Today was our second full day in El Salvador and we spent it at CIPI. This is my first time in El Salvador and witnessing first hand true poverty and orphan life. It is almost impossible to describe the total waves of emotions that ran through me today. The first part of the day was spent in the special needs section. I had seen videos and heard talks about special needs from other countries but nothing could prepare me for this. There were very few toys and the children spent the majority of the day under a concrete pavilion. The Tia's were sweet and did the best they could. In all this God was present in the joy the children had over the small things we did. I had the blessing of taking one of these precious children to swing and the joy on her face could only be by God. This was also found by the smiles, squeals, and laughter the children had over the bubbles. This was a powerful lesson that God is in the small stuff.
The second part of the day was spent in the teenage girls section. We were greeted with hugs as was accustom to this culture. I quickly realized though that these prolonged hugs were much more than just the culture. As we painted there fingernails some of the girls almost sat on top of us as they waited. Others would take off their polish and get them done over again just for the attention. They craved the small act of personal attention and touch. This was so different then in America. It was emotionally and mentally overwhelming.
In closing I reflect on a statement my pastor made a couple of weeks ago. You do not truly understand missions until you go. This statement could not be more powerful and true. My mind and heart are challenged and it is only day two.