This little boy is 11. He captured a piece of my heart in Brazil. Alexandre (Al-ay-shan-dree).
He sometimes causes trouble in Sunday School. He shows off and goofs off; and then when he gets in trouble, his feelings are hurt and he is stubborn. I saw this happen one day at the Bible Club we did. But Alexandre won my heart. He reminded me of some boys I taught years ago.
The one missionary was surprised when I remarked how much I liked this boy and how if I were teaching his class, he’d be one of my favorite students. I recognized in Alexandre a keen sense of humor. If he and I could speak the same language, I’m sure we would have joked a lot. The last morning we saw him, I asked Trent, the missionary teen, to tell Alexandre that I wished I could take him home with me to the US. Alexandre’s eyes twinkled and he barely grinned and said, “Well, I can’t today. I have to ride out to the airport with my stepdad.” As if some other day, when his schedule cleared, he could come home with me. He and I both laughed.
I could also tell by watching him that this was a smart boy. I think he showed off and goofed off because he was sometimes bored. If somebody were to engage this boy in a one-on-one discipleship that really challenged him, I think Alexandre would thrive. I think he also would eat up the attention. I never met his parents. I don’t know his situation at home, but I could see a deep hunger for attention.
Alexandre is also small for his age. He’s a tiny 11 year old, smaller than most of the 9 and 10 year old girls, the same size as some of the 8 year old boys. Being that small is not easy for a boy on the edge of puberty. I imagine it’s even more difficult for a boy who spends a lot of his time playing in the streets with other children – unsupervised. When a whole group of boys are flying kites or playing soccer, it’s probably not easy being the smallest of the group. I would guess this explains some his stubborn pride, some of his clowning around.
After the first day I met him, I felt like I had a sense of what made Alexandre tick. I liked his smile, his wit, even some of his goofing off. I liked the way he screamed the cheers for his team at Bible Club as if he were cheering on a championship soccer team. So I did the fun handshake with him that all the boys did. I patted him on the back and told him his craft looked cool in my cave-woman Portuguese — “Bom, legal.” “Good, cool.”
I hugged him and shouted his name when he showed up each morning — “Bom Dia! Alexandre! Bom Dia!” I hugged him goodbye each day at noon and asked, again in my cave-woman Portuguese, “Amanhã aqui?” “Tomorrow here?” And he would hug me back and promise to come.
The last morning of Bible Club, Alexandre was late. I stood in front of the building; the children were already inside singing. Alexandre came walking up the hill toward the garage where the church meets. I saw him and waved. He ran and jumped into my arms. “Bom Dia!” He yelled. I kissed his cheek, a typical Brazilian greeting. Sarah from my group snapped this picture of us.
Please pray for Alexandre. He doesn’t come to church regularly. He hasn’t accepted Christ yet. As he gets to be a teen, there are so many dangers. Please pray that he would understand how much Jesus loves him and how much Jesus wants a relationship with him. Please pray that Alexandre would fall in love with Jesus, the Jesus who loves him and lavishes attention on him. And please pray that he would not get caught up in a dangerous lifestyle, that he would be safe on the streets of his neighborhood. Please pray for a godly man to take Alexandre under his wing.