”the secret to joy is to keep seeking God where we doubt He isn’t” Ann Voskamp
November 1st 2013
Yesterday someone asked me the question that’s easier for me to answer than my own name. (For real.. the difference in pronunciation in English & Spanish makes it a bit complicated around these parts)
”So like, what’s your PASSION?!”
Ohhh, yes. Now that’s a conversation starter. For as long as I can remember there is one thing that most breaks my heart and that most moves me to action, and that is the children in our world without anyone to care for them. That’s what most fills me with anger and most quickly moves me to tears, and now… after several years of being a mother to these children, they are who most inspire me and bring me laughter. My passion indeed.
I was asked that nifty question in our ministry’s indoor playground (The Jungle) last night, as we were setting up for 200 children to come and play. I spent two hours painting faces for some very rambunctious little ones.. it was a good time. = ) The Jungle is located in Bogota’s tolerance zone.. where all the stuff that’s illegal everywhere else is allowed. Drugs. Prostitution. Gangs. And a whole lotta kids whose Momma’s let them run wild in those streets. Lovely. So we opened up the Jungle’s doors last night to help keep those 200 kids safe and off the streets on halloween night, when things can get extra dangerous for them. So 200 kids, and 50 adults attempting to maintain some semblance of order, it was CRAZY. But also crazy fun = )
Our ministry’s school, Light & Life, is located nearby The Jungle, so some of our students came over to play last night… including two little girls who have been heavy on my heart this year. Their Mom has told our staff, in the presence of her daughters, ”I don’t love them, and I’m never going to tell them that I love them because I don’t.” Yeah. The girls receive words like that on a daily basis in their home, and at school it’s obvious how much damage those words have done to their hearts. The youngest, ”Samantha” doesn’t throw tantrums when she’s upset, she just crumples up into a heap onto the floor and doesn’t move, doesn’t talk. I can tell when I try to talk with her how much she’s hurting… and it breaks. my. heart.
Several months ago our staff reported their Mom to social services, which is hard for us because if social services take the girls away, the home they’re placed in could be even worse than living with their Mom, but.. we don’t have enough staff to take them into full-time care, and we had to do something. This week (finally) social services called their Mom to come down to their offices, and we’re all anxiously praying and waiting to find out what will happen.
So last night the girls were at the Jungle with their little brother and their Mom, and there’s one moment from their time there that has been playing on repeat in my mind since. It was the end of the program, and a group from a local church was singing a song with the kids about Noah’s ark. To add some extra fun to their song there were several people on the balcony above us with bags filled with little pieces of metallic paper, sprinkling down that glitter on the children as if were raining. It was beautiful, even though the kids were more entranced by the glitter than by Noah’s story, ahaha.
Samantha was in the back of the group, first standing in the downpour of glitter, absolutely delighted, and then as it stopped falling.. on the floor in her Snow White dress, glitter filling her afro, gathering as many sparkles as she could. I watched her, as she pushed and smacked other kids to make them get out of her way, still enthralled by the glitter she was so desperately trying to claim as her own. I don’t know how to describe why that sight was so beautiful to me, or why I was fighting hard not to blink so that the water in my eyes wouldn’t spill over and become even more obvious. That little girl.. there’s so much sorrow in her heart, and so much uncertainty about her future, but there she was, struggling and fighting because she wanted something that was beautiful to her, and I just found myself praying and hoping that no matter what happens, no matter how much more she suffers, or how many more people hurt her, that she never stops fighting for what is beautiful.