Since I went out from my hometown, to Andrews and eventually to Cambodia, God have blessed me in many ways. I've been far from my family, but somehow God manages to bring people that becomes your family while your away. At Andrews He sent amazing people; a place I can call "home". Cambodia was not the exception. God again, not only sent one family but He has given us 3: The Rogers, The Scott's and the Khan's.
All of them are really special to my heart, but the Khan's grew a little closer to me for different reasons: They live downstairs, and they had two kids: Avak,7 and Neha, 4. Sumara, their (kids) aunt, was a plus, I love her as a sister (She went back home, to Pakistan in December). Back home, I have nephews and nieces; being far from them in Avak and Neha I found two little persons to share my love with.
The Khan's are the sweetest people you can ever meet. They are kind and loving . They always share food with us (really yummy Pakistani food) and they always welcomed us for a chat and tea. If in the busyness of life we would forget the blessing of fellowship, and friendship, they would remind us with an invitation to drink tea or a yummy Pakistani rice and dahl!
|The Khan's and us sharing tea|
And there comes Neha...she was "our girl" or as I used to call her "Mi Nehita". A beautiful, talkative, loving, smart, joyful and honest 4 year old girl. She lightened our days, she made us smile, she was the girl I hugged and kissed and play with "in :the name" of my nephews and niece back home. She was "mi Nehita" and I was her 'Baji Olga" (which means, "older sister" in Urdu).
Every morning, as I went down the stairs on my way to school, she was standing at the door:
"Hello Baji Olga, I like your shirt"
"Thanks, Neha" I will reply knowing that there was more to come:
"But I don't like your shoes" I would smile, "It's ok Neha, I like them"
"You look beautiful, I like your dress" and with her sweet voice she would reply: "Thank You, my mommy bought it for me".
Annie and I made jokes sometimes saying that if a robber wanted to come to our house, it would be impossible cause Neha would definitely see him and ask "What are you doing"??. She was our faithful guard.
On December the Khan's went on vacation to their home at Pakistan, and it was so lonely here. We really missed them, specially we missed Neha standing at the door, or crying every night at sleep time. The day they got home, we knew right away. I heard a girl crying downstairs. Quickly I tell Annie: "Is that Neha?!...Neha!! their home!!!" We ran downstairs to met them. The kids were so big..Neha was so big..Our neighbors were back We were so happy!
As Neha was growing, she got into the stage of: "What are you doing?" Why?. why? She would come home almost every evening. We knew she took a shower and as she came with her wet hair she used to say: Baji Olga, smell my hair, smell my hair!!! It smells nice, right?" "Yes, Neha, it smells very nice" as every night we had to pretend that we never smelled it before :). There are countless memories with her: Helping her with her math, teaching her how to jump the rope, watching her ride the bicycles in circles with Avak getting home from school, trying to workout with us, helping her with puzzles, going for an ice-cream and realizing that we hadto carry her because she didn't bring her shoes, and many more...
We always had something to share about her...one night Annie comes from downstairs and she tell us: "Neha was praying and she mentioned every single person that she knows..."Be with dad, and mom and Avek,and masso (auntie)" and so on. Another day Phil came up and told us: "So, Neha was singing: "Yes Jesus Loves me, yes Jesus loves me, yes Jesus loves me, yes Jesus loves me , yes Jesus loves me, yes Jesus loves me"...... and eventually she concluded: "The Bible tells me so..". One of my last memorable experiences with her was the last Saturday "Game Night" at the Scott's. She asked me to helped her to make wooden blocks animal-pictures puzzle. I spent a long time with her as God tested my patience "Neha, here focus, you're doing very good, but focus" Annie, Phil and Fay laughed at us as we were trying to accomplish or goal. And we made it. We made two. She was so happy and proud, and I would tell her: "Go, show Auntie Fay" (As you can notice we're all family here). She wanted to make more, but I was tired, and we decided to play "Jenga" and make big buildings. She would share her blocks with me and in exchange she will ask me if she could tumble down my tower. That was the las Saturday night Neha was with us.
Next Saturday night was supposed to be another normal and happy Saturday night together. Instead, Neha was taken away from us in an ambulance...until Jesus comes again, we won't see her again, we won't smell her hair again, we won't see her beautiful and smiling face. It's hard to write about all the things that came to my mind the moment I knew. We were shocked. I had to ask like 5 times before I could understand. I thought about her mother:we knew how much Alia loved her girl: I have sister's that are mothers and I have heard them said they could not imagine if something bad happens to their children. I felt her pain, though I know I will never completely understand... I thought about Avek; how they were always together and how much did he took care of her. And I imagined my Kelly and Emanuel (my older sister's couple) and how much did they love each other. And I thought about her dad, and the look in his eyes for his beautiful princess.. and I thought about my dad and how did he cried for me when I left to Andrews (that was shocking for me, since I never before saw my dad cry, besides my aunt in-law's funeral). The rest, is too painful to write about.
Monday afternoon, was the funeral service in Cambodia, before they leave to Pakistan for the burial. As I was going up the stairs of the church, I thought about how wrong this world was. In my mind I was waiting to see Neha, riding her bike or playing around with his brother, instead, I was walking to her funeral service. I was walking to her funeral and in my mind I was still waiting to see her around ready to put her shoes outside to go inside the church.
The days after that have not been easier. As we go up or down the stairs we always wait for her standing at the door. There's no one to tell us if we look beautiful or if or shoes are not nice. No one to ask us where are we going, what are we doing..." And as I think how much I miss her, in my heart there's a family for which I pray everyday. As I know there are no words to soothe their pain, my prayers are lifted up to heaven now in a different way...for Jesus to return sooner than I ever wished for and for Him to comfort this family until that day comes. That they can rest in His promises and that God renewed mercies strengthen them each day.
We don't understand pain, suffering..death...Though it surround us everyday in accidents, tragedies, earthquakes and wars we can never get used to it. Inside of us, we know we were not created to die, to suffer the absence of a person for the rest of our lives here. But there's hope. There are thousand of promises that I know are going to be done. Thanks to the great sacrifice of our Savior Jesus, we can have a hope to see our loved ones again. One day "Spring will Come" and He will give us "Beauty from the ashes". In the funeral service, Pr. Dean read a beautiful prophecy from Isa.11:6 that I will like to share:
"The wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goat, the calf and the lion and the yearling together; and a child will lead them."
He said that he's sure that Neha's going to be one of those child. As I read the meaning of the verse
the words "peace" and "security." "harmony" stand out. In heaven what was wrong, what was twisted by sin, will be in perfect harmony again, such as this, that a child will live in complete security and peace. I just can't wait for that day....but like SCC song I guess "I just have to wait"....