“If you throw us in the fire, the God we serve can rescue us from your roaring furnace and anything else you might cook up. Bur even if He doesn’t, it wouldn’t make a bit of a difference. We still wouldn’t serve your gods or worship the gold statue you set up.” -Daniel 3:18
Imagine being confined to a 15x10 room from sunrise to sunset. You eat lunch there, you sleep there. You do everything in there. If you behave all day you might get to step outside of the locked door for a half hour. Imagine waking up every day in this situation, a metaphorical jail, even though you have done nothing to deserve it. This is what the children at the orphanage we visited today, live with every day of their lives until they age out at 18 years old. This center houses a small number of young boys and multiple teenage mothers and their babies. Mission trips are not always easy. Today we were able to understand just how difficult it is to live under these circumstances. Today we had the privilege to spend all day playing and talking with the orphans living at The center
At age 18 all children “age out” of the orphanage and are set out to fend for themselves, often on the streets regardless if they have a baby or not. Not all of teenage moms we met today became pregnant by choice. Many were either raped, included in sex trafficking, or in prostitution. Either way, the mother is kicked out of the orphanage at age 18 under every circumstances. Today we met a pregnant young woman who was expectant to give birth 2-3 months after she ages out of the system. She will be not only raising a child by herself, but she will be living on the streets, possibly even giving birth on the streets. Can you even imagine?
After a long day at The center, we headed home to begin preparing to feed the homeless.
The number of people living homeless on the streets is uncountable. No matter how many sacks of food are packed, there will never be enough to feed every single hungry person. That was the case tonight. Herds of people surrounded the truck at the sound of “comida,” and were all so thankful to be receiving a bag of food. However, tonight we had 25 people waiting in line for food and others still running towards the truck when we ran out of food.
It always shocks me how thankful these people are. We met a man who spoke surprisingly good English, and quickly learned that he was from Ohio. He had been deported. As I sit here and type, it is almost impossible for me to not think how that could've have been me. For some reason God saw fit for me to be born in the United States, to have a family who loves me, and not have to worry about where my next meal will come from. For some reason God saw fit for me to not worry about how I will manage to take care of myself and a newborn baby on the streets after aging out of the orphanage system. I can’t help but think “why me?”. And for the same reason, God saw fit for all these people to live on the streets in San Salvador.
We have it so good in the United States, whether we realize it or not. Even our “worst” of days spent complaining about the wifi being out or not getting Pizza Inn for dinner pale in comparison to what the people we met today go through on a daily basis. My challenge to you, whomever you may be, is to realize how thankful you are. Pray for these people. Pray for them to realize that through all, He is still good and graceful and so so loving.