During this fall season, One More Child has had the pleasure of hosting a Social Work Intern from Southeastern University, named “Emily J.” Her primary task has been to examine the affects and influences of Child Sponsorship, and evaluate how we can make positive improvements to the program for the betterment of our children and families. The following is a collection of her thoughts and experiences as she prepares to leave after spending the past month at our Malnutrition Center in San Juan, Guatemala. For more information about Child Sponsorship, log onto: OneMoreChild.org/Child-Sponsorship. For more information about our internship program, click here: OneMoreChild.org/Internship-Program/
In a few days I’ll be leaving this country. I’m slightly overwhelmed and frantically attempting to cross off the final tasks on my to-do lists. I am desperately trying to not think about the fact that when I return I will only have a few short weeks before the end of my college career!
But I want to take a few minutes to share my biggest take away from this trip. I’m learning so much and everyday is a new revelation. But the one I’m learning the most is how to pray a hard prayer.
What do I mean? This past summer I went to Turkey and had the opportunity to work in a refugee camp. When my team and I drove away after our last day in the camp, we had this moment where we all hoped to never see these people again. We did not hope this because we did not enjoy our time with them, or because we couldn’t stand these people, but quite the opposite. We hoped that if we return in a year or more, that these people we came to love would not be there. We prayed that they would find their way out of the refugee camp and that they would find home, safety and security. We hoped that when we returned, the camp would be empty and our friends would be safe.
I’m learning to pray this same thing for the Center, for these kids.
I have been able to join the Center social worker in her daily activities to check up on kids who have previously been at the Malnutrition Center; children who have returned home with their families. These children are now being sponsored through One More Child. As we looked through case file after case file, I had a few options about my reactions. I could have seen these scenarios and chosen to look at the “poverty” and the “lack of ___” —or I could see the answer to prayer. I could see a once institutionalized child home with their family. I could have been upset when the children did not want to shake my hand or even be in the same room with me, or I could see the beauty a child who is so connected to his mother that he does not want to ever have to leave her again.
A lot of the institutions I have worked in around the world have become home to the children who reside there; but this one is different. There is a beauty in the temporary stay that this Center is created for. As heart breaking as it is to say goodbye and to see the faces of the other kids when their friends go home, it is all the more joyous when you see a family reunited.
I have had the privilege to love on 8 little ones and then watch them get reunited with their families over this past month. Eight children who came into this program malnourished and sick, but are leaving restored and healthy. Eight kiddos who now know the love of the Lord, His people, and a family.
Guatemala is teaching me a lot about the power of family and the importance of family preservation. I want to be in the business of seeing families and children restored.
So as I prepare to head back in to my last few weeks of college, I am saying goodbye and hoping to never see these kids again at this center. Everything in me wants to revolt against that prayer and wrap my selfish arms around them, but my heart and head know the truth. I really do hope that when I return these kids, that have loved me so well, would not be here anymore. I hope that they are home and safe and healthy. I’ll pray these hard prayers because this place is second best and every child does deserve a family and a home.
Now enjoy this perfectly timed photo of one of those I am praying this hard prayer for…