"I don't have a heart. I have a stone. Everyone tells me that."
That’s what Yasmin* told Melanie Padilla and Megan Fouts at the start of our annual family camp in June. They would tease her back, “You’re going to be like the grinch and your heart is going to grow!” But she would just laugh and shake her head.
Camp services often went pretty deep, and Melanie noticed when they did, Yasmin would tuck her head down into her shirt. “I actually felt a bit frustrated - I thought she was sleeping!” Mel confessed.
One night, the kids were given a river rock and told to write on it all the negative things in their lives, changes they wanted to make or things they wanted removed from their lives. Then they put the rocks in a bucket and found out their rocks were going to be prayed over and put back in the river, signifying these things were released and gone. Yasmin was the first to speak, “I didn’t know we were going to have to give them up!” she cried. She wanted to get her rock back, certain she would know just which stone was hers. “That’s me! That’s all I know how to be! I’m not ready to let it go...” Yasmin argued.
“I felt like I didn’t want to let it go,” she remembers, “but since I did, a lot has changed in my life. I’m letting people love on me and see the real me. I’m letting myself be happy.”
The next evening, during a time of prayer, Yasmin approached Megan and simply told her,
"My heart grew."
Yasmin hadn’t been sleeping all of those times when her head was inside her shirt: she had been allowing God, through the provoking messages, to chip away at the rock around her heart to reveal the flesh beneath.
“Now every time I see Megan, I want to let her know how I’m doing. I’ve started letting Jesus in me, and it’s made a big change in me... I had a lot of anger when I first came and I took it out on people... now I’m letting myself be happy. Before I wasn’t myself. This is Yasmin. YASMIN = HAPPY. The stuff this summer has let me become more Yasmin."
from interviews with Yasmin, Home Life Supervisor Melanie Padilla and Assistant Megan Fouts *name has been changed