Can I really make a difference?

I’m often asked “Can I really make THAT MUCH of a difference in a week?”  After many conversations and much prayer and analyzing I can say, with 100% certainty, that I don’t know.  =)  I do know that you won’t solve all the problems in Honduras in one week.  But as long as you don’t stay on the team’s bus the entire week, you’ll make a difference for at least one child.  (Raise your hand if you love the starfish story as much as me!  I know it’s cheesy, but still…)   And your presence will have a positive impact.

Every time I’m asked this question, I think of two boys I know.

 The first is Manuel.  (on the left)

When I met Manuel in Nueva Esperanza I first had to pull him off the boy that he was fighting with.  As often happens, after I spent more time with him, this tough and aggressive child quickly became the calm and playful 11 year old that he truly is.  He would sing me Honduran folk songs and play soccer with any slightly round object he could find.  One day he discoverd that I’m from the States.  (I mean, I totally get that he didn’t realize that right away.  You know, since I look so Honduran…)  He got so excited and asked, “Do you know Stephanie??”  Stifling a giggle I explained to him that my country is rather large.  “Oh,” he said in disappointment, “She was on a team a while ago and she wrote me a letter.  Do you want to hear it?”  I said sure and expected him to pull a tattered letter from his pocket or run upstairs to the boys’ dorm to retrieve it.  To my surprise, he started reciting the letter from memory.  It was about how happy she was to have met him.  How much fun she had with him.  How she thinks he’s a great kid and how she’s going to miss him.  He finished ‘reading’ the letter and beamed up at me and I was struck by how this gesture that took Stephanie less than 5 minutes (depending on her fluency in Spanish) has made such an impact on this forgotten child.

When he’s rejected or picked on, he can think about how she enjoyed being with him.  When he is told by employees that he is ugly, lazy, stupid, etc. he can remember that Stephanie thinks he’s pretty great.  When he thinks about how his parents have abused and abandoned him, he can remember that at least Stephanie misses him.  Did her work or her presence fix everything for Manuel?  Of course not.  But she gave him a foothold in this pit he’s sliding into.  It gave him a little nugget of truth about who he really is amidst the lies that are repeatedly whispered in his ear.  And it gave him hope.  And hope is a powerful thing.

 

Would you like to breathe hope into the life of a child?  Here’s your next opportunity:

May 20-27

$700 + the cost of airfare

Serving in Proniño – a home for former street kids

Please let me know if you are interested in joining this team!

(Some of you may be saying “Um, I thought there were two stories!”  What a good memory you have! Well, I decided to let Manuel’s story stand alone today.  Just as Milton’s will stand alone one day in the coming weeks!)

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