I woke up this morning with a clear idea of what I wanted to write in this week’s blog post. Eager to share with you the progress of the building; eager to encourage you to continue praying and considering giving to Roots & Wings this Christmas season. And then the day commenced.
Kid’s club was fairly normal. The kids were unusually rowdy but it’s been an exciting 24 hours for them with the garbage dump catching fire and all their parents temporarily without work.
We knew because of the fire, Maria, mom to Kena and Daniela (whom you are probably fairly familiar with if you’re a regular reader of this blog) would probably be home, so we’d decided to quickly swing by to say hello before heading home. On a stroke of luck, we met her on the road on our way. She’d been cleaning “bule” (plastic garbage collected from the dump) and she told us the girls were being looked after at Katarina’s. The name had a familiar ring, but I couldn’t quite place it. As she elaborated, a sinking feeling of dread formed in the pit of my stomach. THAT Katarina.
Katarina’s home is where we first met Maria. I began to recall the young girls we’d met there, dressed provocatively and caked in makeup, and a dozen or more dirty, unkempt children, milling about unattended.
And as we drive up, we are once again greeted with the same sad scene we’d come up to before. Children wandering around alone, young women sitting about, and men drinking and dancing suggestively.
This is the home Kena and Daniela were born into. This is the home where our little Kena would hide in a corner to eat, protecting her food. This is the place we met the little, serious baby that eyed us for weeks with caution and mistrust. Kena peeks out the door, wearing only a diaper and a dirty romper pulled down to her waist. She is covered in dirt, grime, nail polish and the sticky residue of candy. Barefoot and stern as usual. But as she catches sight of us, a huge smile forms on her face, and she stretches out those dirty, sticky arms eagerly. We take turns hugging and kissing her and telling her how much we love her.
Then the time came for us to leave. It was one of the most difficult moments of my life thus far. How could I put her down when everything inside of me is screaming to carry her away from this place? The feeling of desperation in that moment was overwhelming…
And she wasn’t the only child there. We met America, 5, Carlos, 4 and Jose, 3 months. We haven’t developed the same attachment to these children, yet our hearts broke for them just the same. As their far-too-young mother questioned us about the daycare, I am rapidly running the numbers through my head thinking is there ANY way we can take in three more?
The risk of love. Every child we meet, every story we hear brings us both heartache and joy. What do you do when you want to save them all… but, well, can’t? I don’t have the answer. But one thing I know and can hold onto is this: God is sovereign. And God is love.
Still, we are committed to doing our part. And we simply cannot do it alone.
So here we are, once again, asking you, humbly, yet boldly to give. We shared with you last week different areas you can give toward, each equally important. The cost to continue construction; the monthly cost of running the daycare; the cost of our goal to feed, clothe, educate, care for and LOVE 10 (or 50!) kids is a big number. And numbers can be overwhelming. But let’s not focus on numbers.Whether your gift is of $1 or $1000, it is cherished. We cannot do what we do without your support.
And please do not stop from joining with us in prayer. For Kena. For Daniela. For each child we’ve encountered and those we have yet to meet. For Roots & Wings and its ministry.
We so love and appreciate each one of you. From the bottom of our hearts, THANK YOU.