Friday, July 3, 2009

Final Days

We left Antigua Thursday afternoon and traveled to Amor del Nino, a children's home outside of Guatemala City. Amanda and I met Steve Osborn, one of the founders of Love the Child, at the Christian Alliance for Orphans Summit V in April. We are grateful that even though we were not there with a large working team, the Osborns allowed us to visit with them and the children. Many of their children have special needs and spending time with them was a blessing to all of us.

Friday morning, the Butler's went to tour Safe Passage and we (the Braceys and Salemis) spent the entire day with Steve. He picked us up and because we all wanted to be able to visit Safe Passage, he took us to the back part of the Guatemala City garbage dump. We traveled through a cemetery to get there. The closer we got to the dump, the more the look of the cemetery changed. Once there, we walked by graves that had been robbed (of every thing including the caskets) and were circled by buzzards. We stood there, overlooking the dump, for quite some time. I think we were all somewhat speechless about the sights below us. At times, you cannot tell the buzzards from the people...each is large in number and each hovers and waits for something "good" to arrive from the trucks that continuously roll in. As each new truck enters the dump, people surround it, trying to be the first ones to dig through it in hopes of finding something of value. People dig through trash that is already on the ground, as well. There is no way to adequately describe what it is like to watch so many people spend their lives digging through trash to survive.

We left the dump and went to Amor del Nino. For a while we played with the children, but mostly we just hung out with Steve, talking and listening. Actually, I spent most of my was probably the only time during the trip that I was quite. Steve is a wealth of knowledge about all things Guatemala and his testimony is more than inspiring. I found myself trying to soak in every thing he said. It was during our time with him that I began to feel better about our week and the things that had taken place. It helped to hear that someone like him had gone through difficulties in Guatemala. Every one that works in the missions field goes through confusing, hard times, but hearing detailed stories from others that have lived it and gone on to things that once may have seemed impossible helps tremendously. What we experienced during our time in Guatemala cannot be considered "difficult" compared to other stories that I have heard and even seen and we are bound to walk through things much harder to deal with than what we can imagine (it is inevitable), but I think hearing Steve's story, ideas and opinions will prove to be helpful in the years to come. We are incredibly grateful for the time that he spent with us and for his openness and honesty as we prepare to spend our lives working with the people of Guatemala.

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