Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Costa Rica Mission: Day #4

There really aren't words to fully describe our day today. 

This morning we visited another orphanage. ...but it really shouldn't be called an orphanage. Rather than being government owned, this place was a private, Christian home. These children weren't orphans, but dearly loved, adopted children. 

As soon as we arrived, it was obvious we were in a different environment than the previous two orphanages. The children were excited to see us, and wanted to play with us, but it was obvious they knew LOVE. They have LOVING parents, and they know the LOVE of our Heavenly Father. 

Again, we blew bubbles, enjoyed crafts, played outside, and LOVED these little children. After sharing our puppet show, and singing lots of songs, we had the opportunity to talk with their "mom" and hear her story. 

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Although she was never wealthy, and couldn't provide the same comforts some families would have been able to provide, when her daughter became sick and was in the hospital, the doctors encouraged her to take in the abandoned boy who lay in the bed next to her daughter. With unwavering faith, she took the leap, and welcomed that boy into her home. Both her daughter and the boy overcame their sickness, and since then, over two hundred other children have called her mom. 

Hearing the stories of her love for these children, and hearing how some of them came to live with her, was overwhelming. Yet, I couldn't help but be in awe of her steadfast faith. For all that she has done, to HIM be the GLORY. 

The afternoon was emotional in a very different way. We knew we would be delivering food to a poor village, but had no idea the extent of their poverty; "poor" doesn't even begin to describe the things that we saw. 

On our way there, we stopped at the mercado. For $15.00 we bought rice, black beans, salt, sugar, corn, tomato sauce, milk, pasta, and oil; basic items for the families we would visit.  

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Before actually visiting the village, we met with the Pastor who has been working in the area for the past seven years. He explained the severe suffering of these refugees from Nicaragua. The girls often become involved in child prostitution as young as eleven years old. It isn't strange to see thirteen year old girls that are pregnant or for women of just seventeen to have three or four children, all with different dads. The men are often involved in drugs or alcohol and domestic violence is not unusual.

There were strict rules for being in the village. Adults were scattered throughout the line and we walked boy, girl, boy, girl as we delivered the food. All of our belongings were left on the bus. We left wallets, watches, and jewelry; it was important for the villagers to see we carried nothing but food. 

None of us knew what to expect, and none of us were prepared for what we saw. We could only squeeze about half of our group into the first house; one room served as a living area, a kitchen, a dining room, everything. An opening, only about a foot wide, led to a much smaller room that served as a bedroom. The room looked about the size of a kitchen table. Most of their possessions looked like something most if us would consider trash. 

As we continued from house to house, the conditions only worsened. We saw a home that housed fifteen people and was smaller than my bedroom. Kidd noticed a boy attempting to repair his gym shoes with a nail and string. The "streets" were littered with shards of glass, chip bags, soda bottles. The smell was overwhelming.

Yet, they had FAITH in His LOVE. The houses we visited were often homes of single moms who were dealing with both physical and emotion sickness, violence, and other difficulties, but they had faith that our Heavenly Father would provide. 

We have everything, and there are times we struggle to believe. They have nothing, yet their strength in The Lord is sure. 

“Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.  And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s LOVE has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.  But, God demonstrates His own LOVE for us in this: while we were still sinners, Christ died for us."  
Romans 5:3-5 and 8

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