Jiklie is the son of our long-term TB/heart-failure patient Nurida who has been staying at the clinic since February. Jiklie came to join his mother after camp meeting in April. He is about five or six years old. He is dirty most of the time and considers clothing optional. He runs around playing and exploring. He loves to carry his father’s big machete strapped to his waist like the adults do, which looks quite comical on his short frame. He comes into the clinic and asks all sorts of questions and wants to touch everything. Sometimes he interrupts us and is very demanding. “Salt. Salt,” he says, meaning “Please give me salt.” He shouts a lot of his words. He is especially loud when he comes to tell us that his mother is having breathing difficulty or that the batteries on her oxygen concentrator are low.
Jiklie often tries my patience. I frequently have to send him out of the clinic because he is in the way. Sometimes he won’t take a bath, and sometimes he wastes the water.
The other day I was reading Ellen White’s counsel about how important it is to love children, especially the least lovable ones. I thought of Jesus and how He called the little children to Him. I prayed for forgiveness and for God to help me love Jiklie. This helped me see Jiklie with new eyes. He really just wants love and attention. His eyes light up when I talk kindly to him, and he loves to be helpful.
The other day, Carrie and I were weeding our garden. Jiklie came by, saw what we were doing and decided to help us. He started indiscriminately cutting down all the vegetation, so I set him to work chopping at tree stumps that needed to be removed. He did a great job and took out several, even digging and pulling up the roots.
Then he helped me dig cassava. The plant was covered with black ants that hurt when they bite. He jumped right in, digging and pulling up the tubers. The ants bit him, but he brushed them off and kept digging. When I tried to help, he told me to stand back so the ants wouldn’t bite me. I gave him half of the cassava. He later returned with his older sister and a whole bag of corn—a real treat here.
We tell Jiklie’s family scripture stories from Arthur Maxwell’s The Bible Story books. Jiklie will call out excitedly, “Where is God?” He wants to look at the pictures in the book.
Please pray for Jiklie and his family that they will understand who Jesus is and what He has done for them. Someday I want to live in heaven with Jiklie. Maybe we can dig cassava together.