Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Today in Guatemala

What a day! First of all, it's my birthday--42 years old. Yikes!

But what an incredible and challenging and heart-wrenching day. And none of that due to being 42.

We left the hotel about 9 this morning and visited the Buckner offices here in Cuidad Guatemala. From there we toured the warehouse, where shoes, clothes, food, furniture, and a bunch of other things were held for later distribution. But then we went to the baby house. I met several babies and toddlers today whose stories break your heart. Alejandra was born with spina bifida and has already been through 3 surgeries at her young age. The doctors say she probably will never walk, but the staff believes that she will one day with the help of God. But even that wasn't the real heart-wrenching part. This little girl was left by her parents in the hospital once they found out about her health issues. To even give them the benefit of the doubt and say that perhaps they knew they couldn't care for such a special needs child is still to say that her parents left her, and I have a hard time imagining that. I pray for them wherever they are tonight, that God's love may touch them.

I could tell you more--in fact I started typing about Cristal and Celeste and Daniel and Juan Pablo then deleted it--but in a way it's saddening to burden the 3.5 of you who read my blog with this burden. And yet...

And yet there is the face of Jesus in the least of these. There is nothing like the hug of a child, the unabandoned, almost reckless love of a little one who has decided that even though my parents aren't here, these people have become my mother and father and family, and I'm going to love them for all I'm worth.

For all they're worth. That's a pregnant phrase. What are these kids worth, these children who have been cast aside by those who should love them most?

A fortune. And more.

Later we visted both the boys' and girls' transitional homes, where young men and women too old for the orphanage but too young to be on their own live. Then on to the single moms home, where several teenage mothers--kids with kids--live and study and grown in an environment set up to help them succeed.

Buckner and those who support the ministry with their time, talent and treasure are partnering to do a good thing here in Guatemala.

It was a great birthday.

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