There is a boy at the children’s home I serve at, KB, who has grown up in the home since he was an infant. He was 1 years old when I arrived at the home in 2005. As he has grown older he has been one of the tougher boys at the home, struggling with anger and also being caught trying to steal things in the neighborhood a number of times. I’ve noticed when KB has had struggles with anger that darkness forms underneath his eyes, like dark circles. But when he is doing well, he looks completely fine.
At our soccer camp in 2015 KB was one of the favorite boys among all of the volunteers. They loved him! During the camp, while surrounded with loving volunteers, he was sweet and obedient. When one of the volunteers started sharing the Gospel with some of the kids he noticed that KB was the most interested and KB asked him more questions afterward. KB expressed he had never felt so much love before. I could see that in that setting of love and safety, the true KB was coming through: a sweet, sensitive boy with a beautiful heart. The volunteers were shocked when I told them that KB has been pretty difficult at the children’s home.
Just a week ago KB graduated from elementary school. I attended his graduation with my wife Sky and noticed that the dark circles were under his eyes. He didn’t look well. I asked him what he wanted for lunch after graduation and he responded, “I don’t want to eat. I don’t want lunch.” I then told him that Sky and I wanted to eat with him he responded, “I want to eat with you JM (and Sky). I’ll only eat lunch with you” and we hugged me. But then to my surprise I found out that his mom had come to his graduation. I had never seen his mom before and didn’t even know he had one (Korean orphanages are more like foster homes for kids, most relatives can’t take care of them because of addiction, prison, poverty, abuse, or other reasons). I then told KB he should go eat with her but he responded, “I only want to eat with you.” I wasn’t sure what to do, but decided to let KB’s dorm dad escort him to his mom and walk out together for lunch. As we drove away I felt I should call and check that KB was okay. I called his dorm dad and his dorm dad said, “JM, can you actually come and meet us and take KB to lunch?” I drove back with Sky and saw KB standing at a distance from his mom with the dark circles under his eyes, not looking well at al. The dorm dad told him he could eat with us and that he would talk to his mom and relative. The moment KB got into our car the dark circles disappeared. The funk that was over him was gone. We started talking to him and he was back to the sweet KB I know. We had a good meal together and then took him back to the children’s home. He gave me a big hug goodbye and thanked us.
A lot of the relatives of the kids at the orphanages aren’t well emotionally, physically, and/or spiritually. There is a reason why their kid is living in the children’s home. So when the kids visit their relatives some of them become more unstable and even angry. They experience all sorts of emotions and struggle a lot. But when the kids are around me or some of our other full time staff who have been serving the kids for 8+ years, the kids are completely relaxed and happy. They know they’re safe. And they reflect the love we give them.
In 1Samuel 16:14-23 King Saul is tormented by an evil spirit. David is brought to him to play an instrument and worship God in his presence. When David would play his instrument King Saul would experience relief from the oppression. Later in 1Samuel 19 King Saul’s condition worsens and he seeks to kill David. While traveling in his murderous rage he comes near prophet Samuel and a group of prophets worshipping and prophesying. In their presence, the Holy Spirit overtakes King Saul and he can’t continue in his mission to kill David. Instead he stops and strips his robes (signifying laying down his identity as king, humbling himself before God) and begins prophesying. In the prophet Samuel’s presence the evil spirit has zero power over Saul, and instead the Holy Spirit takes control.
This is what we want for all of our volunteers and mentors, that they would live lives of worship that release peace and healing to all who are around them, especially the kids we serve. For KB, in the presence of his mom he experienced instant oppression and unhealthy emotions. But in our presence (I’ve known him all his life) he felt complete peace and trust. The shift was startling!
I pray that the anointing over us will increase to the level of prophet Samuel, where kids will begin encountering God tangibly around us. I pray that the deliverance the kids experience around God’s people will be permanent and that there will be more committed people in their lives, loving them and being there for them. May we carry God’s presence and may there be deep healing and deliverance for all those oppressed around us! Our God is greater!