Thirty nervous young boys stood before us, in awkward silence; we, just as nervous as them- if not more- were unsure of how exactly we should act or carry ourselves in front of them. Seconds go by that seem more like minutes. “What are we waiting for”, is what I was thinking and I am sure my friends were thinking the same. Finally a relief in the tension that froze us all in our motionless, emotionless stammer. A young boy carrying a small child entered the room. The child wore a smile that delivered joy into our hearts. My friends and I, not being able to contain the happiness this boy infected us with at a glance upon his innocent face, smiled back, with laughter and immediately the room broke into jovial chortling, becoming a clear expression of everyone’s contentment.
What joy this boy carries. No matter how hard I smiled at him he smiled back even harder. This small boy, physically and mentally disabled, was found abandoned in a shopping mall. I cannot imagine the desperation his mother must have faced that would cause her to desert her defenseless child. Extreme poverty, hunger, sickness, abuse, death. All are realities facing 34% of the Indian population who are bound to living on less than $2 a day. I am sure she faced one or even all of these burdens. Releasing her child to the hand of the world. Hoping for the best, but expecting the worse. Thank God he was found unharmed and brought into the care of dedicated people working for the protection and safety of children like him. In only two months the boys and girls of Asha Deep have taken him in as a brother. They care for him as best they can, a heavy burden to carry that they carry with happiness and humbleness. They love him dearly. I can’t imagine how much, as I love him dearly and have been with him for only two weeks. I took delight in his presence; he filled my days with sunshine, regardless of the gray that covers the skies.
On Tuesday, August 24, India celebrated Rakhi, a holiday honoring the relationship between brothers and sisters. It was so unfortunate that on this day 75 of Joy’s brothers and sisters would have to say goodbye to him as he moved to a new home some 8 hours away. He will receive special medical attention that he could not receive at Asha Deep. We all tried our best to be grateful that Joy has such a great opportunity, but we couldn’t help in our vainness to regret that he would be absent from us from this time forward. But how could we not see this as a miracle? Two Sundays ago Joy was brought to the alter to receive special prayer from the pastor. We all gathered around him, laid hands on him and prayed for his healing. We prayed fervently that he would be restored. This new home may be an answer to our prayers for his healing. We can only hope. And we can only smile as he is leaving with that signature smile on his face.

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