The only men inside the orfanitorio are the security guards. 80-or-so children play within the fenced courtyard; they are shielded from outside dangers and void of inside comforts. The orphanage is an institution rather than a home. A 'mother' cooks for the children, but no mommy dotes on them. A man guards the door, but no father walks through it. These children were removed from fractured homes, but not given a replacement.
In the midst of such circumstances, the children wonder as to their worth and struggle to define their dignity.
One gordita girl revels in our attention. Sitting in my lap is a particular thrill. While I was holding her today, she pointed to our team members and said, "buena, bueno, buena, mala, buena...". Then, she pointed to herself and asked me, "Buena o Mala?" I hurriedly responded, "Buena, buena!" but sorrow filled my smiling face.
The same sorrow that burgeons when I watch the kids fight over worthless toys, when I hear them belittle one another to better themselves, when I sense their deep yearning for affirmation and affection, and when I perceive the utter lack thereof. Their wounds are deep, but even yet their future may be bright.
Pray for these children, that the Lord's love would comfort them. Pray for the Lord's people, that they would seek opportunities to love the abandoned. Pray that my team would love without abandon.
By Bonnie Cantwell, who served in Peru this summer through Buckner's Project Go! program. Project Go! volunteers travel all over the world and dedicate one or two months of their summer to minister to orphan children, caregivers, in-country staff, and short-term mission trip groups. This post originally appeared in Bonnie's blog at http://bonnieelizabeth.weebly.com/musings-blog.html.
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