A fascinating thing happened yesterday. Heidi was working so it was just us boys at home. Lucas asked to watch a movie called "The Story of the Weeping Camel". It's a movie about a family of nomadic camel herders from, of all places, Mongolia. We've had it for a number of years, long before we had any inkling that we would someday travel near to that distant land to adopt a son. It is a beautiful movie filmed in Mongolia and all of the dialog is in Mongolian. (Lucas is from Inner Mongolia, which is part of China-a separate region from Mongolia which is it's own country. But, much of the culture is the same)
I had hoped that Lucas would like this film. I thought that he might find comfort in familiar scenery and images of Mongolian people. We started watching it the other day and he seemed to really enjoy it. He recognized it for Mongolia and seemed captivated by it.
So when he asked to watch it again, I was more than happy to accommodate. He seemed to really be getting into it one again. He again made comments about it being Mongolian; and shortly after the movie began he went up to his room to retrieve a couple of books that he was given by the director of his orphanage to help him remember where he came from. They are essentially the Chinese version of National Geographic books with wonderful photos of Mongolia and the people. He was very excited to find some pictures of camels and show them to Isaac and me. He was clearly making the connection that this is where he comes from and he seemed to want to share that with Isaac and me.
I thought that he might understand what the people in the movie were saying, but I wasn't sure. I wasn't able to ask him the first time that we watched the movie, but after he showed us his picture books I asked him.
His response took Isaac and me by surprise. He told us that he didn't understand the language and then he seemed to make a turn. He told me that he did not want to go back there. He said that he would cry. Both of us quickly assured him that he was not going anywhere. He was part of our family forever and we would cry too if we were to be parted. He accepted that, but he made it clear that he was done with Mongolia. He kept repeating things like "Lucas, no Mongol" and "Mongol pwaaa" (that's a word he uses to refer to things with a bad smell). After that he didn't want to watch the movie anymore. He made it clear that he wanted nothing more to do with it.
I think this night was a real turning point for him. He turned his back on his past and was determined to look only to the future. Sun Wan the Mongol was no more. Lucas Jundt the American had replaced him.
It took me totally by surprise. Monday was 10 weeks from when we first met Lucas. It seems like such a short time, and yet I don't think that any of us can imagine life without him anymore. He has been integrating into our family at an amazing pace. Every day he seems to be more settled than the last. He adores Isaac and mimic's me all the time. He likes to "liberate" my tools and collect them in a little shoe box. He even absconded with a pair of my reading glasses, which he loves to wear low on his nose; just like I do. He clearly loves his Ma Ma; and spends most of his day with her. He loves to help. When he sees a need, he just does what he can to meet it.
Even with all of that, the turning of his back on Mongolia came as a surprise. It wasn't just an assimilation into our family and culture. This was a deliberate act. A decision to make a break and look in a new direction.
That this would happen when it did was in itself interesting. The previous day at Passion City, Pastor Louie's sermon was about this very thing; turning our backs on our past and looking toward our future. His focus was on Colossians 3 where we are reminded that we have been raised with Christ and encouraged to put our minds on things above. Lucas wasn't turning his back on sin, after all where we come from is not a sin; but he was turning his heart to a new life.
As Christians, we have been adopted into a new family. We are encouraged to leave our past behind us; to allow our future to pull us forward rather than letting our past pull is backward. The Holy Spirit does His work in our lives and we are allowed to begin again. Lucas is living that out in front of us. The Spirit is working in his heart too. 10 weeks ago, he had never heard the name of Jesus. Now he won't stop singing worship songs; at the top of his lungs. In many ways it is like watching a sermon every day.
A new life indeed...