Wednesday, September 30, 2015

#teamagua2015: Otovalo AIDS Orphanage

"The roles could have easily been reversed. 
I wondered how God had chosen me to be born 
into such luxury when this little girl had been 
born into such hopelessness." {Katie Davis}

On Tuesday afternoon of our second week, Liz, Micah, Philip, Ashley, Ari, Lizzie, and myself, along with two of our translators, Kevin and Martina, visited and orphanage that houses HIV-positive children. The original plan had been to take a small group of us on Tuesday and return on Wednesday with the entire team. The conditions at the orphanage were awful. It is literally a place of darkness. The children there are not well. The are presumably not receiving any treatment for their disease. They are dirty, have open sores, are unruly, unkind, unloved. God broke my heart in Otovalo, seeing these kids. He showed me that even when things hurt, we can never stop loving, never stop caring. Our team cried so many tears that evening. Due to the poor conditions, our leaders decided that it would be best not to expose the whole team. I so badly wanted to go back and see them one more time before we left. Give them one more hug. But that wasn't meant to be. I pray that in the few short hours we were able to spend with them, that they saw Jesus in us. Below the photos is an excerpt from my journal. I woke up at about 4:30 in the morning the day after we visited these kids. The question that wouldn't leave my mind was "who will tell them that they are loved when they're dying?" So finally, I gave up on sleep and slipped out on the balcony and wrote. 

Excerpt from my journal, July 22, 2015
"Seeing those kids at the AIDS orphanage yesterday broke my heart. Everything in me screams that what is happening there is so wrong. So, so wrong. Children are supposed to be loved, guided, taken care of. Instead they looked at us with hardened, dirty faces and told us they didn't know who Jesus is. Without receiving medicine, their life expectancy is 7-10 years. Most of them have reached that age. Who will hold them when they're dying and tell them they are loved? Who will tell them that their lives mattered? Who will tell them that they have a Heavenly Father who loves them so much He sent His Child to stand in their place? These kids are literally dying and on their way to hell and no one cares. How is this good? It forces me to take a hard look at my own life. God has blessed me beyond what I can comprehend. He's given me a relationship with Him, a loving family, a life in the freest country on earth, a house to go home to, a job...yet how often I throw these things back in His face and think about what I don't have? How often do I count the grace of God in my life as common-place? What on earth am I doing with my life? Whenever I stray from You, Lord, remind me of those faces. Remind me that that could have, should have been me. O God, use my redeemed life to bring Your glory to the nations. And in the midst of the tears, the heart-break, and the pain, give me a heart that never stops breaking, that never stops loving, that never becomes hardened to the hurt around me - no matter how painful it is. God, when my heart is breaking, remind me that I only see part of the story. Remind me that You care for these children and Your heart breaks for them far more than mine ever could. Remind me that You have a master plan that weaves even the darkest threads into Your redemptive story. Remind me that even this is working for Your glory."

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