Thursday was emotional to say the least. We learned earlier in the week that the children at Casita Adonai were giving Caroline a Princess Party for her birthday. At first we were hesitant. We’ve never wanted Caroline to be in the spotlight when it comes to this ministry. But it was so obvious that the teachers and students had worked hard to make this happen and the party was for them as much as it was for Caroline.
I talked to her the night before and tried to explain that there would be a party the next day for her. She was confused. Why would they give her a party? When reality hit she began jumping up and down and smiling. Then she said “Has Delmy been planning this?” “Of course” I said. “Well, I want to write her a note and tell her how much I love her!”
And then Thursday came. The moment Caroline opened her eyes she began running to the bathroom. Bless her heart, she was so sick. We managed to get a shower and get dressed and thankfully we made it to the school without any accidents. She felt horrible. When the door opened I could not believe my eyes! Seventy kids were standing on both side of the entry way, in beautiful prince and princess outfits. Delmy had been able to collect them from visits to the states. They were precious!
The party included songs and dances from the kids, a huge Cinderella piñata and cake. The teachers had worked so hard. They cut out and pasted pictures of princesses onto white Styrofoam cups. Every detail was done with love. What a joy to watch these kids having fun! Caroline was a little overwhelmed, especially while she was serving the kids their snack. Many of them reached into their bags of candy from the piñata and gave her pieces as a gift. She said, “Mommy, these kids probably don’t get candy very often and they’re giving me some from their bag.”
Caroline was born in June, 2003 while we were with a team in Guatemala. We didn’t know until we returned to the states that she had been born while we were there. Because of that timing, there have been plenty of birthdays where we have been with teams in Guatemala while she has been at home with Grandparents. We’ve always celebrated her birthday before we leave, but in very small ways. The party that Casita Adonai gave her was such a gift.
We had been praying for a breakthrough with the teachers at the school. Earlier in the week Esme worked with them on strategies for their classrooms while the rest of us painted their classes and worked on the mural. It takes a while to build relationships, especially with a language barrier. We had asked the Lord to fill that gap and help us connect with the teachers. It happened Thursday! After the party they stood around the team as we worked on the mural. One team member offered one of the teachers a paint brush and before we knew it, they were all painting with us! It was a great team building exercise and we could see the teachers making the mural their own. We finished the afternoon at the school with a pizza party for the teachers and the team. Who can’t bond when Domino’s is involved?!
Rosa de Amor
Thursday evening we drove about 45 minutes to a home called Rosa de Amor. From what we understand, this lady began taking in girls who had been abused. Before she knew it, her house was full. The project has very little support. The youngest was 6 and the oldest in her teens. These girls have been abused physically, mentally and sexually by their parents. We were told of one 10 year old who was sold for sex by her parents so that they could support their alcohol addiction. Several of the girls have babies, a result of incest. The youngest with a baby was 13. Several have been rescued from prostitution.
Most were extremely loving and the Director was quick to tell us that God is making a difference in these girls’ difficult lives. Lisa shared a short devotional about God’s unconditional love and ability to heal. The team did a craft with the girls and fitted them for new shoes. Each person in the home received a basket of goodies. We presented each of them with a starfish necklace – a reminder of how much God loves them. And then the women on our team layed hands on the girls as Delmy prayed for them. Many of them sobbed. It was such a precious time.
I wish you could have heard the conversation from two of the men in the back of the bus as we drove back to the apartments. The things they wished they could do to the men who had hurt these precious girls. As we debriefed we were reminded once again that God is the God of justice. Vengeance is His. And He will deal with all who oppress children.
The needs are overhwhelming, to be honest. As we shared with Delmy last night we realized that God is narrowing our focus in Guatemala. There is much work to be done. We can’t do it all. But God has a part for us individually and as a ministry. He is giving us a clear focus.
Friday will be our last day in Guatemala. We’ll give the kids a party – complete with Giant Pinatas. The parents will learn about the Five Love Languages of their children and we will finish our work projects around the church. In the afternoon several ladies from the team will minister to the ladies of the church. Friday night we will debrief.
There is a part of us that is sad to leave Guatemala. So much to be done. But it will happen, in God’s time. With the support of people like you. Much of the team is ready to go home. Several have been sick the entire two weeks. Please pray with us for energy and safety as we travel home Saturday. We are so appreciative of your love and support!