You are a child with a disability, unable to walk, maybe even unable to see or hear as well. You are an orphan with no one to hug you, speak to you, and even love you. You lay in a bed in a room with 20 others just like you. You lay there for 20 hours a day. Your body is stiff and hard from being in the same position all day long. You were a very thick diaper that is maybe changed once a day. This is your life..all day, everyday.
Some of you may be in tears about now, I know I was when I witnessed this first hand on Saturday when we went to Hermano Pedro. This is an orphanage/hospital for the disabled children, youth, and adults in Guatemala. It is located in La Antigua and houses around 240 people. Dick Rutgers, a second cousin to Trina and a Lyndenite himself, has lived here for 11 years. This is his home. He is the man that has given these people a wheelchair. And when they get the chance to be placed in one, they couldn’t be happier!
The Way They Live
You read earlier about the living conditions of the people that live in Hermano Pedro. This is literally how their lives are spent each day. Some do have family that visits them, but a majority are orphans who were “given up” because of their disability. Some parents, mainly single mothers, don’t necessarily want to give up their disabled child, but taking care of that one may mean that her other children will starve and not be taken care of. Some babies are even thrown away. I can’t write that last sentence without crying. I met a child who was literally found in a dump. He was probably thrown away because of his disability. I stood by his side and looked at him as the life in his eyes was gone. I reached my fingers in his little jail of a crib and wrapped them around his. I spoke to him but there was no response. My heart breaks for that little boy. In the crib next to him was another little boy. He too was lifeless when I passed by him. However, this time, when I wrapped my fingers around his, there was a response. He began to move around and even wimpered as he craved, what I believe, was a mother’s touch. I pray for God’s blessing upon these children.
Next we went to the Malnutrition Center, located in the same building. These children are not disabled but come to Hermano Pedro because of severe malnutrition. They are literally starving. We were not able to go inside this ward because we had Asher with us; but Dick brought out a few children for us to visit with. We met two little boys, both named Jose. They were such sweet little angels that I wanted to take home with me! In the picture to the left is Chad and Dick with both Jose’s. The boy that Dick is holding is 4 years old and weighs 25 lbs. That is what my Asher weighs and he is three times younger! Dick also brought out a little girl who was 6 years old and weighed 16 lbs. I remember crying when I saw her ankles, for she had to have her socks taped on so they would not fall off. Praise God that these children were brought in to be taken care of and fed!
So Worth It
So as you can see, it was a difficult and heart wrenching day for us. However, it was also rewarding because we knew that this is definitely where God wants us to be. We won’t necessarily be working with disabled children, but we will be working with the starving and broken. Never have I felt so sure about the journey that God is leading us on. I am so thankful for the road that we are now traveling. And I will fully rely on HIM everyday, because I can’t, and will not do it without Him. To Him be the glory.