Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Ghana: Getting in the Boat

When we left the island on Saturday, we were hopeful that when we returned on Monday one of the masters would be true to his word and release two of the children we had met. It is not uncommon to return for the children to find they have "disappeared" and been relocated to a different island.

The boat floated towards the shore where we had arranged to pick up the boy and girl. A man and woman were working nets in a boat, but the children were not there. For a moment, we all wondered if our fears had come true and once again we would head back empty handed. Then, down the path we see the master and the children approaching. Inside the boat we waited. We who know that inside the boat is freedom and hope for a future. Outside the boat they waited… not knowing for sure that inside this boat was any different from any other.


They have known enslavement. Now they have been emancipated.

Treated as slaves. Now they are the saved. 

They did not choose but they have been chosen.

Haven’t I also been chosen by One who saves? Waiting, I wonder… how could I not see that my heart is enslaved? There places where I still stand outside the boat of freedom waiting. Could it be that those kids are freer than I am? Maybe today is emancipation day for me and them.

Meanwhile, information was provided by the master – names, ages, where the kids were from, how much he paid for them, parent’s names – as much as could be remembered.

Then he handed over one shopping bag containing all the possessions of both. It seemed like so little to call your own even for just 7 or 9 years.

 When you are about to start a new life, a better life, why would you want to bring along burdens from the past anyway? 

But we do. Often, we drag our slave chains into the boat of freedom with us and then wonder why the boat seems to be sinking. 

The young boy climbed into the boat, quiet but seemingly calm just the way he was the day we met him working. The girl was lifted up and placed in waiting arms, tears streaming down her face. Many of us have been saved because someone else was willing to lift us up as well. Was she scared? Overwhelmed? Relieved? When was the last time she was held and her tears wiped away?

Small successes in a sea of slavery, but the angels rejoice over just one saved and here were two rescued. Yet, we weren’t leaving without trying again to rescue the boy who stood out

The team went ashore, while I and another stayed behind on the boat with the children. While the others were once again touching and hugging as many kids as possible, I held onto her. I sang over her. I felt her body surrender to love and admit how weary it was.

Both of us, former slaves, quietly embracing salvation together. 

It seemed quite some time passed before the team returned. Despite the entourage of children following them, the boy was not with them. This day would not bring freedom to him. 

Leaving him hurt. Leaving him leaves a hole in me. Leaving him behind forces me to fight for freedom. His face my reminder that every child rescued is him. When the call comes that he has been lifted inside the boat, we the saved, will celebrate.  

Sometimes stories don’t have the ending we hoped for but the ending we need.

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