It was late in the evening when little Mary was dropped off at the Mansion.
Her appearance was so sad. She was very thin. Her eyes were sunken in her face. Her bones were protruding out of her tattered dress. Well, actually, you could hardly call it a dress for there was more filth than cloth. The stains from the past few weeks were so bad that you couldn’t tell what color the dress was supposed to be.
Her feet were bare, except for the burns that covered them. Those same burns covered her fingers and palms. Some were old and scarred over. Some were fresh and weeping infection. Burns so severe that we would seek immediate medical attention. When the doctor asked her how she got the burns, Mary said, “Daddy didn’t mean to hurt me. He told me to be quiet, but I wasn’t a good girl and didn’t listen.”
She stood there looking at us, silent, and so afraid. Shell-shocked from the years of abuse she had endured, wondering what was coming next.
What came next was a meal to a starving little girl, then a warm bath and the untangling of lice infested, matted hair.
She was given a new nightgown and her first baby doll to hold and snuggle. She was tucked into her first real bed, and for the first time in her life, a safe place to close her eyes to sleep. It took a while for Mary to adjust to the fact that she was indeed safe.
For weeks, she barely spoke. She never cried. Eye contact with an adult caused involuntary flinching and a swiftly ducked head to protect herself from the abusive patterns she was familiar with. So many horrific incidents left behind, but not easily forgotten.
Mary didn’t even know how to play. She would sit for hours, deathly quiet, deathly still, afraid to be anything but quiet and invisible. But time was on our side.
Now this precious little girl has begun to shed the armor she once wore to protect herself. She has learned how to smile and to laugh and to give hugs.
She talks a lot now and giggles with the other girls as they play with their Barbie Dream House. She feels like she is living in a dream house herself.
Every night at prayer time, she thanks God for her very own bed to sleep in. At last she is healthy, happy and safe.
Mary returned from Junior Youth Camp a few days ago and said, “I had the best time ever! We sang songs and worshiped Jesus. We played. And I made a lot of new friends!”
With every mission, there are those who give by going, and there are those who go by giving.
One cannot do the holy work of saving the children without the other. The goers cannot do it alone; the givers cannot do it alone. It is a holy calling shared by both.
There are many more Marys out there. There are Mikes, Missys, Mollys and Matthews. All waiting to be rescued. All waiting to be saved. Tupelo Children’s Mansion is answering the call, and I invite you to answer it as well.
Please go by giving today!
Your generous gift of $25, $50, $100, $250 or whatever you can afford will help us save another child that is in need of a safe place and a loving home like the Mansion.
Would you ask the Lord if He would lead you to reach out and help His work among these precious children?
Please give today by using the form below.
Stephen Judd President & CEO
P.S. Thank you in advance for helping Mary and our other children overcome their past and for providing them hope for a brighter future. Please note, Mary is not the real name of the girl in the story.