“He said, Come in, you who are blessed by the LORD. Why are you standing out here?”
“For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.”
There’s a house here in Colombia that’s been a Haven for me over the past (almost!) two years, a house that’s been a Haven for many people over the past many years, actually. It’s a house that’s held over 14 children as they’ve grown from tiny to tall, a house that’s hosted parties & gatherings & get-togethers galore.
I say house but we all know it’s those dear ones within the walls that build it into a Home, a Haven.
Chamos House is currently home to three girls, sisters, and two boys, brothers. They are fun, fun, fun girls & boys, young ladies & young men. The youngest boy is 15, and his skateboard is the great love of his life. Every time we play picture telephone he draws himself on his skateboard. Every. Single. Time. Ahahaha. Always doing different moves, but always on his skateboard. It is incredibly endearing to me. I’ve told him that I think Jesus has an awesome skateboard awaiting him in heaven. = ) The youngest girl is 17, and she’s a silly goose. Today she had a permanent marker so I asked her to draw a tattoo on my arm. She drew her name, graffiti style, and a turtle. Because why not, ahaha. The “Chamo” of Chamos House is a man who’s intention in coming to Colombia was to stay for 3 months as a volunteer. But.. after spending time in a slum of Bogota and getting to know some of it’s children… he felt that those children needed a safe place to call home, but he also knew he couldn’t say the ministry needed to do something for them without he himself staying to be a part of it. So he stayed, taking in 14 little children to Father at the age of 20. That was 16 years ago. Beautiful, right?
There have been many days like today that I’ve walked into this Haven of a House to laugh & play & cook, and there have been plenty of other days that I’ve walked in just to lay on the couch all day and hide from the world. That’s what makes it a Haven, it’s a place where I am welcome, welcome to be myself, welcome to be silly or sad, crazy or quiet, joyful or upset.
The other night I made my way through the chaos of the city to arrive Home there, it was the kind of evening I knew I would be spending laying on the couch, wrapped tight in blankets, hiding. I tap tap tapped on the door, and as I waited for Chamo to open all I could think of were those words of Jesus, and how strong & beautiful Chamo has lived those words for me the past few years, simply by opening up his home as a place of rest & refuge for me:
“Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.”
& I am so thankful.