Psalm 146:7b-9 "The Lord sets the prisoners free; the Lord opens the eyes of the blind.The Lord lifts up those who are bowed down;the Lord loves the righteous. The Lord watches over the sojourners;he upholds the widow and the fatherless,but the way of the wicked he brings to ruin."
I never realized how much I enjoy manual labor. Today, we were blessed to visit the second facility of Luz y Vida which is currently under renovation. A convent of nuns offered this building to Sister Valeriana for the overwhelmingly in expensive price of $50,000. The place boasts a gymnasium (small, but still useful for physical therapy), a huge play room, multiple bedrooms with their own bathrooms to be used for those children needing 24-7 care, a classroom, 2 kitchens and a majestic chapel for their services. You could not even rent a place like this in the States for that cheap. Our job was to repaint the courtyard walls. As I was chipping away at old paint (pictured above), I noticed the word "esperanza" meaning hope in Spanish. I continued to work and then saw the message- un futuro de esperanza-a future of hope. And that is what this facility along with its staff will offer these children...a hopeful future.
I think I took about 250 pictures today of the orphanage, some of the kids, the scenery. I had forgotten my own camera battery at the hotel, but was blessed to use the camera (Canon SD 700) which belongs to our leader, Colleen. Looking through the eye of a photographer encourages you to notice a few things. The first of which being:
I love this shot. This was on a wall outside in the garden. Over all the day was a real blessing. I played volleyball with one of the older girls (my arms got RED), I swung several others around and God used me to hug this girl who honestly just suffers from severe mental handicap. She would grind her teeth making a horrific noise and I begged her to stop. But she grabbed my hand, pushed it up against her face and smiled at me, pulling me close to hug her. And the Lord says...Yes, Amy...this little one is considered a gem in My sight and I have put you here at this time to love her. What a humbling message.
Before we left for Bogota, we gave Sister Valeriana a check for $55,000-an amount raised in the States prior to any knowledge of the cost of the building. Thanks to be to God for His timely provision. Colleen told me that 2 weeks prior to leaving for the trip, they only had $17,000 to offer, but as she said "We have enough for the building plus a tithe! Its 10%! Praise God!"
An interesting story worthy of note. On our way to Carqeza, we were stopped by military. They have these massive machine guns. One man got on the bus demanding all men to exit. (Many of us women were so distracted by the absolutely gorgeous physical features of these men that we didnt realize what they had said). However, almost as if on cue, Sister Valeriana rose and exited the bus to speak with them. And believe it or not...we were on our way in minutes. It was hard to really internalize the reality of the power here in this country.
On the drive home, I had an amazing conversation with Valeriana. She is originally from Spain and chose to come here for mission work about 36 years ago. Her dream is to see each and every child on the streets fed...not only with food, but with the love of Christ. Funny how that dream resonates in a little Indiana city, isnt it?
Tomorrow is the party. We get to spend all day with the kids passing out gifts, singing and loving on those little ones. I told Sister that if I am ever to return (which she ensures me will be next year haha), I want to stay with her in the orphanage and help with the children. The hotel is too far removed for me. A blessing because I can keep all of you updated with progress, but not reality. But then again...our only reality is Christ.
Be blessed tonight...He is faithful in opening the eyes of the blind.