Tomorrow the team will be taking the children from the Special Needs orphanage, San Martin, to the beach! What a blessing that will be! Would you please pray for patience and energy for the team? After an extremely busy day and a late night of feeding the homeless, they are bound to be exhausted!
Our group of 11 plus our translators and other missionaries loaded the van and headed to the mountain to see a beautiful senior citizens home. A doctor left his property and an endowment to construct a model community for the elderly and someday soon an orphanage that promotes interaction with the two groups. Financial ability is not an issue here. There are so many beautiful smiling faces at Ciudadela. I love that concept. Orphans with no grandparents or families learning from the elderly while helping them to meet their physical and emotional needs. I was privileged to meet a 91 year old man who was rich with stories. He was such a blessing to me. I held his hand and we spoke to each other as the we were life long friends. We did crafts with the residents and left their favorite, "mister donuts."
In the middle of El Salvador is a lovely orphanage run by the catholic church. It was incredibly organized and immaculately kept. The Nuns patiently explained their challenges and needs. I hope someday that we can help them to meet some of their needs. I met a young lady there who was only four. She was beautiful with large almond eyes and gorgeous curly black hair. I watched her for a while and noticed a sadness in her that the other children didn't display. Finally, the head of the orphanage approached me and explained that beautiful Katherine has leukemia and is still very ill from a treatment. I wanted to wrap my arms around her and run. I wanted to be her "mama." I thought about the injustice that she had to fight the disease without a loving family to surround her. Then I remembered that our heavenly father loves her more than I could ever love her. We all held hands in the hallway and prayed for that precious child.
In the afternoon we headed to St. Martin, a home for people with special needs. They are beautiful in a different way than I would usually consider people beautiful. The simplicity of their wants and needs make them delightful to know. Pablito lives there. He is a precious man with downs syndrome. Laura had fallen in love with him and helped him find a diagnosis and treatment for his illness. Today he walks around in her sunglasses and thinks he is a movie star. Kike is a boy who was used as a drug mule. When I saw him in February he was confined to the bed as he moaned in excruciating pain. Today thanks to therapy and prayer he is sitting up, eating soft food, and even taking one or two steps alone with his walker. Ahhh, progress. Derek was so cute dancing with the young people. Eliza helped with crafts and most of the residents made necklaces with crosses and beads. But the highlight of our visit had to be David saying "Roll Tide Roll" under the direction of some very devout Alabama fans.
Next door we visited the Aids orphanage where Cassidy entertained the young children with a puppet show. Our precious interpreter, Jenny, read to them. Callie taught them how to do cartwheels and backbends. They loved playing in their backyard with the guys. Tug of war was there favorite. As they all finally fell over entangled with our team members, we erupted in laughter and it was a perfect end to our visit.
After dinner, we prepared over 140 meals for the homeless. OK Here comes the part about being excited and scared and overwhelmed. Imagine people with nothing, no really nothing. Weathered faces, ragged clothes, toothless smiles exhausted from the attempt to stay alive. When they hear the roar of the diesel truck they know that Kurt is bringing another team with food. One elderly lady graciously accepted her gift then lifted her hands to the Lord to give thanks. A true vision of what Thessalonians 5:18 means. One young boy of about ten ran to the side of our truck begging for food. His feet were bare and his clothes were so so big. Our hearts broke but his spirits were lifted when Laura threw the tennis shoes off her feet to him. Laura returned home barefoot but we all learned a lot about giving.
Tonight I am writing this with a list of about hundred things racing through my mind. There is so much to do here. I hope if you are reading this you will join us by doing whatever God leads you to do. It will change your life and grow your heart!.."- Jackie Smith