Thursday, August 29, 2013

Our Day at The Hole.....Day 3

For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink?  When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you?  When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.  Matthew 25:35-40

On Thursday we woke up and did our devotional time together and then went back to the medical center to get to work.  We completed the gravel work on Thursday and started moving the dirt inside the basement of the medical center over the wall to cover the french drains.  Being a girl and short, moving this dirt was a challenge.  I used muscles I have never used before and there were a few times where I would use all my strength only to have that shovel full of dirt come flying back in my face.  Mike, our team leader was so encouraging and said "Even one little piece of dirt over the wall is helping us get closer to completion, so just aim for one little piece and know it is making a difference."  That has really stuck with me and is kind of our ministry is used in God's master plan.  Sometimes we may feel like we are using all of our energy to minister and feel as though is slams back into our faces like a pile of dirt....but God is the one who knows the overall plan, and every little bit of "dirt" that allow God to use, is making a difference.

 During the middle part of the day, we we had the opportunity to go to "Hoyo de Bartola", referred to as The Hole.  It used to be a landfill, so you have to go down about 100 steps down into a hole.  

Walking down the steps into the hole

The Hole is one of the worst "slum" areas in Santiago.  Plagued with prostitution, drugs, alcoholics and hundreds of children.  They warned us to be prepared upon arrival.  The children know when the Americanos arrive, they are simply there for an hour to play with them, love on them, serve them lunch and just give them some of the nurturing they so desperately need.  They don't have too much of a violence issue because they take care of these issues on their own.  If you are found to be someone who steals from your neighbor in the hole, you will likely get beat to death.  

Upon arrival, they weren't kidding, the kids swarmed us.  Many of us had one on our backs, one in each hand and others waiting for their turn.  It was one of the most overwhelming experiences of my life.  So much need -- not of possessions, or money or food, but just to see these kids that need love.  They don't get loved on as much as needed because either their parents are addicts and not able to provide that kind of nurturing, or their parents are working, and working hard, to provide for their kids.  There is no government offered "welfare" for The Hole.  I wish we could have spent more time at the hole.  I could have stayed all day once the shock of it all wore off.

This is the associate pastor at the church at the hole.  He grew up in the hole and initially thought Pastor Felix was the crazy church man trying to make changes in the hole.  God has reformed him now and he is serving alongside Pastor Felix.

All the kids wanted to sit on the shoulders of the 6'5 man!

Everywhere we went, children wanted to play with Hannah's beautiful blonde hair.  She was great with the kids!  I can't wait to take my future kids on mission with me.  So neat to see the children serving other children!

I LOVE LOVE LOVE the joy on this precious girls face!!!  Jaylan has such a gift with children.  I hope and pray her future includes her working with kids, because she really has a special connection with them.

Immediately upon getting off the bus, a young girl put this 6 month old baby in Amanda's hands.  She walked away so quickly Amanda didn't even see her face.  She was concerned she wouldn't know who to return the baby too, but all the kids kind of look after each other.

After playing with the kids, we went into the church where the nutrition center is.  G.O. works through churches to reach out to the communities rather than going directly to the people.  This encourages the people of these communities to not only seek out tangible needs, but to learn to see their local church and pastor for help.  

Pastor Felix was able to quiet down hundreds of kids and lead a prayer they all knew.  It was amazing to go from complete chaos to calm and quiet.  I was able to serve a bunch of the kids and then sat with some of the older kids and their babies and help them eat.  Many of these girls end up pregnant as early as 12, so there were a lot of older girls "mothering" the smaller children.  They take care of each other as best they know how.  I can imagine the burden and responsibility these young girls carry.  God please bless these children.  Thank you for what G.O. is doing to help change the community.  (more on that below)

Goody has been spending a lot of time with the women at the hole.  She is teaching them about self worth, about how much God values and loves them.  She is building relationships and teaching them that they don't have to follow the generations before and enter into prostitution.  She is helping to educate them on proper nutrition while pregnant and how to prevent pregnancy....and it is working.  She shared a story of a young woman who has come to know the Lord and is choosing not to enter into prostitution and because of that, her future children will also know that they have another option.  They are making headbands to raise money for their families.  I pray for this place a is one of those memories that does not fade and I pray it never does.  God do your work in this place.  You could just sense when you were entering in, that satan has his claws deeply dug into many in the area, but God is WORKING and changing....thanks to Him using people like Goody.

Here are some views of the hole. 

What a beautiful girl.

As we were leaving, the kids ran after our van.  It was like you see in some movies....they just ran after us.  I was in tears...they just wanted love from us...and that is what we gave them...all the love you can share in a short period of time -- and you just pray God magnifies it.  God, love these kids....let them understand a nurture and comfort that only you can provide.  

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"I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are your works, and my soul knows it very well."

~Psalm 139:14