Ten people with different gifts, some unknown to the other, came together and a family was formed.
“Praying that they always know their worth, value and beauty in the eyes of their Father.”
Words from Shara Atkinson, member of the Third Lens Mission Team serving with ministry organization La Casa de Mi Padre in El Salvador
We arrived at the farm, surrounded by rocky roads and plush and beautiful greenery. Greeted by a kind, warm and hospitable staff of La Casa de Mi Padre, executive director, Gary Powell, shared his passionate vision and miraculous stories of what God had done in their ministry thus far. We were in “Awe”!
Excited to jump right in, we got to visit current rented facilities of La Casa de Mi Padre the night we arrived. The precious faces we saw left lasting imprints on our hearts. We played soccer with them and connected with them on their playground. Sometimes without words, each using the the Spanish we could. The eyes that we looked into communicate a glimpse of what these children have gone through during their short life so far. There are horrific stories but not a sense of hopelessness. Just the opposite, HOPE was there! The Hope of Jesus Christ is instilled in these children through the love and teachings of every staff member at La Casa. They believe in restoration and freedom for these families. The Love of Christ was shared.
In love, complete devotion, and aligned with the vision of La Casa, the Third Lens team picked up shovels and started digging. Preparing ground for a retaining wall to be built, sweat dripped as team building and laughter dominated this moment. Others were helping with the finishing touches in the building that had just been remodeled on the top of the hill at the farm…painting, assembling fans, putting locks on the door, hooking up the washer and dryer, etc. All the while friendships are being formed and lives are being changed.
One of my favorite moments with the beautiful girls at La Casa included a second visit to the home on Saturday to “adorn them with beauty” as we painted their small fingernails and gave gifts of jewelry. Celebrating their beautiful locks of hair, beaded necklaces were added around their necks they had made. Words of affirmation reminded them how beautiful they are, “Bonita! Bonita!” Their eyes sparkled as they would look down at their pretty nails.
God did a work in my heart as I read Psalms 39:4-7 one morning I was at the farm. “Show me, Oh Lord, my life’s end and the number of my days; let me know how fleeting my life is. You have made my days a mere hand breadth; the span of my years is as nothing before you. Each man’s life is but a breath. Man is a mere phantom as he goes to and from; He bustles about , but only in vain; he heaps up wealth not knowing who will get it. But now Lord, what do I look for? My HOPE is in YOU.”
We had some little friends that came to visit us at the back gate of La Casa, it seems, most of the days we were there, whom with a handful of us, stole our hearts. Spanish Bibles were given to them, and some toys that we had brought with us, but most importantly The Gospel was shared and the treasures of His Word brought Light to the darkness these children lived in. After saying good bye to them our last day there, tears filled our eyes and a circle was formed as prayers were lifted up for them. Greater things are yet to come for those precious children!! The children and families in El Salvador live day to day not knowing what tomorrow has in store, making the most of today! I want to live by their example.
To God is the GLORY, great things HE has done!!