This past September, our church considered what Jesus meant when he said, “when you fast,” (Matthew 6:17) and came to the conclusion that fasting isn’t an optional discipline (Jesus said “when you fast,” not “if you fast”). As is typically the case with our church, the point wasn’t just to understand this intellectually, but we were actually expected to follow through and spend time fasting. So, September 8-14, 2008 was declared our week of fasting. For this one week, the entire church community was supposed to spend less time with food and more time with God. Nate and I decided not to go the whole week without eating, but we did take a break each day around lunchtime and, instead of eating, sat on the couch, read, and prayed.
Along with the Bible, my book of choice happened to be one of our (current) favorite relationship books: Why You Do the Things You Do: The Secret to Healthy Relationships by Tim Clinton and Gary Sibcy. I was reading it to understand myself and Nate and how our vastly different personalities and backgrounds come together. I was not thinking of Guatemala as I was reading it, and I certainly didn’t expect to find in it a quote that would perfectly capture the heart of what we’re trying to do in Guatemala. But there it was, on page 110, right in between two sections on child abuse and emotional neglect: “As one wise observer put it, ‘Children need more than food, shelter, and clothing. They need at least one person who is crazy about them.’”
That’s why people from eXchange keep going back to Guatemala. That’s why John and Emily are adopting Juan Pablo. That’s why we’re running with this crazy idea of setting up a sponsorship program linking families and boys at the Guatemala orphanages. It’s because these orphans are taken care of physically, but they need more. These abandoned boys have food, shelter, and clothing, but something’s still missing. Even after all their physical needs are met, they still need someone to make them feel loved, give them focused attention, and make them feel special. They need to know that someone out there (even if they never get to meet this “someone” face-to-face) is absolutely crazy about them.