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Yolani’s Little Step

By Robyn Bush

Yolani is a precious girl around the age of 12 who never spoke.

We were told she was mute, but we weren’t sure if that was a medical diagnosis or strictly based upon the fact that she hadn’t spoken since her arrival at the hogar (an adolescent girls’ home in San Pedro Sula, Honduras). She usually would be sitting all by herself and wouldn’t move unless someone came and led her to the next place she needed to go.

Yolani always had a timid smile on her face and usually she spent most of her time looking at the ground. As the women on our team began to love and engage her, we found that she wouldn’t do anything on her own initiative. It was as if she had simply given up on life and retreated within herself.

There didn’t seem to be any kind of “special needs” issue that would have been affecting her ability. Yolani’s mental capability seemed to be intact, but whatever trauma she had experienced clearly prevented her from engaging life in any way. If she was going to paint, we would pick up her hand and start her painting. If she was going to move to the next group, one of us would take her arm and walk her there. If we wanted her to sit in a certain place, we would take her gently by the arm and move her to the seat.

During our “You Are Special” carnival that our group held for the children, different people were taking her around to the different booths and literally showing her how to do the various carnival activities. Yolani would still not engage on her own.

As the carnival concluded, we shared with the girls how special they are and how much God loves them and that we do too. Then each girl’s name was called out and they would individually come up in front of everyone to receive their gift along with a hug from a Red Dot team member.

I started thinking about how we were going to need to handle giving Yolani a gift, since she wouldn’t be walking up to receive it. Just as I had that thought her name was called out. To my surprise, she popped up all on her own, walked up to the front of the group and got her gift and hug. Tears immediately filled my eyes as I saw this little girl who, for a moment, found the will to come out of her shell to walk up by all by herself to receive a hug and gift from our team.

I hope and pray that in that moment all that we had talked about during the week: that God knows her and created her, that she is precious to Him, that He knows all that has happened to her, and that He is a God who can redeem the darkest pain and shame, became real to her and that these truths will anchor deeply in Yolani's soul so that she will dare to walk into the life God has given her. It was such a blessing that for a brief moment we got to watch God crack a little of that door open for her.

Robyn Bush traveled on a Buckner mission trip to San Pedro Sula, Honduras with a team of Red Dot employees in August. Tod, her husband, is the executive director of Red Dot 100X, a humanitarian outreach program established by Red Dot Building Systems in Athens, Texas.

Buckner is now accepting story submissions for Buckner eNews Now and the Buckner Web site from people who have participated on mission trips or local volunteering.

Send your story in a Microsoft Word document to news@buckner.org. Include your name, city and state in the subject line along with the title of your submissions. Stories should be no longer than 1200 words. (ex. Your Perspective – John Doe, Houston, TX)

Send any photos as jpegs. We can accept anything up to 10 MB in one email.

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