I’ve been to El Salvador more times than I can count (more than fifty). One would think that the experience would loose its luster after a while.
Lamitations 3:22-24 tells us that “His mercies never come to an end, they are new every morning”. That’s how my love for serving God in El Salvador is, he grants me new experiences and I learn new attributes of Him every time I come here.
Today we took 27 children from an orphanage to the beach. That may sound fun and easy, but these were all children that happened to have special needs, which made it a little more challenging. This was a very small team for Starfish, and we were greatly outnumbered, even counting our translators, and the six workers that the orphanage sent along to help.
These children were afflicted with everything from being HIV Positive, to some being blind, others autistic, and other various special needs, including 8 children in wheel chairs.
Day after day these children sit in their orphanage. Some of them probably dream about running and playing like other kids do. I am sure that they dream of being released from their wheel chairs. Some may wish that they had a friend that focused on them, for a whole day, maybe not even to speak, because some of them are deaf, but maybe they’ve longed for someone to take them by the hand and go wherever they wanted to go, even if that was in circles.
If that is what these Twenty-seven children were thinking of or hoping for, then today was the day!
We had the gift of getting to provide this kind of day for these children! It was such an honor to deliver this gift from God to them! The Starfish Orphan Ministry and Sus Hijos teams were able to take these children out of their wheel chairs, throw down walking sticks, hold the hands of others, and provide a wonderful day at the beach for these children.
Some of the kids preferred the sand between their toes, or to sit at the surfs edge, while others perfected the swimming pool. Both teams worked together to give these children the experience they’ve dreamed of! The kids had such a great time and so did our teams.
I looked around at one point and there were empty wheel chairs all around. What a beautiful sight! All I kept hearing in my head was “my chains are gone”!
One young Man yelled “hey Lilly” to our teams leader. “You should get in the water, because it takes all your troubles away”! I had to fight back tears! I wished I could tell him “this is only a glimpse of what Heaven is like, Cezar, only a tiny glimpse! One day there will be no need for wheel chairs like yours!”
While we were all a little nervous about taking so many children that had very severe needs, it was not difficult when we saw the smiles and heard the squeals of pure joy, then it wasn’t even an effort!
I don’t know that I’ve had a more satisfying day in El Salvador. I don’t want anyone to read this and say “that’s a great thing you all did”. I want people to read this and say “look what God did, and allowed you guys to be a part of”. I think everyone who was helping would agree with that. We were the ones most blessed! God is so good to allow us this experience! His mercies ARE new every morning!
If you are interested in going on a trip like this with Starfish Orphan Ministry, or if you want to help with local needs in the Paducah, KY area, please call 270-519-7340