Mercy is 11 years old and lives in western Kenya. [Locate Kenya on a map.] She likes to play the same games many of us like. She likes to play dolls with her sister. She doesn’t have brightly colored dolls with beautiful clothes. She makes her own dolls from plastic bags. She stuffs several plastic bags into another bag and stitches it closed to form a head. Then she makes a body the same way. She makes arms and legs from rolled-up plastic bags that she sews onto the body. She uses scraps of fabric to make simple doll clothes and hats for her dolls.
Mercy likes her name. It reminds her that God was merciful to her when a foolish game caused her a lot of pain. She tells her story so others will know that God loves us and answers our prayers.
“One day I was playing at my cousins’ house,” Mercy says. “The grown-ups were cooking food over a charcoal stove that sits close to the ground. One pan had hot oil in it. My sister and I were playing in the kitchen—not a safe thing to do when people are cooking nearby. I tried to jump over the pan of hot oil, and I fell into the oil!
“I screamed as the hot oil burned my chin and my nose and my mouth. It hurt so much! My uncle put a burn cream on my face and took me home. He told my mother that I had been burned.
“Mother took me to the hospital, where doctors treated my burns and the hospital pastor prayed for me. Mother had to take me to the hospital every two days to let the doctors scrub away the damaged skin on my face. Mother cried, and I cried every time they had to scrub me.
“For weeks we couldn’t see any improvement. But everyone we knew was praying for me. Slowly new skin took the place of the burned skin, and Mother could quit scrubbing my face. Now I don’t even have a scar!
“I learned some important lessons from this. My sister and I never ever play in the kitchen when someone is cooking. We learned that God is always with us, even when something bad happens. God cares for us, and He won’t leave us alone. Through the difficult times that I hurt the most, I know God was beside me, crying with me.
“I learned that there are some games that aren’t good to play. We can get hurt. Other games can hurt us spiritually or rob us of the time we could spend with God.
“I want other children to trust God and trust His wisdom and love for us.”