When we knock on the door they answer with enthusiasm and we shake hands and take off our shoes and set our bags on the couch while we all settle on the woven mat in the middle of the carpet. Their apartment is about as big as ours, ours only looks nicer because it's decorated and theirs is pretty barren. They have the couch, the floor mat, and a tv on a tv stand set up with a dvd player (how is that the TV is ALWAYS first priority?). On the wall are pictures of Jesus. They've told us firmly they are Baptist, but all their religious decor looks Catholic to an American eye. There's a map of the public transport system and a photo of the Chin Baptist congregation at the church they attend.
In what was meant to be the dining room is a small table with two chairs that no one sits at. In the corner are two old Huggies diaper boxes, now filled with hand-me-down toys for the twin two year old girls, Mary and Elizabeth. The kitchen is small and it seems that they're using the dishwasher as a storage facility. The rice maker is always on and the stove usually has some sort of stew or curry that obviously includes parts of the animal I wouldn't be comfortable eating.
Dal Mang and Mung Pi settle on the floor in front of Isaac, who brings a white board and ESL worksheets he makes. They work on grammar and vocab and trying to say the English out loud and with confidence. While they work I attempt to keep Maria and Elizabeth and Judah entertained, which is basically impossible. The girls find Judah alternately intriguing and annoying, and when he walks up to them they push him over or hit him. He, however, thinks the place is fantastic with all that space to practice toddling, and mysterious things like salty plums to find on the floor and eat until Mom spots it (!).
I ache for them, as I have each family that I've worked with when they're new. I think this family in particular catches at my heart right now, when their initially cheerful mother is lying pale and weak in her bed while the girls run around a house and dad struggles to work an intro level job.
But you, God, see the trouble of the afflicted;
you consider their grief and take it in hand.
The victims commit themselves to you;
you are the helper of the fatherless....
17 You, LORD, hear the desire of the afflicted;
you encourage them, and you listen to their cry.