Our sweet Abyala has been taking ballet lessons at the Mongolian National Ballet School since January. Tip toeing her way in joy, through challenges. Every Sunday morning, she joins a group of 4-5 year old Mongolian girls to literally stretch themselves to new limits with their instructor Anna. I watch her through a slim opening in the frosted glass door. Often tears welling. Amazed at her strength, tenacity and beauty. She’s immersed in a culture that’s familiar but not her own, a foreign language that she desperately tries to speak, no one to easily connect with, doing something that’s painful, yet fun. And every week, she’s excited to go do it again. Each day, she dances around our apartment in her leotard, slippers, and leg warmers. Practicing for the big day. Anxious to go on stage. Despite her being nervous. Willing to overcome the fear because she loves to dance.
She went on stage for the first time on Sunday. My heart almost burst with gladness when those red velvet curtains opened and I saw her glowing face. She quickly smiled and gave a tiny waist-high wave when she found us in the crowd. I was veraciously waving with an unending smile from which my cheeks still hurt. Then Aby straightened her back, lengthened her neck, chin up and danced. And danced. And danced. Oh my heart! She was so poised.
Ballet class hasn’t been easy for Abyala given the language and cultural barriers. Of the 280 children who danced on stage that night, Abyala was the only foreigner. Despite the challenges of making friends cross-culturally, she perseveres. Many say that children don’t need language to play and there is a degree of truth to that. But to truly connect, we’ve found that Abyala has needed words (sentences) that she can share with her friends. Words aren’t the only means by which she connects, but they have certainly been an essential piece to her developing close friendships.
As I continue to watch our sweet Abyala grow into this beautiful, multi-cultural little girl, I’m learning that my experiences, abilities, and knowledge to parent her are not sufficient. Phil and I are not enough. And we weren’t designed to be. I’m learning more and more the importance of Christ in her life. (As well as ours.) And the importance of prayer.
Abyala can dance with her Mongolian friends because of grace. The grace of God upholding her with his right hand. He encamps His angels around her. Protecting. Giving strength. And mercy for each day. He blesses her with understanding and courage. Relationships come because He provides.
Please pray for our sweet Abyala. Pray for one or two good friends to come into her life, especially as she begins school this fall. Pray that God would build her up into a woman of God and use this unique childhood for His good purposes. Pray that she would experience Jesus, see him, love him, and trust in him as her savior.