This is the kids with whom Jesus is now staying.
All names have been changed in the story.
So many emotions went through my head yesterday. You see, I thought I was just going to help out a friend from the Rio and a couple hours later I'd return home. Good deed done and nothing different. Boy was I wrong. Diana, is a girl who must be 26 or 27 years old. She lives with her ~6 year old daughter and I think a boyfriend. Truth be told in my 3 years working at Rio 1 community (a poor neighborhood of wood, tin and scrape houses that people have built along a riverbed) I maybe have seen him a time or two. And the time I think I saw him, he was drunk. Diana is my friend. She is quiet and hardly speaks unless spoken to. Infact, I learned more about her and heard her speak more words yesterday that in the 3 years combined since I met her.
Meme, a Christian leader in Rio 1, had told me that Diana had a brother that wanted to go to a children's home and asked if I could help them get to Manantial de Amor. This home is about 20 minutes from there house and is one of the closest to them. I said sure, not really thinking through what I'd experience that day.
When I went to pick them up, I saw a smiley 12 year old boy who spoke few words. "It must run in the family." I thought. Diana was glad to see me and asked Sarah, her daughter, to hurry along as she went with us. They all chose to sit in the back sit giving me a chauffeur kind of feel to it. As we drove there, I tried to start the conversation with simple questions asking them if they had the paperwork they needed. Asking Jesus if he was nervous. To my surprise, he quickly answered "No." But Diana volunteered, "I am." When we got there Mama Cony asked "So are all 3 of you wanting to enter in the children's home. " Diana is not even 5 feet tall so I knew she asked innocently. We explained that Diana was there with her daughter Sarah to see if her brother Jesus could enter the children's home. It was then that the hard questions came.
"Do you have custody of your brother?" said the children's home worker.
"No, not really, but I'm the one responsible." answered Diana
"Where's your Mom?"
"She died 9 years ago?"
"And your Dad?"
"He abandoned us before Mom died,"
"Where is your Dad now?"
" He does drugs and is an alcoholic. Hard to say for sure."
"So Jesus has been living with you?"
"He has been living with me sometimes and my other sister sometimes. She is younger than I am. We can't afford to continue to raise him and he really wants to go to school."
The questioning continues to reveal that Diana is not married but her boyfriend hardly gives her enough to raise her daughter. As we sit there I realize, he has brought nothing but papers. You know birth certificate and school papers.
The worker says something that puts a lump in my throat.
"So let me see, his birthday is....tomorrow?:" He states but it almost comes out as a question.
What a 13th birthday memory he will have. I think to myslef.
As they finish the interview, he is brought two pairs of pants, 2 sets of underwear and 3 shirts. He is shown his bunk bed that will be his new home. The worker does a great job of explaining the responsibilities that the home has to him, including visiting rights that she will have. He explains that they want to maintain a strong relationship with him and his family. The lump comes back in my throat. He also explains responsibilities Diana has. Signing up Jesus for free public health insurance. Not taking him off the property for 15 days, etc.
When he finished. She looks to me and says, "Now what?" Her voice cracked. I was grateful that the worker answered quickly, "You can stay as long as you'd like but you'll need to say goodbye sometime. "
When it came time to say goodbye, Jesus seemed strong. Not seeming sad at all. I remember another kid that we work with once told me that he never gets homesick. The sad feeling that I felt when I heard that swept back over me as I wondered if he no longer gets homesick. Then I looked at Diana, I've never seen a lot of emotion on her face before either. But I could see it, she didn't want to show her hurt to her brother. You could see the effort she was putting into being strong for me. As for me I was crying for them both. I knew Jesus needed this home. I knew Diana was grateful for the opportunity her brother would have to go to school, and eat well. Still I also knew that if they could they would trade it all to be together. Today was Jesus' birthday. I found myself thinking and praying for him all day long.
"Do not be discouraged, Do not be afraid for I the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go." Joshua 1:9
I pray this promise over Jesus and all the kids that we serve. I have a new appreciation for the workers that don't just provide clothes and food. But so often are there to wipe away tears, listen, pray with and over children. To teach them that Jesus is the only one that can change lives. Sometimes we experience difficult times with others. I used to try and avoid it, now I see the blessing in being apart of the intimate moments of people lives. Yesterday I thought I was going to run a couple hour errand. But what God had for me changed my life. Lord, help me see what you have for me tomorrow.
sábado, 10 de septiembre de 2011
Recently we received a generous donation of 200 spanish Bibles to give to the children we serve here in Monterrey. These kids live in a children's home and share just about everything. Very little is their own. One our last visit to Manantial de Amor children's home Greg passed out the Gideon Bibles to the kids. Each one was so excited to have their very own. One boy told me he was going to place his under his bed so he could read it every night and morning. Most of us have possession that we love and cherish. Is your Bible somewhere we can read it every night and morning. I will not forget the excitement in his face.
For five years now, I've known the children of Manantial de Amor's children's home to be under three roofs. A boys home, a girl's home and a home in Villa Juarez. There are new laws in Mexico for children's homes and that has meant bringing some of the kids together under one roof. Right now these kids are at Villa Juarez waiting for construction to finish so that they can move to a B2B site called "La Tierra Prometids" or the Promised Land. The plan is that the kids would stay there for a year or two while we build there permanent location across the street.
One girl who just came to the home wrote a friend and told her, " I am very sad not to be with my grandma every day. But here we can get the love that we need, and we see grandma every weekend. Its very much like a family." Would you pray for these kids and there transition. Please pray for their new school, for living on one property, for their health physically, emotionally and spiritually. Thanks.
viernes, 2 de septiembre de 2011
Normally I would never post a picture of my mom like this, but I will always remember this day my mom fell and need stitches. Greg and I were home in Ohio for about 2 weeks in August. It never seems long enough to spend time with family and friends, especially when now my mom is in a nursing home. About 1/2 through the week at my in-laws I get a call from my sister that my mom fell as she tried to stand from her wheelchair hitting a spot above her eye causing her to get stitches and xrays just to make sure everything else was ok. I went quickly to meet my dad and sister at the hospital wondering if my mom would be in a worried state of mind or just out of it with the interruption in her routine. Since she was diagnosed with Parkinson's and Alzheimer's routine has been very important to her. As I entered the room, I was shocked to see my mom smiling away and surprised to see me. She immediately asked about Greg, my husband, and our three boys. She continued the questions with and how long will you stay this time. I was amazed not only with the clarity of her thinking, but the ability to recall my family and that we had traveled from Mexico. For the next four to five hours we visited with my mom as if she was a new. The mom I remembered, witty, compassionate, social and pleasant. She greeted nurses and lab techs and doctors as if they had entered into her personal living room. Physically she was a site to behold as you see in this picture taken a few days later, but mentally she was as clear as she has been for a long while. When we all returned from the hospital to the nursing home the head nurse as us if we had noticed a difference in Mom's mental capacity. She too had seen the clarity and calmness in mom that morning as they waited for transportation to the hospital. My Dad and I stayed with my mom for another hour or so until I had to leave. At the end of our visit, you could see my mom slipping back into her hallucinations and confusion. I had the chance to see my mom on several other occasions while we were home however she was never as clear as that day. I praise God for the miracle He gave me of that special day with my mom. It seemed like such a small thing that one could easily overlook. But for me it was a big miracle that only God orchestrates. Praise God for such a special gift to me.