I can’t believe that it has actually been months since the last time we’ve posted. Those months literally feel like days. Well, maybe more like weeks. Hmm, and months are a combination of weeks so ok, it’s been months! And boy oh boy have we had some full ones! After my last post I wanted to keep everyone constantly updated on the orphanage, but frankly, I think I got into a bit of a rut. I wanted my next post to be in all caps, RICHAR HAS BEEN MOVED TO A HAPPY AND SAFE HOME AND WE HAVE SINGLEHANDEDLY ENDED ALL SUFFERING IN NUEVA ESPERANZA! When that wasn’t how things were unfolding, I didn’t know what to do. And more than anything I just wanted to BE there. I wanted to be hearing the kids’ stories and breaking up fights and teaching them stepping routines and being a consistent person in their lives. But I have many, many other responsibilities. A month or so ago, Sean had a sit down with me in which he said that he knows how much I want to be there but if I really want to make a difference in the lives of these kids I need to form a plan. Ugh, totally right. So, I’ve spent a lot of time since then thinking about how I really need to start coming up with a plan. And thinking about it. And thinking some more. I guess I should actually call it daydreaming because my thoughts were completely without direction!
The jump start that I needed has finally come – I recently gave a tour to a small Heart to Honduras group and one of the guys, Keith, was greatly moved by his experience there. And thankfully, Keith seems to be more of doer than a thinker! The goal is to have groups of Honduran volunteers visiting the orphanage one day every week to teach VBS, play with and get to know the kids. This will hopefully start in September. I visited yesterday with a Pastor from Choloma, Honduras and he and his wife were shocked by the scarcity of resources and the fact that the kids are kept in their rooms for hours during the day instead of being outside playing. Their response was “When can we start?” It’s so encouraging to see a need and immediately know that they want to be part of meeting it. Please pray for us as we talk to other Pastors about getting their church involved in the center. I want to continue bringing groups of North Americans whenever I can but the reality is that these kids need to have some people consistently coming back and forming relationships with them. And that can only happen with Hondurans!
Some photos of recent happenings:
The 2nd week of July brought 2 amazing blessings. Debby Skidmore and Megan Elliot, girls I graduated with from Malone came here for 2 weeks to work with the kids. I’ve talked to Debby once since graduation – Megan not at all. Megan and I became Facebook friends in June. She read this blog and sent me a message saying “This may be crazy, but I want to come.” A month later I was picking her and Debby up from the airport! Totally amazing. We had such a great time reconnecting and serving together. It’s amazing how you can lose touch with people for 5 years, then pick right up where you left off. Such a blessing. Debby and Megan – Thank you so much for coming!!!!
Megan with Richar, Jaison and Domingo. At the beginning of their time here I said that they might be surprised by which group of kids grabs their heart the most. When I first came I wanted to work with babies, only. Then these darn boys totally stole my heart and now everything I want to do for Nueva Esperanza is because I know if I help all the kids, these guys will also be helped. Megan made it pretty clear that she was interested in holding babies and she didn’t think the same would happen to her. By the end of her time here, here main focus was also the boys. =) You never know what to expect!
Debby with one of her favorites – Elly. Debby was also amazing to me. There are many, many kids in this center with special needs. (Which are going completely unmet.) There are about 10 kids in the nursery ranging in age from 1 to 15 that are severely handicapped and are unable to do anything on their own. Debby had a really hard time with these kids. Their situation just really affected her deeply. And yet, as soon as she got back to the states she emailed asking for more information about two of the kids because they were so on her heart. I just love that instead of being relieved that she was away, she embraced the fact that this made an impact on her life and she wanted to know their stories.
The three of us at Pulhapanzak falls.
Day of the Indian:
July 23rd was the Day of the Indian here in Honduras. It is a celebration of a man named Lempira (now this is the name of Honduran currency). He fought against Spain (I believe!) for Honduras’ independence. Or something like that. I’m awful at history. Especially when I’m getting the history lesson in Spanish. But the point is, all the kids at Nueva were little indians on this day. They had a performance, and all the kids dressed up. It was amazing. Isn’t she such a beautiful little indian princess? Thanks to Orphan Helpers for making this day happen!
All the kids that weren’t in the performance still had special hats and their faces and chests painted. They were so cute!
10 kids performed a cultural dance. It was all very awkward since they are at an age where they are awkward with boys and awkward with their bodies. Which of course, just made the whole thing endearing. =)
Some of the boys that were part of the dance performance. Keep in mind that most of the boys were at least the a foot shorter than the girls. Oh, to be 12 again! Towering over all the boys!!
And now for Richar
Here he is at the Day of the Indian celebration. I wish I could say that so much has happened since our last blog. But, alas, he’s still here. After doing lots of research and contacting privately run centers I hit dead end after dead end. The Director told me that if I find him a family in Honduras to live with she’ll try to work it out that he can go there. A foster parent sort of situation. So I talked to a Pastor of a large church here in Honduras thinking that surely a family could take him in. The Pastor’s response? Taking a boy of that age (his file says he’s 10, he says he’s 14) is dangerous. Haven’t heard anything since. So for now, I’m trying to go as often as possible and am always looking for opportunities to have one on one conversations with him. He has started asking me to take him to live with us in Lake Yojoa. Which breaks my heart a little bit. Especially because I’ve actually entertained the thought quite seriously. God has a plan for this child. I really want to be part of making it happen!
I really love this picture because it captures him being a silly child. I want him to have a life filled with this! Not fear.
His past is still a complete mystery to me. I know that some of the details from the last blog are wrong. He wasn’t separated from his family when trying to get to the US. He was taken from the home when he was 4 because his parents hit him with a belt. When he was 7 he escaped from a center and tried to get to the US via train. But unsuccessfully. He was ‘adopted’ by a family in Honduras for 3 years, but he can’t remember the name of his adopted father, which seems strange. And then recently he told me that when he was a baby he lived in Nueva Esperanza. So nothing really makes sense. And the Director let me see his file. It consisted of the fact that he was male and that they found him wandering the streets when he should have been with his adoptive family. They weren’t even sure of his age.
The good news is that the other kids aren’t picking on him nearly as much! I’ve only seen him get angry one time and that was when someone took his spot at the window. And he simmered down pretty quickly. The boys that were such bullies to him before now just sort of ignore him. It’s probably been 2 months since he has had a significant bruise or wound, which sadly, is saying something. AND I’ve never once seen him take advantage of a weaker child. Which for some reason makes me swell with pride. =) It also gives me hope for him. Somehow he’s managing to not play the game. At least when I’m around.
I pray that the next time I blog (3 months from now? Ha! Just kidding!) I will have better news about Richar and about all these kids in general!!