Our morning started with a continuation of yesterday morning’s work: helping with the house chores. Yesterday we had one group folding clean laundry and another mopping floors. Today there was still a group folding clean laundry, but the rest of us were sorting dirty clothes. We separated the whites, darks, bedding and la popa (a.k.a “poop”). I thought it was funny at first-“la ropa popa.” But then I accidentally dumped (ha) out the already sorted poo-laundry and almost made Jody & Jen throw up. There were squishy onsies, poopy pants, and one bag that came from the infirmary that the ladies wouldn’t even let us touch. God bless the women who normally do laundry, because there is no way they get paid enough for their crappy jobs.
After laundry sorting, I was asked to talk with Adolfo about his upcoming release from the protective care of the home. One of the laundry ladies has been working to get Adolfo into her home when he turns 18. The judge who will be releasing him has said that it really is the best place for him to go. However, Adolfo has said that he doesn’t want to. So the laundry lady asked me to talk to Adolfo to see if I could encourage him to make a good choice. As I talked with him and his would-be mother, it became apparent that she loves him very much and that he also cares a lot for her. However, Adolfo thinks his problems are so big and terrible that he wouldn’t want to harm her and her family by living with them. (One possible reason for his hesitation could be that he is openly homosexual, and being openly homosexual in Guatemala could make him and his family susceptible to attacks and severe abuse.) After much encouragement and plenty of translated questions and answers, I think everyone left with hope that even though Adolfo may or may not choose to live with a family, they love each other and God will watch over them.
Adolfo turns 18 on May 3rd, and we’re praying that he goes where God leads him. He’s a special kid.
For lunch we met with an American missionary (Chad) from Alejandra’s home, New Life Children’s Home in Vida Nueva. Chad has been working on and asking probing questions about how best to help orphans transition from a protective environment to a more independent and less institutionalized environment. Interesting timing! We look forward to where this is headed.
The first thing we did with the boys in the afternoon was to break off into smaller groups and talk with them about why we come. They understand that we love them and keep coming back for them and will continue to come back to see them. Awesome! Then we prayed for them and encouraged them to pray out loud together. We then got to hear 10 different boys sincere and heartfelt Spanish prayers. Hopefully, a few of them might continue to pray together and support each other in a very draining environment.
Then we went inside, helped them trace their footprints on poems, and handed out the rest of our candy and toys.
While we were inside with the boys, Joseph (one of the directors/leaders of Eliza Martinez) pulled Rachael and I aside to present us with a surprise gift. He had mentioned to me about a surprise yesterday and here it was- when he found out on Monday that we’re having a baby girl, he told his mother. Joseph said that because of his tremendous respect and appreciation for us he wanted her to make us a gift. She immediately set to work making us two pairs of pink shoes for the baby! We are honored that he would tell his mother about us and that she would make shoes for a random couple and their baby at her son’s work. We continue to be amazed by how we come to Guatemala with the intention of giving love, yet it seems we end up receiving even more love than we give.
It’s been a good week, and it was hard to leave the boys. But we did… with many reassurances that we would be back in a few months. We look forward to spending time with these wonderful kids again soon!