I have been coming to El Salvador for 7 years, and I never cease to have my heart broken. You might wonder why I continue to return. I also never cease to see Jesus in what society considers "the least of these". Seven years ago I went into an orphanage here and we were told that we needed to split our group in half and some go to the baby area and the rest go to the special needs area. I wanted so badly to go to the nursery, but felt led to go to the special needs area. I went to the baby area. Five minutes later someone entered the room and said "we need one more person in Special Needs". I knew that was me, and I went. I had zero experience with special needs children, and when I saw the young ones with contorted bodies, and limbs the size of what you would see on a new born baby, I was terrified to pick them up. My friend, Kathy picked up the child that appeared to be in the very worst condition, her name was Ruby. Kathy picked Ruby up and sang to her, as if she were the most beautiful child ever!
We thought Ruby might die that day, because of the difficulty she had with each breath. I held other precious children that day, and I finally held sweet Ruby. I prayed that God might take her right in that moment, so that she would be out of her misery. I guess His answer was " no" because I held sweet Ruby again today. She is older now, and in an orphanage with much better care, because there are more workers per child. Ruby still seems to struggle with every breath. They told me today that the doctor is concerned about the severe curvature of her spine, and that if it continues to worsen, he thinks she may die.
I saw them give her a bath and brush her teeth, and was amazed at the new level of care she's getting. I prayed that all the children with special needs that we know and love here could get that kind of care, or better yet, have the love of a real family. Rocking Ruby, I told her how much Jesus loves her, I had the privilege of telling her (I spoke in English, and most people would doubt that she could even understand Spanish) that the Bible says that the first will be last and the "last" would be first, some day, and that means that she will sit right near Jesus. I once again cried and cried over her twisted body, and I thanked God for the love he has placed in my heart for these truly special children! They have changed my life, and the direction of Starfish Orphan Ministry. Starfish serves children in need, but we always seem to be especially drawn to the extra special ones.
We left the orphanage after I met with the director, who showed me that they have only one house type washer and one bigger dryer that work, and they care for 52 children with varying degrees of special needs. They also are in dire need of a coupe of hot water heaters. I also got to see their physical therapy area which was sparse. Starfish will be trying to raise money to meet those needs.
We went to the new Sus Hijos transition home for girls who age out of orphanages. We had gone earlier in he week and bought cleaning supplies, housewares, storage containers, shower curtains, fans, dishes, pillows e.c.t. We got to give it a good cleaning, and got started on making it look like a home! This place will provide hope and a future for girls with no where to go but the streets!
Tomorrow we are taking boys age 10 and up , from the government ran boy's orphanage to eat pizza and to go bowling! We will also have some talks and activities with them, it should be a very special day for them and us too!