Trujillo, Peru – 2003
During this time in my life, my parents were greatly involved in the Alianza Cristiana y Misionera América Sur (Christian and Missionary Alliance of South America) church. Dad had to be at the church almost every night of the week to lead Bible studies, preach or plan an event.
My parents would typically find a babysitter to take care of us kids, but all of our usual babysitters were at the church event my dad had to attend that night for Easter. So, they brought us along with them, promising we did not have to sit through the actual service if the nursery was unlocked.
We prayed almost the entire way there that the nursery would be unlocked. The nursery was located on the second floor at the time and it contained the most toys we had ever seen in our lives. It had boxes and boxes filled with stuffed animals, toy cars, dolls and a plastic kitchen. There were enough toys in the nursery to keep us entertained for an entire day, so we were really hoping the nursery was unlocked so we would not have to sit through a sermon that lasted two hours.
When we arrived, we immediately ran up to the second floor and were excited when we found the nursery unlocked. My siblings and I immediately began pulling toys out of the boxes and entering our own little worlds where we were in control.
As I was playing with the stuffed animals, some teenagers from our parents’ youth group came in the room. Everyone in the youth group loved my cute 3-year-old sister Alexa, so it was no surprise that these teens immediately went over to her and began picking her up and trying to entertain her with all the toys. I did not pay too much attention to this, and they left a few minutes later anyways.
Some more time passed and then my mom came upstairs to check on us.
“Where is Alexa?” she said.
None of us knew.
I was not very alarmed at first because I thought maybe she had wandered out of the room and was walking around somewhere on the same floor. I began to panic when we searched the whole floor and could not find her. So my mom sent Michaela, 8 years old at the time, up to the third floor and she asked me to find Dad and tell him what was going on while she searched the first floor.
I ran down to the sanctuary and found my dad near the sound room.
“We can’t find Alexa,” I said.
“Did you ask Loni where she is?” Dad said.
“No,” I said.
“Go ask her and let me know if she has seen her,” Dad said.
Loni was one of our babysitters. Dad pointed her out standing at the back of the sanctuary. When I asked her in Spanish if she had seen Alexa, she muttered something I did not understand. I asked her to repeat what she said, but I still did not understand her. So I turned to Dad and shrugged my shoulders, which I meant for him to interpret as I could not understand what she was saying. However, Dad took that to mean she had no idea where Alexa was, so he began looking for her as well.
When I turned back to Loni, she asked me to follow her. We walked outside of the church, turned left and when we got to the corner, turned left again. She led me to a small corner store, where the teenagers that had been playing with Alexa earlier were buying some candies for Alexa.
I told them my mom was worried and that she was looking for Alexa, so they immediately returned to the church with my little sister. We found my mom on the second floor with tears streaming down her face and one of the church members trying to comfort her.
So in this case, it could be said that Alexa was only “misplaced” because other people knew where she was and she was not actually lost. Then again, this could be said about any child who has gotten lost. Josiah knew exactly where he was – in a good hiding spot. With Michaela, the people around her that were clapping knew where she was and they knew her parents did not, which is why they began clapping. However, whether you call it getting lost or misplaced, it is not a pleasant experience.
There is only one simple solution to avoid the experience: do not misplace your kids.