My heart broke a little when I first met Peter. His hands were twisted and he had to use a lot of energy to be able to move his arms more than a couple of inches. Later, I saw that there was something wrong with his feet, but not as severe as his hands. Another name I have always loved is “Peter”. I always related to the big-mouth stubborn version of Peter, but I also admired him as I read through Acts and saw how bold he was for the Gospel during the time of the early church. This little boy chose Peter and I smiled as we marked him down as another student in the “Beginner class” where I was the assistant teacher.
It was during the same craft project where I had first seen Luke’s personality emerge, that I also noticed something very special about Peter. It involved coloring, cutting, and gluing. I sat next to Peter as I anticipated having to do most of his project for him. I couldn’t have been more wrong. I was in awe as I watch him pick up the crayons in his own way. I watched his special form as he colored inside the lines like a pro.
I was certain that I would have to help him with the scissors because I saw no possible way that he could pick up the scissors with his hands twisted the way they were. I actually started to cry (and made myself suck it up quickly) as I watched him use both hands to get the scissors in place and begin cutting. It was obviously a struggle, but he was determined to do it. I helped him hold the paper, but I couldn’t bring myself to take the scissors from him just so that it would go more quickly.
Peter lived inside a government orphanage. He was physically disabled, but he was probably the smarted kid in our entire class. However, we were told that often kids with mental and physical disabilities were often thrown into one group and simply labeled as “Disabled.”
My favorite moment with Peter was watching him get on the swing set for the first time in his life. The government orphanage has a lot of great outdoor playground equipment, but you hardly ever seen them outside playing. And because of his “disability,” Peter had never been allowed to get on the swings. I watched as one of our translators helped him onto the swings and positioned his arms for him so that he could hold on (in his own way). I had my camera ready. The sound of his laughter was something I don’t ever want to forget. His face was a mixture of pure excitement and joy mixed with a little bit of fear. He yelled to the translator that maybe he shouldn’t go so high and that he was a little afraid. The rest of the week, Peter would simply wait by the swings to get as many turns on them that he could. He was swinging high in the air by the end of the week. I learned quickly to expect a lot from this little boy.
Being one of the best readers, Peter was the one that Piper (I will tell you more about him next) would ask to read from the Chinese Story Bible. Peter didn’t know much about the Bible before our camp, but he read several stories, including the Gospel, out loud to several of the other kids. I am confident that God has a plan for little Peter.
Oh, a few other things Peter did for the first time:
•Learned how to throw a frisbee (this was INCREDIBLE to watch)
•Rode on a skate board (with some help from his best friend Luke)
•Played with Legos (We put together a forklift!)