I’m 27 and you are 9.
I’m from Latvia and you’re from Tanzania. You and I are from different worlds, with different colors of skin. Soon it will be 5 years from the moment we met in your little house made of stones. After all this time, I can say this: even if nothing else happened in Africa except for meeting you—it would have been worth it.
To see you growing up, to see how you are doing in school, how you are speaking English—this just thrills me every single time. Over our 5 years of friendship, I’m still in awe of how we met, your smile, the scars on your arms from the kerosene that was poured on you and lit, the scar in your eye from being punctured by a knife... I admire how after everything you went through at your young age, you continue to laugh loudly and sing about how Jesus loves you. Because it was HE who connected us! Jesus loves you and He loves me so much that He allowed me to meet you, my little princess and my little warrior. We’ve already been through so much together… together we chose your first school uniform, bought your first backpack. Holding your hand, I walked you to first grade and to school field trips. We laughed a lot, laying on the mattress in my room. You loved brushing my hair and always asked for me to turn on a song on my phone, the one where a little childs’ voice sings about how Jesus loves.
We also cried together, getting on our knees and asking Jesus to help us overcome extremely difficult circumstances. And He helped us. I will never forget your eyes when you asked me not to leave you, and I won’t leave you. Rebecca, in your honor, I want to one day name my own daughter (by blood) after you. You inspire me to never give up. When it was extremely difficult for me, I remembered your eyes and heard your voice and I understood that I cannot give up because there are people such as you holding onto me… and that’s reason enough to keep going.
I enjoy this time, but I often think about when you grow up. How I dream to sit with you in a café and just listen to you! To find out what you remember from your childhood and what was important to you. Sometimes, I think about the day I’ll be at your wedding🏻 - 2 days ago