Hogares Luz y Vida (Light and Love Children’s Home) is really unassuming, even though it’s perfectly tucked in the heart of a busy neighborhood. The mountains stay in the background, quiet as our Monday morning. The early risers hustled to and fro, even though today was a national holiday to commemorate the Feast of St. Peter and St. Paul. Our knocking interrupted the street’s sweet tranquility – and eventually, we were heard and invited to enter through the back entrance.
After entering in, we learned so much about this amazing place and even better people. Sister Valeriana García Martín founded the home in 1990. Today the home serves hundreds of children in many different stages of vulnerability, including extreme poverty, disability, and abandonment. The ministry at Hogares Luz y Vida is to care for, to house, and to provide the needed full time 24-hour medical care for the severely handicapped children.
Needless to say, for many of us, this was completely out of our comfort zone. We worked in the Intensive Care Unit with very young ones who need staff and volunteers for any and everything. We played outside with many who were happy to make us new best friends while teaching us the rules of the yard. And our third serving site was a room that many from the upstairs ICU hopefully grow into, but where the same services were provided.
We were out of every comfort zone, but we were simply invited to come in with open hearts and to just go and love the children. It’s a joy to be a pastor and to see our team not only step up to the plate, but to go above and beyond. It’s a grace as a Christian to partner with sisters and brothers to do God’s kingdom work. And it’s a mercy to recognize that while the world may not be as it should be – God is alive in a smile, God works in a warm embrace, and God lives but we see it so much more easily, every time we love, love, and love.
It is very hard to be at Hogares Luz y Vida and to not see suffering; but it’s even harder to be there and to not see blessing upon blessing. It is very hard to be at Hogares Luz y Vida and to not remember its consistent pungent smells; but it’s even harder to be there and to not smell the aroma that brings life (Christ’s people working and seeing Him everywhere). It is very hard to be at Hogares Luz y Vida and to not hear your heart crying out; but it’s even harder to be there and to not hear the Spirit’s still small voice, over and over, and over again.
It is very hard to be at Hogares Luz y Vida and to not taste an overwhelming anguish; but it’s even harder to be there and to not savor joy – from the children, from the staff, and from our Christ and Lord. It is very hard to be at Hogares Luz y Vida and to not feel anguish; but it’s even harder to be there and to not know hope – not just in a the world to come, but in this our world that is here – our world where God’s people can come together and share His love and make His kingdom come and His will be done.
Our morning was so full, that our team didn’t seem to mind at all that Buena Semilla Daycare Center forgot about our afternoon appointment (it was a national holiday after all). While we were certainly disappointed by this, as our day progressed, we learned again, that our God knows best. The afternoon off afforded us a chance to debrief about the morning for much longer. It allowed us the chance to rest a little bit more, fellowship, and then come together at night to again pray, share, and debrief some more.
Tomorrow we will be serving at El Camino Academy. We have planned a VBS day that we’re very excited about. We’re also excited to see where Zach and our new friend Jorge (translator) works, and also where our other new friends Vanessa and Daniel (translators) attend school. Our packed day also includes dinner with families form El Camino Academy – so it’ll be another very full but very good day.
Thank you all for praying, thinking of us, reading and maybe even sharing some of our stories. We are enjoying our time here, and it’s amazing to see how God continues to unite our group, grow us, and really start to develop many of our hearts and voices. We remain very grateful to God for each of you, and for your love, prayers, and support. We serve together, and we are all doing this kingdom work together.
God bless and take care. Dios te Bendiga (God bless you)!
Youth Missions Team