As I am attempting to process everything I experienced over the past three months, my thoughts consistently go in the same direction. My life was changed in so many ways, and I experienced so much love. I carry so much of Africa in my heart, and I will never be the same. One of the most powerful things I experienced during my time there was my friendship with sweet Denesio. I met Denesio one afternoon as I was standing beside a truck eating my beans and rice- you know, the daily routine. As I was eating, Denesio walked up with a group of friends, took my spoon and began feeding me. It happened so fast, I didn’t even realize what he was doing until he stuck a large spoonful of beans in my mouth. I knew, instantly, that this kid had to be my friend. For all of you that know me, you know that is just like something I would do. I loved him from the beginning. He said to me, “what you doing?” I responded, “eating beans and rice, silly boy.” He questioned, “Beas and ricey?” I began singing to him, “beas and ricey! beas and ricey!” He joined along and we sang the same words together for at least five minutes. For quite some time after that, we sang the same song together each time we saw one another. Each interaction, though, was so special. He became so much more than a kid I sang a song with; he was one of my best friends. Denesio has the biggest heart of any child I have ever met. He consistently made every effort possible to make sure that I was doing okay. If I looked even the least bit upset or if I was really tired he would always ask, “you okay? you good?” He translated for me when I couldn’t understand the language and made sure that the other village kids never said anything to me that was unkind. He was my sweet little African brother. Denesio was one-of-a-kind. Everything about him made my heart melt. The things he did and the ways he displayed his love for me were so precious. One day, I was in the ocean with Lauren, and Katherine was sitting on the beach with Denesio. From the ocean, I heard a voice saying, “Laura! Laura! I go now!” I looked to the beach to see that it was Denesio. He was waving violently to me that he was leaving. As he was walking away, he stopped every three feet to yell my name. Each time I would look up to see that he was blowing me a kiss from the beach. It never got old, even after the ninth time. His heart was so huge and so precious that I could not even imagine being annoyed. Then there were the times when I would hear his voice from far off, shouting, “Laura! Laura! I loveee youuu!” Needless to say, this absolutely melted my heart. As the summer came near the close, I realized the impact he had on my life, and the difficulty of saying goodbye, which was inevitable. I talked to Denesio about the fact that I had to leave on several occasions, and each time, his response broke my heart. “You come back, please?” he would ask. I responded, “Denesio, I don’t know. I hope so.” Every time, he would simply look me in the eye and say, “I pray you come back to me.” This broke my heart, in a beautiful way, each time. In these moments, Denesio would simply rest his head on my shoulder and say, “is okay.” Denesio waited for me in the mornings. He waited for me after class in the afternoons. There was never a moment when he was not searching me out. There was never a time when he was not looking for my attention or longing for my affection. He wanted to do everything with me, and did not want to go anywhere without me. No matter how big or small the occasion, he desired to be in my presence. He would drop anything he was doing, simply to be with me. If you ask me, this sounds sort of like what God intended our relationship with Him to be. What if we lived liked this? What if we waited for Him in the mornings and in the afternoons? What if there was never a moment when we were not searching Him out? What if there was never a time when we were not looking for His attention or longing for His affection. What if we wanted to do everything with Him, and never wanted to go anywhere without Him? What if we desired to be in His presence, no matter how big or how small the occasion? What if we would drop anything, simply to be with Him. …Because the truth is this… He is waiting for you in the mornings and in the afternoons. There is never a time when He is not searching you out. There is never a moment when He is not looking for your attention or longing for your affection. He wants to do everything with you, and never wants to go anywhere without you He desires to be in your presence, no matter how big or how small the occasion. Get this: He would drop anything, simply to be with you.
Thank you, sweet Denesio.