He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young.-Isaiah 40:11
Natasha has been in the streets for almost six years. The team has known her since she first came to the streets. She always kept to herself and was unresponsive to us. In fact, sometimes she would be downright unfriendly. She was never said anything rude to us. She would just simply ignore us. She was quite a difficult person. About a week ago, we had a volunteer come out to the streets with us. For some reason, Natasha decided to engage her. She opened up about her past and her family. She said that her mother left her house and disappeared one day and this was her catalyst to coming to the streets. This was the first time she has ever shared anything personal.
Last Monday, we went to the streets in the evening and the first news we heard from the teens was that Natasha had passed away. They were quite disturbed and shaken by it. She had been sniffing paint thinner and then all the sudden she just collapsed and was unconscious. They rushed her to the hospital but it was too late. She was sixteen years old.
Her family claimed her body and buried her immediately. There were only four people at the funeral. She is laid down to rest in an unmarked grave. No one in the streets was informed or welcomed to the funeral. The teens were quite devastated. They wanted to say their final farewell to their friend. They were visibly affected by her death. They caught a glimpse of their own mortality. They saw how easy it was to be gone and forgotten without a moment’s notice. They did not want their passing to to be like Natasha who was buried without a tear shed and maybe in a few weeks she won’t be remembered anymore.
No one would claim that Natasha was an angel. However, despite her faults and shortcomings, she was still a gift from God to this world. We cannot just simply ignore this fact. Every Life is a gift from God. A Human Life is God’s gift to reveal His Love to us in a rational manner. Therefore, it is precious and important. Perhaps Natasha never understood that she was precious to God. Most likely she did not think she was worth anything to anybody. However, she had something to reveal to us about God. Now she is gone. That something about God that only she can show us is also gone with her.
Natasha never lived to her full potential. She never realized that she had a potential. However, we want to acknowledge before God that we appreciate the gift of Natasha in this world. We want to remember her as such. Her death has made us mature in the understanding of ministry here. We are God’s instruments to let these children and adults know that they are not biological mistakes but God’s precious gifts to this world. They have something to offer to this world and they need to allow God’s love to help them express this gift to the world clearly.