The Coffeebar closes around 11pm, and clean-up begins. The first night Buddy, Maveja, and I got home around midnight after putting everything away, mopping the floor, and wiping down tables. Around 12:20, I heard my name being called from the street outside. I went to the door and I saw two of the girls who were at the coffeebar, and also attend the after school Bible study at OSS. “Can we come in?” Curious as to what in the world these two teenagers were doing out past midnight, when they left the coffeebar at 11:00, I went out to unlock the gate and let them in.
“We ran into kind of a problem at home.”
The girls told me they had arrived home after the coffeebar and found the house locked up and no one would let them in. They asked if they could stay the night at my place. I made up beds for them and gave the sleeping clothes, and they went to bed. The next morning, I woke the girls up early, since one of them had a netball game that morning. I asked one of the girls, “Were you supposed to be home at a certain time last night?”
“yes,” she answered.
“after the coffeebar.”
“and did you go straight home?”
I started thinking that I might need to go talk to their mother and find out what was going on. I gave them some breakfast and sent them on their way, assuming that they would head home. I heard nothing from them the rest of the day until around 5pm when I found a note slid under my front door:
“My mother doesn’t want us to stay at her place. So she kicked us out. We have nowhere else to go, but to come to you. We will be back later and tell you everything.”
I was on my way to the PTG when I found the note, so I left one of my own:
“Come to the MPMC and we can talk. I will be there tonight.”
They arrived around 8pm and after the gathering was over we started talking. I started to feel a bit apprehensive. There were tings that weren’t quite clear in their story. And apparently, when they left my house on Saturday morning, they hadn’t even gone home! I called jenny and asked that she meet up with us in the morning so we could talk all together, and so that she could hear their story in Afrikaans and perhaps make some more sense of it. By now it was late and so I let the girls stay a second night, until we could figure it out. On Sunday morning Jenny came and we all sat down to talk. It soon became apparent that I had not misheard – the girls had not yet been home since Friday! Then it began to come out, the girls had been lying – lying to their mother, lying to Jenny and I. They had not even told their mother they would be at the coffeebar on Friday. Their mother was at home, but instead they told their sister they were going, knowing that their mother would not let them go, because of their poor grades last term. When they arrived home after the coffeebar, they could not find the key they have been using to come in, when they arrive home late in the evening. They tried to get their sister to let them in, but she would not, stating they needed to get the key from mom. They asked mom to let them in and the mother was in bed and basically conveyed this thought to them, “I’m tired and if I have to get up and let you in, you’re going to get a hiding.” So, rather than face it and take responsibility for deceiving their mother, they left and came to me, leaving out very important details, of course.
Jenny and I explained what they needed to do. We told them they must go directly home and admit their lies to their mom. Not only had they lied to her, but also taken advantage of us, which ended up pitting their mother against us as well, because they have used our names before – saying they were with us, when they really were not. We gave them 20 minutes to talk walk hoe and told them we would call to make sure they got there. We prayed with them, they would be humble and tell the truth, admitting their lies and asking forgiveness. We prayed that their mother would listen and that she would not hurt them. We prayed that God would give the girls the strength to face up to their choices.
We called 20 minutes later and the girls had indeed arrived, but their mom had not listened, or the girls had not fully explained, probably both. Their mother was furious and her anger was coming out at us for “letting them stay” with us. jenny was on the phone with her, trying to explain that she had not even been at home when the girls had come by, but the mom could talk to me. I was handed the phone and it became very clear she didn’t want to talk to me. It was like I was back in Dayton at my old job as a mental health case manager dealing with irrational and angry people. Since she wouldn’t speak to me on the phone, I decided to go to her. I called Todd and asked him to accompany me, for safety and witness sake, just in case. As we walked we prayed. The talk with the mother went very well. She had calmed down by the time we got there, and she listened to what I had to say. I explained that the girls had lied to her and to us. Their mom seems like she is at a loss. She can’t handle the girls and says they just come and go as they please and come in very late at night and she doesn’t know where they have been. It came out that they often use Youth Club, Bible study, and spending time with us, as their excuse. “Jesus” became their alibi, which in turn had made mom angry at “Jesus”. I made sure that their mom has both Jenny’s and my cell number and asked her what boundaries she has set for the girls so that I am clear as to what they can attend and when they need to be at home. Praise the Lord for opening this kind of conversation between their mom and me. If we have seen one thing here in Namibia, it is that lying is SO commonplace. The overall impression is that lying is simply a means to an end, and if you can get away with it, “than good for you!” Pray that I know how to deal with the girls from here on out – with forgiveness and grace, yet setting clear boundaries and challenging them to honesty.