Today I got to experience one of my favorite things about Liberia: visiting Beyan.
Most of you, I’m sure, remember Beyan’s story and have heard me talk about him many, many, MANY times. (If not, you can read about him here). I can’t explain what it is, but something about that little boy just makes my heart so happy that I feel like it could burst. His picture remains on my bedroom wall here in Liberia to help me remember why I’m here and why I do what I do.
Last year, there was a fire at the orphanage Beyan was living at. I honestly believe that fire was an act of God because it finally persuaded the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare to shut that particular orphanage down—a decision we had long been advocating for. The truth of the matter was that Beyan and the other kids there had not been getting the care they needed or deserved, and it was clear that the best thing for them would be alternative living arrangements.
So, after the fire, all the kids were placed in various other orphanages and, luckily for me, Beyan’s new home was a mere 15 minute drive from my house. I went and saw him once before I left Liberia in June; at that time, he had been in the new orphanage for only a few weeks, yet he already was starting to look like a different kid. He was clean and obviously well-fed. He was laughing and playing and looked healthier than I had ever seen him. It was hard leaving him, knowing I wouldn’t see him again for several months, but I had to entrust him to God’s loving care.
Today I finally got an opportunity to go to the orphanage and check in on my “son.” The matron of the home sent for Beyan and, a few minutes later, in walks this little boy that is several inches taller than I remember—and quite a few pounds heavier, too! I used to be able to pick him up and put him on my lap without a problem, as he was so skinny and small. But not anymore.
So there’s Beyan, sitting on my lap, talking a mile a minute, telling me all about school, showing me his “toy”(which was really a spool of thread), giggling every time I kissed his cheeks or poked his belly, laughing as I exclaimed (for the tenth time) that I couldn’t believe how big he was getting. And all I kept thinking was, My little boy is growing up! And even though it makes me a little sad, I can’t help but rejoice because it shows me that God truly is taking care of him—and all the other kids here that I wish I could help but can’t. It was yet another reminder that, though I love Beyan more than I can ever articulate, God loves him infinitely more than that. He truly does have “plans to prosper [him]” and “…to give [him] hope and a future” (Jeremiah 29:11).