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A Boy’s Calling to be a Missionary of the Heart

Mother Teresa help person next to you

Dear reader:

Many have read this story about a boy I know who was abused and many have not. It is even more powerful as I go deeper into what the boy sees. I offer it again to encourage anyone who is dealing with abuse experienced or still ongoing, that your life doesn’t end with your abuse. It can be a transforming story as you reach out to others to help you heal from it. Please feel free to share this story with all you feel need to hear a real story of overcoming abuse. Have a light-filled life! – Kevin

If I could just have five minutes of your valuable time, I would like to tell you the story of a boy with dreams as wide as the sea of Galilee. He was going to grow up to serve his Lord, in spite of his challenges. Even though he has a spastic gait from a progressive neurodegenerative disorder, he is determined to make a difference in every life he would touch. As he battles one flu or respiratory bug after the other, he believes that all he is experiencing is for a purpose larger than himself.

The flame of hope for a kinder and more just society burns within him even as a five year-old. His mother realizes that there is a challenging call upon his life. She approaches his teachers to ask that they encourage the development of his beautiful mind. She wants him to know that along with poor eyesight and poor physical coordination, he possesses a fine mind. She arranges for him to read about the lives of others with challenges, like Braille and Keller. He reads about how they helped many people. He reads stories about scientists like Pasteur, who discovered a technique to pasteurize milk. He sees that one person with a determined will can make a difference.

The Lord has his mother see in him what he could not see. His schizophrenic father would belittle him. “You’re clumsy. You’re stupid. You’re brother’s smarter than you’ll ever be. You’re a mama’s boy. You disappoint me. Do you work at being stupid? Why are you so awkward that you can’t tie your own shoes? I wish you had never been born!”

The boy could not understand how his dad could be Dr. Jekyll one moment and Mr. Hyde the next. The wonderful image of his father carrying him piggyback while ice-cream dripped down the boy’s face on to his dad, stands in sharp contrast to the many spankings for no reason. Those haunting hate-filled words from his father’s mouth burn in his memory: “The hand or the book. The hand or the book.”

Tears flow down his face as his father’s destructive, cold and cruel thoughts play over and over in his mind.

As he cries himself to sleep so many lonely nights, something larger than himself says, “Hold on. Don’t give in. Fight. Believe that life can be beautiful. There is a purpose for all you’re going through.”

The abuse remains hidden, controlled and exacting. He uses his vivid imagination to paint a different world, one where he is in control, where he is powerful.

In the cool and refreshing breeze under the willow tree by their home, he closes his eyes and dreams that he is a World War II flying ace. He attacks his father and kills him with a machine gun. Rat a tat tat. Rat a tat tat. Mission successful. That mean and vicious man is dead.

Then, he awakes to know in his sorrowful heart that this is only a dream. This terrifying reality looms over even the joy of splashing in mud puddles.

One day he sees his mother hanging by a belt. She attempts to commit suicide because the mental and physical torture from his father is too much to endure. The five year-old boy screams out, “Mom, please don’t die! Please don’t die!” His father cuts the belt in a lucid moment. The boy’s mother is choking and gasping for her life. But she lives, live more years with the horror and the burning certainty that her husband will beat her again and again. The boy sees how his mother’s feeling of helplessness that she could not escape her abuse, causes her to be blind for several months.

One day he is finding it difficult to have faith to believe. He prays to God to rescue him. God answers, but it takes six long agonizing years before the answer becomes reality. An opportunity comes when the father is busy driving taxi. The boy, his brother and his mother escape their perpetual hell.

As a man of 51, the boy who was abused and ridiculed, goes on to be a missionary in South Korea, social advocate, loving husband, graduate counselling student, writer, journalist, singer, songwriter, professor,  counsellor and a healer of wounded hearts and broken lives. He forgives his father for those seemingly never-ending years of abuse. He takes back the vow he made that he would find a way to kill him. Forgiveness is born in tears of healing as the boy’s stepfather challenges him to forgive and not have his life ruined by the cancer of the abuse. Why did this abused boy go on to serve his Lord?

It was his way of saying thank you to his Lord for answering the prayer of a despairing, helpless five year-old to rescue him from the pain and hopelessness of abuse. He would grow up using this knowledge being a victorious healer of others because of the hope Christ put in his soul.

Did you guess that boy is me?

Thank you, Lord, for my calling to be a missionary of the heart.