We've heard this phrase time after time. Everyone knows it. We think of home and certain things come to mind. It's different for everyone, but for me it's things like family, love, comfort, and familiarity.
But what about the people who don't have a home? What about the kids who have never known family, or even love? Not only are they "houseless", meaning they don't have the four walls or comfy bed, but they are truly without family or community. What about the orphans?
"We learned that orphans are easier to ignore before you know their names. They are easier to ignore before you see their faces. It is easier to pretend they're not real before you hold them in your arms. But once you do, everything changes…" - David Platt, "Radical"
This week has been very unique to our experience in several ways. There is a short-term mission trip here from K-Love radio station in the states! Two of the DJs, as well as two Christian artists (Mike from Mikeschair, and his wife Molly from City Harbor) and then several listeners of the station are all here for a shoe trip! There are 29 of them total. Having them here has been so special and has taught us so much! Because of Jesus working through them, we have been able to distribute hundreds (hundreds) of shoes! There is so much joy in this service. We get the privilege of washing each person's feet, giving them socks, and putting their shoes on for them. [Luke 13:12-17]
Three days this week were spent in a local orphanage. The conditions here are very poor. It felt more like a prison than a place to call home. The brokenness here was overwhelming and everyday brought tears for our team. I will never forget many of these faces.
One of the hardest things to learn about these children is that many of them have families outside of those walls. They know them, and love them. Sometimes their family members even visit them. But most of them know what abandonment feels like. They have been told they are not wanted, not worthy of love. They have to imagine a life outside the concrete walls and barbed wire, and know that it is unobtainable for them. Adoption is not even an option; it must feel very hopeless to them. The orphanage is severely understaffed so they experience day after day with no hugs, no encouragement, no love.
These kids need Jesus. They need to understand that there is hope, and this world is not our home. We are strangers of this earth. Our heart belongs to Jesus, and that is where we will find our home. They need to know that God is the father that does not abandon. He goes before us and walks alongside us. That is where we experience love. Thank you, God.
"For here we do not have an enduring city, but we are looking for the city that is to come." Hebrews 13:14"Their mind is set on earthly things. But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ." Philippians 3:19-20
In Jesus name we were able to go to this orphanage and show them love. For a few hours they could have as many hugs as they wanted. For a little while the boy who cried in my arms had someone who cared, someone to hold him, to tell him its okay. Who knows how long its been since he's had that. If I accomplished nothing else the entire time I'm here, this would be worth it.
We also need to understand that we do not belong here. As Christians we have to know that the suffering will end, and there will be a day when that little boy will have eternal happiness and experience unconditional love.
"Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will never fail, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." Luke 12:33-34
By Rachel Miley, student at Samford University. She served as a team leader in Guatemala 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 Rachel's blog at http://sendrachel.wordpress.com/.
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