So today I had the opportunity to meet our sponsor child, Carlos. It was honestly the best day of my life thus far.
As we stepped off the bus I saw one of the translators pointing us it to him and I was just so happy to see him standing there. Then they sent he kids off and the all ran right at us and hugged us. I've never seen such a beautiful event. I mean, these kids, who we have never met and barely know, are running at us with love and open arms with such joy. Although we speak different languages and live in different countries, we all worship the same God and that has just been shown through these children and their families.
I would never had thought that I would have the chance to meet him. It was the biggest blessing. We played soccer, had swimming races, jumped into the pool together and just had a great time! It was very hard to leave him when it was time to go. Both my dad and I were crying and we were all hugging. We prayed with him and his grandma and they told us about things they needed prayer for. It was so hard to hear about the struggles that they have and they illness in their family. Carlos had dressed up for the day and it's so unbelievable to think that he doesn't live in a nice home and he lives in a country that is FULL of poverty. Then I told him that I love him and God loves him and that was just the best thing to be able to tell him to his face that I love him, and not just through a letter.
So in all today, I very much felt the presence of God through Carlos. He had so much energy and he had all these questions for us and even though we couldn't always talk to each other, we connected and communicated in different ways. I really felt so much love for him today and it was the hardest thing saying good bye. But I know that he loves us just as much as we love him and we've only met once but through the love of Christ and our same faith, I now have a new brother that I am more than happy to welcome into my family.
Thursday, April 10, 2014
Today I was gifted with the opportunity to spend the day with my sponsor child. When we got out of the bus, there all our kids were, waiting with signs with our names on them in bold lettering. As we stood outside the bus waiting for everyone to unload, you could feel the excitment grow by the second. Then the first name was called and the most wonderful sight was seen. The children with that name ran out across the field as their sponsor ran from the opposite direction and fell on there knees in the middle of the field to hug three beautiful children that had run as fast as they could to wrap their slim arms around her. When my name was called I saw my beautiful girl take off running with our other little boy looking for me and my family. For the first time I cried joyful tears, praising God for the wonderful gift He had given me. I hugged her with as much love as I have ever felt before as tears were running down my face. It was the first time I was able to hold my gorgeous girl in my arms and tell her I love her. This moment will forever stay in my mind and everytime I look back on it my eyes fill with happy tears that I didn't even know were there. Now whenever I have a bad day all I have to do is embrace this moment and remember that somewhere in this world there is a beautiful little girl named Yency who loves me and an amazing God that had planned this all out before I was even born. I now have a new chapter in my book to share with you all in this great journey the Lord has prepared for me.
What an amazing day getting to meet my sponsor children in real life. My one kid named Alonso was very busy! I don't even think my sisters have as much energy as him! On Wednesday I had the privilege to go to meet one of my Aunt Sandra's sponsor children Marvin at his house. Today once he noticed that I was there he asked me to go down a slide with him and that one time turned into a very big number of times. I don't think I have ever seen a bigger smile than I did that day. Bernice my grandmas sponsor child also got to come and spend the day with us. I think I will always have a picture in my head of her smiling while my mom pulled her around the pool. Our other sponsor child Yenci loved my sister Tali and spent the whole day swimming and playing with her. The hardest part of the day was saying good bye to my new best friends. I will always remember them.
I'm lost for words. As a person who rarely stops talking, this is a different feeling.
These last two days specifically have been a rollercoaster of mixed emotions. With the highs being so high that cloud nine seemed too low, and lows being so low that you feel like your heart alone weighs 100 pounds.
Yesterday, I had the blessing of meeting my sponsor child Adriana. We were welcomed into the project with such enthusiasm that I couldn't focus on anything in particular. I remember seeing Sandra with her sponser child who had a sign with her name, and I thought to myself, maybe mine's at school, maybe I'll meet her later, or maybe today is not the day that God has chosen for us to meet.
That was when I looked up and saw Erin's face through the crowd of children, and her eyes were smiling - I followed her line of sight up to the front of the church, where in the midst of an abundance of children - was my sweet Adriana. She was holding up a sign with my name on it. Most of the next 3 minutes is a blur remembered through tears. I remember thinking "that's mine, she's mine" and then those thoughts turned into me patting my chest and saying louder and louder, "she's mine, she's mine!" As I struggled to rip off my pack, my water bottle holder and even my camera came flying off my shoulders as I tried my best to get to her as fast as I could. Luckily, Cara was nice and close by so she caught my camera in the midst of it all. I have never had such happy tears in all of my life. When I hugged her I felt like the world was right, like my life at this point could be complete and I would be happy.
It took her time to warm up to me, but I am so thankful that I was able to spend all day yesterday with her because this morning when we showed up to the park for our fun day with them she ran right into my arms. The rest of today was spent hearing her sweet laughter and her high pitched little voice calling "breenaa". I pray that today will not be the last day that I see her.
God is good. God is great.
And I have been witness to that this week more than any other.
I think I found my words.
Yesterday, I helped build the houses. I drilled, and even dug a hole in the extremely hard ground. I worked alongside the women from the area which are some of the hardest working women I have ever met. They get right in there and do whatever needs to be done.
Today I helped with some building but focused more on getting to know the people. I met some around my age as well as some precious younger kids. It's amazing, as soon as you pull out some candy and elastics for bracelets you are instantly surrounded. After doing that for a little while, I went with some of the ladies on the team and some of the locals down to the river. We met some women who were doing their laundry in the river, and I went in and helped them. It's hard work but it's fun and they do it so quickly. I think they thought it was funny as we tried to do it.
The week goes by fast, but I know that the next two days are going to be exciting and I'm looking forward to see what's in store.
One of my favourite things to do is riding on the back of the truck. I love standing up on the post at the front and looking out over everything. I guess it's the perspective really, you get to see everything. I look around and see all these faces and I want to get to know all of them.
On the right is my buddy Kevin who stayed with me the whole day :)
I never told anyone this, but I had a deep rooted fear of seeing extreme poverty first hand. I had seen pictures and videos, but I feared being in the midst of it. I never feared what it was, but I did fear is what it might do to me.
Extreme poverty bothered me so much, that I felt like being in it, smelling and tasting it, would easily defeat my spirit. I think I never wanted to TRULY see and feel how the chains of poverty destroyed hope and joy.
So far in this journey, I have yet to feel defeat. I have yet to feel dismay. I have now sat in the homes of two families who barely have means to survive with basic supplies. Life here is constant work to provide basic needs that I have NEVER even had to think about, ever.
In the midst of sights that words don't do justice, I keep seeing peace, joy and love of His people. Karen Allen said 'there's no personal space here with these people'.....
What's the difference?
The difference is Jesus.