How to capture in words all that transpired today? The events are easy enough; the emotions, not so much.
We started the day with a refreshing trip to the waterfall outside Quimistan. Sam stayed in town and took care of some business. The waterfalls were beautiful, and everyone enjoyed the adventure. We dropped Tracey and an interpreter off at the Compassion office to find out about sponsoring Reina Isabella, a young girl she had connected with at the dental health training earlier in the week. Disappointment. The girl’s family situation is highly suspect and it is unlikely that she can be sponsored. At the least, attention was drawn to her plight.
After lunch, Martha brought in the children from San Francisco, a small community on the other side of the suspension bridge. Riccy, Arthur and Jenny’s sponsor child, preached a short sermon to the children. Pride. After a short Salvation Bracelet VBS with them courtesy of Arthur and Jenny, they were allowed to pick out toys and clothes from the supplies we had left.
While this was going on, the rest of us headed to Tejeras, the highway ministry started by HAF for the squatters who live near the dump, for another eyeglass clinic. For some reason, only a handful of “customers” showed up. However, the children were in abundance, and our teens enjoyed playing with them and giving out balls, bubbles, and smiles to these, the poorest of the poor. Happiness. Pain at their situation. One young boy ran slap into a post, raising an instant goose egg on his forehead. It was evident he didn’t belong to anyone there, as no one jumped up to help him. Finally, someone carried him back to his home, kicking and screaming. Soon enough, he returned for his share of fun and food. We fed them all a delicious Gloria meal and packed their “take-out” containers full with food for another meal. Then we had the children line up for a buffet of school supplies. Frustration. Language difficulties made distribution difficult, and we could only hope that all had received what they needed. One older girl, who had always been first in line for everything and made sure she got everything possible, hung back while the rest were leaving. When all were gone, she came up to me. Cynic that I am, I expected her to have her hand out, but instead, I received a warm hug and a shy smile. Love. Satisfaction.
As we were leaving, we discovered that our transportation for the next day was in question, and we had to rethink our plans. We didn’t have a truck for our luggage. Panic. After dinner, we gathered together all our bags and trunks and discovered that, miraculously, it would all fit in Sam’s Expedition. Relief.
Later, we gathered on the porch for our devotion. Arthur shared his story, an amazing tribute to his family’s faith and strength as they escaped Communist Russia, fled to Israel, and then landed in Canada. Tears. A late night trip to the cemetery with Pablo to visit his mother’s grave. Suyapa died of cancer last year. Pablo told of his hope to become a doctor so that he could help those in pain. Commitment. More tears.
Guilt that not more could be done, that we have so much. Pain and concern over what we leave. Commitment to continue and spread the word. Love, mostly love. But then again, that’s what Agape is all about.