Teddy is 16 years old. He was born with a physical deformity in his legs. He walks with one crutch to stabilize his wobbling knees, using the other hand to rudder his way around (I couldn’t tell if he couldn’t afford another crutch or just liked cruising about with a free limb). Like most of the students who live at the Mason Lincoln School for the physically disabled (Happy’s), Teddy wanders the grounds without shoes. I met him making my way to hunt down some of the older students.
Teddy rescued me from an ambush of the little ones who recognized the “Kingdom of God” van drive up. (You lose all personal space when you go to Happy’s.) Today, the kids were stroking me hairy arms and digging into my pockets to get me to take their picture. Teddy was the first student to showed delighted interest in an afternoon men’s Bible class I was going to lead. The class went great for a first time being run at Happy’s. We discussed who David’s Mighty Men were, brainstormed what physical characteristics and value traits make up a man, and identified who they viewed as the manliest of men. But the best part of the whole afternoon (possibly the most powerful moment I’ve had these past 5 months in Africa), was what followed.
Walking to the car, I was stopped by hobbling Teddy. He expressed how much he enjoyed the class, and gave me a preview to what he was thinking about next week’s topic, courage. Teddy then asked if we could pray together. “Absolutely!” I said. Pointing between the two of us, I asked, “Do you want to pray, or would you like me to pray?” He nodded his head towards me. “Would you like me to pray about anything in particular?”
“Huh?” He shrugged.
“Do you want me to pray about anything specific?”
Teddy looked down to my shoes. I couldn’t tell if he was embarrassed or caught up in a thought.
“I want to have legs like yours. Legs that work.”
Before uttering offering a word of prayer, I grabbed his shoulder and assured him. “Teddy, I have so much faith that you will walk one day.” He leaned on my arm while we shared a few words of prayer to the Father. Opening my eyes, I saw Teddy wiping streams of tears away from his. I was speechless after that. Considering Teddy’s dream, I find some bits of God’s love letters are written to resonate within certain hearts. I believe that Isaiah 40:29-31 was written for Teddy.