Today was long. And still full of worship and awe.
We went to 2 orphanages today, both about a 90 minute bus ride north of San Pedro Sula, on the northern coast of the country. The trip was beautiful as we went along the mountains, then saw the Atlantic ocean come into view.
The first orphanage was a girls home run by an evangelical organization and church. There were 25 or so young ladies in the home, and they were an incredible group. Excited to see us, they were grateful for the shoes and the play. Less rambuctious than the kids the day before (I guess that's a testimony to leaving testosterone somewhere else), they nonetheless pursued us with gusto in the games and stories and bad Spanish. We had lunch with them (the traditional Honduran meal from...wait for it...Wendy's) and then were on the road for 20 minutes to the boys home.
The boys home (Hogar San Ramon) was run by a nun and several volunteers, and had another 20 or 25 boys in it. They too pursued us with passion--and testosterone--and for another 3 hours we played and loved. It was tough to leave. My new friend Jair began to cry after our goodbyes started, and he cried as I held him in my arms and told him God loves him and I do too. I told him we were friends. Jair's mom is a prostitute in the city there, and comes to visit him once a month. I cannot imagine his life (he's 4 right now--I'll have a great picture up soon of the 2 of us standing beside each other) but I pray that it is full of grace, and that the love of God overcomes the evil he's experienced.
The most amazing thing about these 2 places is the sense of contentment we found there. The volunteers and staff in both places do a great job loving these kids, and it was obvious. They knew grace, they knew love. We were not giving them something they weren't getting, even if they weren't getting it from their birth parents. That won't be the case tomorrow as we visit a couple of government-run orphanages, with 4 and 5 times the number of kids.
But the privates homes we visited today were as good as you can imagine an orphanage being. In fact, I often wonder if those Honduran saints that serve these children don't pull them in before we arrive and say, "now you know those needy Americans are about to be here. Their culture is a little funny, and they don't exactly know about love and grace the way we do, so we're going to show it to them. You love those American real hard."
And they did.