I am on my way home from Guatemala….. reflecting on the past week, hoping and praying that my own life will be different. For many years I have yearned to be moved by the things that break the heart of God. I’ve even asked Him to break my heart that I might be able to love others through His heart….that I might see others as He does. This trip has been an answer to that prayer and I have felt His love for the people of Guatemala – especially for the children. Although it has been heartbreaking to see the suffering and how very little the children have – it has been strangely comforting to be so close to God’s heart. To hear that it is the norm for a mother to lock her four year old and two year old inside all day while she goes and tries to earn $1 a day, is hard to comprehend. To know and see how these mothers love their children and are not even able to provide for their basic needs, is so sad.
I am so encouraged by the Caroline’s Promise child sponsorship project that helps pay for a child to attend the private Christian school called Casita Adonai. For $35 a month you provide most of the tuition, uniform and books. I love that the parents are expected to pay a small portion of tuition so that they are also contributing to their child’s education. The children are served a good meal and loved, encouraged and taught by precious teachers.
We were given the honor to spend time with the teachers. I was able to share ideas for teaching art on a limited budget with very few resources. This was so fun! It became clear to me on this trip that God does indeed have plans for me to use my art background along with my social work background to offer hope and healing to His children.
We spent an unforgettable evening at a house called Kairos, meaning “In God’s Timing.” This is a house for children who are sick and undergoing treatment from the hospital. Some have walked four hours to get there. There is no cost for them to stay in this very simple home filled with love. Often times the house itself is much nicer than their own home. We served a meal and we did art with the children and their families. These children were very sick yet smiling with grateful hearts. After we prayed a mother of one of the children grabbed my hand and we were both crying. Her little girl had no hair and the mother looked at me as if to say “Please don’t go.” I just held her for a minute – sharing in her sorrow – loving her – so close to the heart of God. What an honor to share in the sufferings of His dear children.
When we were leaving and in our van I wept from deep in my soul – for a moment I know my heart was in touch with the compassionate heart of God.
I hope and pray as I get home I will live my life differently – stop saying…..one of my dreams is to do art with children in poor neighborhoods…..that I will not wait any longer but will begin my plans for doing this. I am passionate about the sponsorship program and have seen first hand what $35 a month will do for these precious children. I have met them, played with them and loved them. If these children are not sponsored they will have to go to a public school, or no school and will be targeted for gangs, trafficking, drugs, etc because of their vulnerability. The children love Casita. It is safe, nurturing and filled with God’s hope and love!