Sunday, September 15, 2013

I fell in love...

I have been back from Honduras for less than 24 hours, and I have to admit that I fell in love while I was there.

View from the terrace at our hotel
I fell in love with the country.  The views are absolutely breathtaking.  Even in the many poor areas of Tegu, there is a beauty in the tired faces, the shacks the people live in, and the roads with no names.  The church we attended on Sunday was small, but it was evident that God's loved filled the building and the hearts of those in it.  

Girls with their puppets
Boys with their new shoes
I fell in love with the people.  Everyone I encountered was so warm and friendly.  The kids at the orphanages and schools we visited were very sweet and polite.  They participated whole-heartedly in games we played.  They repeated every word as we prayed with them.  And even though they loved stickers, we had to persuade them to take more, more, more, because we brought plenty for everyone.  A few even gave me gifts- one gave a picture she drew with her uncle, another gave one of her princess stickers from her prized collection. 

Albert, Ana, Nery, Eduardo, Carlos, Eny
Our interpreters were amazing.  They not only helped us bridge the language gap, but jumped in to joke and play with the kids.  They put in long hours, and many of the kids we saw already recognized them from the many hours they volunteer to work with them. 

On our final day working with the kids, we went to Casitas Kennedy Orphanage, which is a government run center.  The mood there (and at Octubre 21, the other orphanage we visited) was much different than the schools.  While the kids are poor and have very little in Tegu, you can tell the kids at the school have love in their homes and hope for a future.  The children at the orphanage may have parents, but cannot go home because of drugs there, physical abuse, sexual abuse, or other awful situations.  You can pick out the kids who are new because they haven't become hardened yet.  Many of these kids will remain at in government run centers until they age out at 18, and without an education or family support system, their prospects are dim.
It was at Kennedy that I fell in love with David.  While I have several pictures of him, I cannot post them here.  (We are unable to put pictures of the kids in the orphanage online because of their home situations and the need for these kids to be protected.)  But trust me when I say he is absolutely beautiful.  I called him my little trouble-maker, because he enjoyed throwing socks and stuffed animals over the couch for me to collect and throw back.  While his friend Victoria (who was 18 months) blew bubbles, David chased her and attempted to eat the bubble wand in her hand.  As we folded laundry, he would swipe the clothes we folded and throw them back into a pile.  It was impossible to be upset with his shenanigans because he would grin at you as soon as he was caught and would giggle as you tried to keep up with his mischief.  I found that he could be distracted with pizza, and he sat sweetly on my lap and ate an entire slice.  He also loved for me to hug him tightly and cover him with kisses as I turned him upside down.  My reward was the beautiful sound of his laughter.  I'm sure I whispered "te amo" in his ear at least a hundred times, as I tried to make up for the fact that he surely wouldn't hear those words as often as a child should.  My heart broke when it was time to go, and David cried and clung to me tightly so that I couldn't put him down. 

Sight seeing in St Lucia

I fell more in love with God in Honduras.  As tough as parts of the week were, and as heartbreaking as some of it was, I know that God is there.  He is there in the volunteers that spend many hours with the kids.  He is there in the teachers who are paid very little and work very hard to teach these kids (one teacher had 43 third grade boys in her class!!).  He is there in the men and women who run the centers and schools.  He is there in workers who so clearly love these kids and work hard to care for them.  God is there in the many missions groups that come from America to share his love and bring much needed aid for the people there.  It is reassuring to know that regardless of their situation, God is holding each of these kids in his hands and whispering in their ears that he loves them.  And this has helped me to fall even more in love with my Father, and look to him for whatever he has next for me. 

No comments:

Post a Comment