The following is a story of hope and friendship from a Kids Hope USA mentor located in Texas:
“I can’t imagine why God continues to amaze me but He does! When He decides to move mountains, it just happens! The first mountain was me even mentoring this year. I did everything I could to talk myself out of it and yet, there I was, saying “yes.” When you and I talked about who I might have this year, I knew Andrew was the right one immediately.
When I went today, Ms. Smith and I had a minute to discuss Andrew. She explained that she had Andrew in 3rd grade last year and now again in 4th grade. Andrew does NOT talk, ever, even though he is very capable of speech. If you ask him a question, he does not even say yes or no, he just shrugs. He also does not smile, EVER! So Ms. Smith and I agreed that was quite a challenge and whoever was able to get him to smile first would win a chocolate. She also gave me a journal that he and his mentor used last year as a means of communicating. They would write in the journal instead of talking. So as I gathered up Andrew, I just thought, Oh Lord, You have really given me a difficult one this year. I thought Ishmael was difficult last year because he was just so full of himself. Now I have just the opposite and what in the world am I going to do with this one. But the minute I laid eyes on that kid, I knew I loved him!
We went to the cafeteria and I just started talking – one of those, “I will tell you something about me and you tell me something about you. ” Andrew started opening up even though he spoke so quietly that I could hardly hear him. I explained that I had these “old ears” and didn’t hear all that well so could he speak up – and he did. I had laid his journal between us on the table. As we talked, he very gently just slid that journal to the far end of the table. I don’t think we will be journaling this year. I think we are going to be talking – and hopefully smiling.
As we were going back to his room, he asked what I had done this summer. (Not only was he talking but he was asking questions!) I told him I had gone to Minnesota to visit friends and I had spent time with my granddaughters who were home from school. I came so close to missing a wonderful opportunity. Almost as an afterthought, I asked him what he had done this summer. He said not really anything. But, “I did go see my mom?” That took me by surprise so I asked where his mom was. He said he went to Houston to see his mom in prison. I had not a clue and I was just astonished that he opened up to me and shared that. I knew we were going to be a few minutes late getting him back to class but I just had to talk to him for that few minutes. I was not going to miss that opportunity. I gave him a hug and told him I knew he must be sad and missed his mom. We just talked a few minutes but it is one of those times I will never forget.
I can’t wait to see Andrew next week. He wants strawberry pop tarts for a snack and wants to play checkers. I bet that is just what we will do!!”
Courtesy of a Kids Hope USA Mentor