of beautiful people, with a wealth of potential?
‘I hope Mister understud my home is brokin.’
The first single from Nine Days started with a catchy tune, and an innocent phrase.
Who cried a river and drowned the whole world.
And whilst she looks so sad in photograph,
I absolutely love her,
When she smiles.”
The song goes on to tell the story of how the girl was continually let down- how words had become more important than actions.
The phrase ‘do as I say, not as I do,’ doesn’t cut it anymore, if it ever did. The world is looking to see an answer, not hear one.
So what do we do? How do we mend the broken hearts and homes?
Is it enough to reach down and empty the gutters, but fill the streets? Are rehab clinics the answer?
How many people can orphanages and foster homes take?
And then with eighteenth birthdays, do we turf young adults back on the street, only to receive a letter, or a phone calls, or a funeral notice?
For what hope is there for the seventeen year of student, completing school? He must endure three or more years of university to get a degree, and then a career. To struggle to stay ahead for the duration of his life, until he is lowered into a hole the ground pointless years later?
There is only one possible solution to this endless cycle. There is only one healer of the broken hearts and broken homes. There has only ever been one hand that reached down to the gutter of humanity, and with a touch so gentle, and yet so strong, pulled mankind out of the pit.
There has only ever been one man who would look the worst sinner in the eye and say, ‘I love you.’
Until the truth of who Jesus Christ is has reached the hearts of the fatherless, the ears of the death, and the eyes of the blind, there will be many more school office doors graffitied in permanent, black marker.
Until we can grasp the life of God, and pass it on to those who need it, we will not learn to live.
Until the message of hope that comes from the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ is received, there will always be another ‘story of a girl.’
When the Timorese child wrote on the wooden door of that school located near Dili airport, he was excusing an action he had committed.
But he was also desperately crying out to someone of whom perhaps he thought he could put his trust in.
Let us then recognise the cries of help from the broken children around us, and show them the answer they need.
‘I hope mister understud my home is brokin.’
I hope you do too.
17th January, 2001
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