Carl Sandberg once wrote, "A baby is God's opinion that the World should go on", and that is exactly the sense you get serving the children that we visited at the orphanage in Guatemala yesterday. As a dad, this has been the hardest 48 hours I believe I have ever experienced emotionally, how does a parent just abandon their child? That isn't the story for everyone of these children, but it is for so many. I was in shock to hear what many of these kids have suffered through, yet in a place that you would expect to find hopelessness prevalent, it was quite the opposite. So many of the children were full of such joy!
Maybe you're like me and always wondered how it was the Apostles could have such joy in spite of the most difficult of circumstances, these children are a living example of God's grace in action. Does God have us here for them, or does He have us here for us? We are certainly seeing God use us and the shoes that you have generously provided as the K-LOVE family through Shoes For Orphan Souls, but much more than that we are seeing why the Bible stresses the importance of loving and serving others, it changes you, it awakens every fiber of your soul, sure there is a cost that comes with serving others, but the reward is so much more valuable than whatever the cost may be.
So many of these girls touched our hearts, but God used two girls, in particular, to open my heart, 13 year old, Jarelyn and 17 year old, Catherine Melisa. We spent only a few hours with these girls, singing songs, playing games, sharing a Bible story, painting nails, washing their feet and giving them their shoes, but in those precious few hours, God moved. As we were preparing to leave, the girls each brought me a thank you note, declaring their gratitude for the shoes, which is the ONLY thing they own, but they declared their love for you, "Te Kiero Mucho" the letter said, "I love you very much". As our translator, Cynthia was reading the letters, I just wept; in closing Catherine wrote, "if you ever have problems, remember we serve a Great God." I am not often speechless, but all I could do was embrace these girls and thank them for the lesson they taught me yesterday. Before leaving we all prayed, and in praying, I promised that I would pray for them like I would my own children, I can honestly say that I have never done that before, but isn't that how we should pray for each other? How much different would we treat one another if we prayed for others as members of our own family? How much more grace would we offer to one another, if we loved each other that way. It is then that we are able to fulfill the two commandments that Jesus build the entire Gospel on, to first love God and then to love others.
If you have never experienced this, you must, and don't think the you have to leave the country to do it, you don't, there are people right in your hometown who need "you", and the love that you can offer them through Jesus. Yes, Jesus will use you, if you'll allow Him to, but more than that, He will use those that you are serving to transform "you".