It’s the day we have dreaded all week, our final day with the kids at the center. We knew it would come, but all of us hoped it wouldn’t. We hoped that somehow we could delay it, but we can’t. Ecclesiastes 3:1 says, “For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven. . .” Our season in Guatemala has come to an end. Hopefully I can stall the tears long enough to complete this post.
Today was the day all of the families came to visit. I don’t know who was more excited, the children or the team. We all waited somewhat impatiently for the Mommies and Daddies to arrive. First there was a worship service for the parents and then the nannies started taking the children to their parents. One Mama came directly to the baby room for her daughter. The joy on her face when she spotted her daughter was priceless. Some of us were permitted to take the children directly to their parents. I cannot even begin to describe the feeling of being able to hand the precious baby girl I was holding, over to her mother. Many of the team members stood by witnessing the family interactions. There were smiles, joy, sadness and tears. I could barely keep my emotions in check. Observing the tortured expressions of the mammas as they once again handed over their children ripped me to shreds. Seeing the crocodile tears of the children was no easier. Fortunately the team was available to cuddle and comfort the little ones. The rest of the morning was a rather subdued affair.
The families did not leave completely empty handed though. Some of them gave their hearts to Christ during the mini-service which means they no longer walk alone; they now have a savior to comfort and guide them. Each family also received a gift from their child; a craft with their hand print, and a photo of them. A team member captured a photo of each family together, I expect those will be presented during their next visit. All the groceries lovingly packed by the team went home with the families as well.
There have been happy moments today too. This morning when I entered the infant room to prepare one of the babies for her bath, she greeted me with her toothless smile, like I was the most important person in her world. Another toddler caught onto a game of, “answer the phone”. He entertained all of us by picking up the toy phone, placing it on his ear and saying, “Hola.” One team member received the priceless gift of a visit from one of her babies who had been at the center during her visit two years ago. It is all of these seemingly minor things, that really are huge, that will keep us going in the days to come when our sorrow threatens to overwhelm us.
Our time in Guatemala has affected each of us differently. Exactly how our lives will change is difficult to predict, but I fully trust that God brought each of us here for a specific purpose. For some of us that purpose may have already manifest, for some it may take a little longer to recognize. And honestly, some of us may never fully understand every part of His plan. What really matters is that we continue on in this life of faith trusting and knowing that God is always in control, even when we can’t see the plan. And for now, we bid farewell to Guatemala.