I saw a lot of pain and despair today. I also saw a lot of hope. And I don’t know how to put it into words. But it was one of the most amazing days I’ve ever experienced. Ever. I think everyone else on the team would say the same thing. We started the day at the cancer wing of the children’s hospital. I’ve never seen anything like it. I don’t even know how to describe our time there. Part of it was amazing. part was heartbreaking. Most of it was both. We brought the kids there toys, toothpaste, toothbrushes, hairbrushes, candy, and some prayer. We split into several teams with our interpreters and roamed throughout the rooms. It was something I’d never done before and am not sure if I can do again. Here is the second kid we prayed for:
She is three years old. She has leukemia in a bad way, and they just discovered she has diabetes as well. She’s about the size and age of my youngest daughter (I have to quit meeting little girls that remind me of Blythe!). I did a little magic trick that Blythe loves, and then asked her aunt, who’s to my right, if I could pray. I said, “Dear God” and then completely lost it. I wept for what felt like several minutes. My heart just broke for this little girl, trapped in a hospital with a horrible disease and so little hope. I wept for her and all the other kids there. So many there had no hope for life other than a devine touch from God. I got my composure, and then prayed. I was able to hold it together the rest of the morning – pretty much, anyway.
Here’s me, with the help of my interpreter and new friend Jhonny, teaching this little guy a card trick. His name is Jayson (pronounced Jay-Sohn).
One of the neatest things we did was pray for many of the parents, who moved me with their strength and incredible dedication to their kids. Many asked us to pray for them when we walked into room. There were lots of tears during these prayers – both from the prayer an the prayee. We also spent some time in a Ronald McDonald-type housing for the parents. It was great – we all played games and sang songs and laughed and prayed together. It was a special time, filled with great hope.
After we were done at the hospital, it was time for lunch, and then an orphanage. Originally, my thought was – Really? Kids with cancer then an orphanage? How can I handle that? It turns out, the orphanage was the most amazing, wonderful place I saw in all of Nicaragua. Technically, it’s a boarding school. If it’s labeled an orphanage, the government can get their hands on it and regulate it, and that is a very bad thing. Hosanna School is located several miles outside of Managua. It houses 30+ kids. Some are orphans. Some are abandoned children. Some were dropped off by relatives. One boy we met used to go to Wayne and Elaine’s school. Early last year David was sold by his mother’s boyfriend for $1 -yep, sold for one dollar – so he could buy drugs. Luckily, David was rescued before the exchange was finalized. After a few other horrible events, Wayne and Elaine were able to get him to the school. Today, David, like the other kids there, is thriving. It sounds strange to say, but living in an orphanage is ABSOLUTELY the greatest thing that has happened in the lives of these kids.
They eat, they play, they learn, they sleep in beds, they learn scripture and all about the Lord. And they are so full of joy. So full of life. They embraced us and played soccer and football and ran around and hugged and completely stole all our hearts. After playing, as we gathered together to sing, I could not hold back the tears. It was so powerful to see these kids singing out to God. How amazing is God that He can create such beauty from such horrible ashes?
I got to do my last Nicaraguan magic show. They were such a fun, attentive, polite audience.
I then told the story of the Prodigal Son. I talked about how God is the most amazing Dad they’ll ever have. I then told them about sitting with God and how He could give them such comfort and peace. Then I gave them the chance to pray and climb up into the Father’s lap, so to speak. It was rather amazing. If you want to know what it looks like when a fatherless boy discovers the peace that comes with sitting in the lap of his Heavenly Father, Russell took this picture. I can’t get over it:
I saw pain and sickness and despair today. I also met this little boy and many like him. They give me such hope. Today was a life-changing day. I’ll never forget it.
I’ve got more great pictures and stories and stuff from this week. I haven’t even mentioned an incredible little boy named Moises who I feel like I’ve known for years. Hopefully I’ll be able to post those stories tomorrow or Sunday. Tomorrow is a well-deserved off day. Several of us are going on a Zipline tour through the rain forest. That should be awesome, as we all need to unwind and decompress a bit. Thanks for your prayers today. We felt them.