Well, it’s here!! Whether you welcomed or shunned it, a new year is upon us. Somehow it just seems incredibly remarkable that this team chose to begin their new year on the mission field. I can’t help but think that means God has something extraordinary planned in the lives of each person serving here in Guatemala. Today is a holiday for most Americans, which means relaxing, watching college bowl games, and doing anything but working. For the team, it is another opportunity to serve, another opportunity to be the hands and feet of Christ, and another opportunity to be a tangible expression of God’s love.
As I mentioned in a previous post, the children here are not orphans, they have families who love and miss them. The center hosts family visitation twice a week, tomorrow is one of those days. Honestly, I have mixed emotions about what tomorrow will hold. Part of me is excited for the kiddos to see their families. Part of me looks forward to seeing the brief reunions, but part of me just wants to weep over the thought of it. These families have had to turn the care of their most precious gift over to strangers. These families have had to relinquish the right to make day to day decisions in their children’s lives. These families are missing many of the cherished milestones we all treasure. Though these families get to visit their children tomorrow, they will leave broken hearted and empty handed. The depth of their pain weighs heavy on my heart.
In preparation for the visits, the team has prepared large sacks of food for each family to take home. Every bag contains about $50 worth of groceries; rice, black beans, cereal, instant soup, pasta, tomato sauce, cooking oil and maize. The purpose of the center is to get these children healthy and back home with their families as quickly as possible, so as we prepped the bags, we prayed over each family receiving them. We know that with God all things are possible and that He is able to do exceedingly and abundantly above all that we ask and hope for.
Today seems somewhat bittersweet. We have been here long enough to bond with the children; they have fully captured our hearts, and yet tomorrow is our last day with them. It is difficult to reconcile the reality of our love for them with the possibility that we may never see them again. Many of the team members have already planned return trips. Some of them have said the only way they are able to walk away and not fall apart is with the knowledge that they will return. This afternoon as I placed a beautiful little one in her crib for a nap, she began to cry and so did I. Come Friday we will all be back home re-engaging with our everyday lives, but I have no doubt each of hearts will ache for the children of Guatemala.
With a new year comes new opportunities, and for anyone desiring to step out of their comfortable lives and embark on an adventure, I challenge you to go on a mission trip with Orphan’s Heart. I can almost promise you that although it may be your first, it most certainly won’t be your last!