“What can I do,” I asked. The building supervisor placed a bowl of rice and chicken in my hand and said, “Follow me.”
Off a side room of Building Number 5 was Shantoy…severely disabled, about 19 years old, attached to a catheter, and unable to speak or feed herself. “Feed her, and give her this bottle.” Shantoy was propped on a pillow lying against a bed rail. The worker walked away.
“How are you? My name is Maury. I’m here to have lunch with you today, but I bet you are thirsty first.” I gave her a drink of water from the baby bottle. The hole in the bottle was large, and she choked on the first swallow. “I’m so sorry! I’ll do better next time, Shantoy.” After every two bites, she drank her water until finally we were on the last bite of rice and chicken.
All week I had been preparing for a talk I was going to do at my church (they call it preaching). I had decided that this year I would dedicate myself to a study of what it means to be created in the image of God. I realized in this moment that both Shantoy and I were equally created in the image of God. She with her ability to groan with pleasure after each bite and me with my ability to place a spoonful of food in her mouth.
I started singing to her and noticed that every time the word “hallelujah’ was sung she made a sound that was similar.
After the song, I said, “I can’t wait till we get to Heaven so we can talk…” Then I caught myself….”no, we are talking now, and connecting deeply.” So I just launched into a long paragraph about my family and me. Her eye’s connected with mine.
About an hour passed, “Shantoy, I have really enjoyed getting to know you. Next time I’m here could we visit again?” She made a sound and I touched her face with my palm.
As I returned to the main courtyard of Westhaven Children’s Home, other Mission Discovery team members emerged as well, finishing their own “Shantoy moments” with other residents. Inside the bus returning to Montego Bay there was nothing but silence. A stunning day of ‘God moments’ had paralyzed speech and activity.
God says we are His workmanship created in Christ Jesus…. The heart of the word “workmanship’ is an artist’s canvas. That day in Jamaica, our Savior painted an image of beauty…a picture of value, importance, and connection. It was a portrait of Himself in the hands and feet of our team and the eyes of every Shantoy we met.
Thank you for your prayer and financial support, which allows us to be the hands and feet of Jesus!