I walked into Martas' house and tried to hide my shock. There were sharp pieces of metal sheeting strapped together to create walls, a thin rag for a window and it all sat threatening to slide off the side of a cliff.
As we stood at her door waiting to give her some food and basic necessities, I couldn’t have prepared myself for what I was about to see.
She welcomed us into a tiny house full of beautiful, dirty, smiling girls.
Every day I spend here in Honduras with Point of Impact, the more amazed I am at the staff that hides behind the scenes.
Each of them have a unique passion and their stories need to be told. I'm featuring the story of a different staff member each week. Head over to the POI blog to read this weeks post.
That was me. I went on a mission trip and decided that is what I wanted to do with my life. Whenever life at home is hard— I fall back on the fantasy of living in another country.
Now I am here in Tegucigalpa, Honduras— no I’m not living here for good, but I am living in an orphanage of 8 girls and one house mom for two months, and it’s far from a fantasy.
We wake up every morning at 5 am to make breakfast for the girls as they grab it and rush off to school. While I go to work in the neighborhoods, the house mom stays at the house all day cleaning and cooking. When the girls get home they eat an unusually late lunch, do homework, watch some TV and head to bed to begin it all again. Little things like buying groceries or getting needed clothes are difficult since we share a car with the boys orphanage and must bring along all 8 girls wherever we go.
Breaks are rare. As I write this post the girls are pressing buttons on my computer, asking questions, and singing in Spanish. For the house mother, this is her reality. She doesn't go out with friends or shopping for new clothes… her life is not about herself.
I’m not climbing mountains, discovering cures for diseases, or adventuring through new places. Life here becomes much like the routine at home that prompts me to dream of living here.
Now there are some differences in the routine. These aren't normal girls— some grew up stealing so they could buy food, some had prostitutes for mothers, and others were told their whole lives they were worthless. You can imagine the difficulties in raising these girls as they heal from such deep scars.
We have to lock the pantry because the girls will keep eating until they are sick. The house mom told me its a psychological problem because as kids, they never knew where their next meal would come from.
Yes, there are some beautiful moments- slumber parties in the basement, piles of pancakes for breakfast, serving together, and occasional sappy moments. But for the most part…its hard.
This is a hard story to write because there is no happy ending.
I met her six years ago when we held a dinner for prostitutes. I wasn't used to being close to the Lord then. I felt him so clearly telling me to pray for this woman. I was terrified to pray for a prostitute, who I had just met, and who only spoke spanish.
But I did, and we both shook with tears.
That night she left and I didn't think I would ever see her again.
Today I watch little 5-year-old Ruth run around the house with an old cheerleading skirt and a shirt that doesn't match. She throws around a deflated ball and giggles as she runs around the house jabbering some Spanish that I don't understand.
In spite of this opportunity to rest and be thankful-- I am overwhelmed.
This is something I have struggled with in most seasons of my life. Usually I'm overwhelmed with classes, work and all the exciting responsibilities that come with being an adult.
Here in Honduras I am overwhelmed because there is so much I don't understand.
But today, the feeling of being overwhelmed hit me in my moment to rest.
As I sat and watched little Ruth chase her ball-- I let my worries and fears overtake my thoughts, and I ended up missing what was right in front of me.
Our all-sufficient El Shaddai invites us to rest in his perfect provision. There is no need for me to be overwhelmed, but rather to find the childlike laughter and trust of little Ruth.
I still don't understand the poverty and pain that seems to uncover itself more and more each day I am here. I don't understand how there is joy and generosity in spite of such desolation. I don't understand why bad things happen to certain people and not to others--and I don't understand why these eight precious girls I live with are orphans.
But I think that's ok.
I'm learning to seek trust instead of answers and to slow down just enough to trust for the moment. None of us know what the next year, the next month, the next day or even the next hour will hold.
Will you join with me as I slowly learn from little Ruth to find trust and thankfulness in the moment?
Stacks of pancakes, crusty pans and sticky fingers at 5 am.
This is a typical morning in the girls orphanage.
Its hard for me to understand waking up 2 hours early just to enjoy breakfast.
I think people here in Honduras understand something most Americans spend their entire lives trying to find. Despite all of the sadness and poverty in this city, there is a joy and appreciation for the little things unlike I have ever seen.