No one would ever really describe me as a person with a passion for children. I am rarely found in the nursery at church, and I often answer vaguely when asked when I will have children of my own. Chad says I only make three expressions: regular relaxed, fake smile, and that thing that happens to my face when someone suggests pregnancy. I haven’t seen it, but I’m sure it’s not pretty. All of that doesn’t exactly point to going on a trip to spend a week with children in Honduras.
So I signed up for the orphanage trip knowing construction would be involved. There was going to be digging, building, and sweating- and I wanted in on that team.
We arrived on a Sunday, so we started out with church in the morning. Our team was supposed to tour the area and meet a few people with the expectation that we’d really get into it the next day. The church was full of older teens and volunteers. It was all in Spanish so other than recognizing some Hillsong tunes I didn’t understand a lot of what went on.
After church was over some girls on my team asked if I wanted to walk to the gym with them to see the little boys. To be completely honest I didn’t really want to go, but I was trying to keep an open mind, and I couldn’t come up with anything else to do. The moment I stepped inside that gymnasium 30 tiny boys jumped all over me, wanting to hold my hand, elated with the attention I could give them.
That moment that has changed everything in my life.
I have never been so overwhelmed with joy at one time. I have never made such a difference in someone’s day with something as simple as hand holding. I have never in my whole life imagined I could be so popular.
Later on I learned that that age group of boys is called the Power Toddlers. They are still young but aggressive enough to do some damage if left alone with the little ones that can’t walk successfully yet. We began to describe a day with them as “playing our brains out” because it often included constant running, ball throwing, and having at least four Power-T’s attached to your limbs for hours on end.
I did end up giving a few of my hours to manual labor, but the boys of the Power Toddler house truly stole my heart. The morning after we returned to the states, I was so glad to be in the dark worship center at church with the band playing loud, as I cried and began to deal with all I had witnessed. The unspeakable acts of abuse and trauma that brought the children to the orphanage just wouldn’t leave my mind. I am still broken-hearted- really, I don’t want to let myself stop being broken-hearted. The most beautiful part of their story is how much love is in that orphanage. It could only be because of God that a place that should be full of sadness and grief is overflowing with love and joy. I am so thankful that I got to experience such a beautiful manifestation of God’s power and mercy through those children.