Summer 2016 was my fourth year going to Kyrgyzstan to run a two week long sports camp for kids and teenagers. Even thought not too many people have heard of this place, this country is full of loving people with deep dreams and aspirations, waiting to share their story and, if you allow it, become part of yours. That's the story of Manas and I. I met him on my first year going there, Summer 2013, as just one of the kids attending camp, but he definitely stood out with how mischievous, funny, but most importantly, loving he was. Every year that I went, I saw him grow and become taller and stronger.
At the same time since that first year, the Father was after my heart. Being an orphan, I never knew the love of a father or a mother. I learned to be independent and count only on myself. I resisted His love; trust was not something I gave easily, but finally gave in, and started a process of learning what it was to be a son, His son. And beyond that, knowing that my identity as a son went beyond my performance and decisions in life.
Even though this process is not over and I have a lot to learn, this year I went after Manas's heart, just as the Father went after mine. I went from passively seeing him grow to aggressively involving myself in his life, rejoicing with his victories and mourning with his loses, loving him past his mistakes and letting him into my heart so he could see mine, so he could know that love goes beyond performance and perfection.
And so the key was passed on, with a deep longing in my heart that he will embark in the same adventure that I'm in, and find out that there's a Father out there taking care and thinking of him, listening to every single one of his dreams and watching over his every step, ready to lavish him in love and kindness, a Father that calls him a son.