Saturday, April 6, 2013

Friday: Bowling Fun with the Boys

The team had a great day with the boys yesterday! They spent some time at the orphanage, then took them out for an afternoon of fun! After lunch they taught the boys to bowl!

The group is now on their way home; Sad to leave their friends but thankful for the many blessings God has delivered this week. Thank you all for following along on this journey to serve His children!

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Thursday; Old Friends & New Beginnings

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!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

The happiest, sad place on Earth...

Today was the day that I have been looking the most forward to. The happiest sad place on earth. San Martin. I have never experienced such joy and despair all in one area. The grassy area which holds the "kids" that can walk, some can talk, but they ALL can dance. Then the houses which have the kids who are so physically and/or mentally handicapped that they cannot leave their houses. Some, even their rooms. Who sleep and rock and moan their days away. Such joy yet such despair.

Today we danced the hours away. We had the drum band come in and play for half an hour. Oh the fun and joy these people experienced for a few minutes. The famous David never stopped moving but every few minutes would fan himself and yell out his need for "AGUA"!! But yet he didn't need it bad enough to stop dancing. These people who can not take care of themselves completely but yet they take pride in helping the others who can't get around as well as they can. Pushing some in wheelchairs, feeding some who cant feed themselves. We should all learn from them. Yes, we all have our problems but we should never stop helping others. The smallest of things make them so so happy. A bandaid, a tattoo (temporary!), a balloon animal, a treat bag, or just someone to hold their hand and dance to Justin Beiber with them. Worth more than a million dollars to these sweet innocent people. I love some San Martin.

We also visited the AIDS orphanage. Very similar to San Martin in the way of such despair for some of these kids but they have such joy in life. Joy in someone giving them cookies and juice, or decorating a backpack with them, spinning them around in circles, or playing tag, or putting on tattoos, etc. These kids who have so much to be sad about are happy. One girl wrote a note that said "thank you for sharing your time with me so that I could forget what was wrong with me for a little while." (Paraphrased) They are so happy with just time and attention given to them. Don't we all crave love and attention? I learn so much from these children of God. It only takes Him to be happy. Sharing Him and loving Him and receiving His love and loving others. That is all we need to do in life to be happy. ~ Merany

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Tuesday - Village Life!

Well, today is our 3rd full day of our trip, which means it is already half over! The time goes so fast - there is so much we want to do! We began, and spent most of, our day on a mountaintop that I'm really not sure is on the map. We travelled about 45 minutes to reach our destination. There is so much I'd like to share and give you a visual of....the muddy pigs, the skinny cows, the makeshift houses and outdoor toilets...even dirty little barefoot kids running up the steep, rocky slopes without getting the least bit winded. However, the real picture is that of life, of humanity, of people having needs on that mountain just like anywhere else in the world. We carried sacks of beans, rice, and flour and Bibles to every household we could reach, sharing the Gospel in word and in deed. The women were standing, some barefoot, in the dust and heat, receiving our news and treats. The men were around here and there too. We saw a couple of schools and, as classes dismissed, more children appeared. Some followed us, while others climbed trees to watch us. After gathering everyone together, there were songs and games and dancing. Clothes, flip-flops, and toys were handed out, but we were the ones blessed! I can't remember ever feeling as worthless and useless in God's Kingdom as I realized today that I am. He doesn't need me. He is God. I need Him. And I need Him to use me. I WANT Him to use me. Not just on a mountaintop village in El Salvador, but at home, at work, every day. What a trip. Literally....