To say today was enlightening would be an understatement.
The organization of Hope Haven was invaluable. We had help from the
Guatemalan army delivering chairs and helping oversee distribution. The
people were incredible and so affectionate. I couldn't stop kissing little ones
who often times were not as young as they looked. Many of the elderly
recipients asked me for a Bible and were so happy when I shared they would
receive one at checkout. Of course there were those cases that were tough,
but God led each of us today and I can't wait to see where He leads us
Today we had lots of children that had severe issues (i.e. cerebral palsy, spina bifida). This gave us the opportunity to try out a wooden device that Dick had that aids children with these issues. This device gives them a chance to stretch their muscles, strengthen their joints, and help their circulation. Surprisingly none were afraid of it!
I was given the task of checking those who seemed to need help reading, and support others when not busy. Many people needed glasses so I stayed busy once they found me. Needless to say I was popular, and received lots of hugs once they could see me!
One thing I was left with today is the idea that none of them showed up either day with "expectations" and all seem very grateful
for the help shown. Many wait several hours before it's their turn, but always with patience and a smile. I have a lot I can learn
from this group of people!
Each day I think is the best day; I should probably stop using that line because the next day will be better.
Today was awesome in that I could really see God in the people and the way things are coming together. We had a severe cerebral palsy high school girl that needed a specialized chair that the guys worked on for hours until they finally finished it. Ken and Dick spent the most time making adjustments, but all couldn't have been happier knowing Norma had exactly what she needed to help her move forward in life.
Nothing could top the little Down Syndrome boy, Darby, who came in pushing all the wheelchairs, sitting on the foot pedal of one and pulling himself across and around, running the area throwing a stuffed animal with the accuracy of a professional pitcher -and all with an over flowing joyful heart. He’ll make you smile!
Grateful is a term that comes to mind to
describe our 4th day of distributing wheelchairs.
Grateful for the experience, the people I have worked with and now call friends, for the way my heart has been moved by these people we came to help that have given us much more than the chairs we distributed to them, but mostly how God has shown me that having a heart for missions isn't about the things we bring, but the love exchanged between us.
We had another day of working on many chairs and walkers, and customizing several children's chairs requiring hours of work. Each child with their own story, one CP, another Spina bifida, and so forth.
Today one story that moved me was the story of a 25-year-old mother, Iriss, who 10 years earlier, at the age of 15, was given Accutane to stop her acne. She became pregnant while taking the medication (which in the US is not distributed without first a pregnancy test and doctors monthly monitoring), but here no check was done. The result is she gave birth to a son, Carlos, with multiple birth defects. In spite of her young age, and the situation - she's managed to raise him on her own, and didnt want anything but a more suitable chair for Carlos.
Iriss, her longtime beau, who too loves Carlos - and Carlos. Given what we've seen this week she was inspiring as she overcame her earlier problems and is caring and loving to her child when many 25 year olds might resent him.
God is so good.
Today was bittersweet. I would be dishonest not to say after several days of a hard mattress, humidity, and a hotel room with no a/c, that home doesn't sound good, but we were all happy to go back this morning and help those that were on the list for chairs.
This day was a shorter day in terms of the hours needed and number of recipients, but it was a much harder day because most of the recipients were children and all were in desperate need of a chair. Unfortunately we had more recipients than chairs to fit them. Eight children showed up and had to be turned away.
I have cried this week many times; cried happy tears when a child that wasn't mobile got the chair they needed, cried listening to stories of how a child came to be in the condition they were in, cried watching how hard our people worked to give each child the best chair they could build; but today I cried most knowing eight children that desperately needed chairs didn't get them.
Dick and Ilse had the cruelest job informing
Mothers that got up to keep their appointments we did not have a chair for
them. I don't know how Dick and Ilse can do this and work the hours they
do trying to satisfy the needs there are. We have to try to help find
more funding to keep them supplied with chairs.
The team had a nice lunch with the Hope Haven team before they hit the road. While at lunch we were told an anonymous donor was going to cover the eight chairs we lacked so those children will have chairs in the next two weeks.
God is good.