He couldn't have been over six years old. Dirty face,
barefooted, torn T-shirt, matted hair. He wasn't too
different from the other hundred thousand or so street
orphans that roam Rio de Janeiro.
I was walking to get a cup of coffee at a nearby cafe
when he came up behind me. With my thoughts somewhere
between the task I had just finished and the class I was
about to teach, I scarcely felt the tap, tap, tap on my
hand. I stopped and turned. Seeing no one, I continued
on my way. I'd only taken a few steps, however, when I
felt another insistent tap, tap, tap. This time I stopped
and looked downward. There he stood. His eyes were whiter
because of his grubby cheeks and coal-black hair.
"Pao, senhor?" (Bread, sir?)
Living in Brazil, one has daily opportunities to buy a
candy bar or sandwich for these little outcasts. It's
the least one can do. I told him to come with me and
we entered the sidewalk cafe. "Coffee for me and something
tasty for my little friend." The boy ran to the pastry
counter and made his choice. Normally, these youngsters
take the food and scamper back out into the street without
a word. But this little fellow surprised me.
The cafe consisted of a long bar: one end for pastries
and the other for coffee. As the boy was making his
choice, I went to the other end of the bar and began
drinking my coffee. Just as I was getting my derailed
train of thought back on track, I saw him again. He was
standing in the cafe entrance, on tiptoe, bread in hand,
looking in at the people. "What's he doing?" I thought.
Then he saw me and scurried in my direction. He came and
stood in front of me about eye-level with my belt buckle.
The little Brazilian orphan looked up at the big American
missionary, smiled a smile that would have stolen your
heart and said, "Obrigado." (Thank you.) Then, nervously
scratching the back of his ankle with his big toe, he added,
"Muito obrigado." (Thank you very much.)
All of a sudden, I had a crazy craving to buy him the
But before I could say anything, he turned and scampered
out the door.
As I write this, I'm still standing at the coffee bar,
my coffee is cold, and I'm late for my class. But I
still feel the sensation that I felt half an hour ago.
And I'm pondering this question: If I am so moved by a
street orphan who says thank you for a piece of bread,
how much more is God moved when I pause to thank him
---- really thank him ---- for saving my soul?
~ Max Lucado ~
[ By: Max Lucado -- from Aiken Drum (Aiken@AikensLaughs.com) ]
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