On Orphans, Burn Units, and Other Things

Today I ate crusty bread, observed some head lice, and jump roped. 

It was a typical day at Zapatitos, a boys orphanage located about 40 minutes walking distance from the hospital. The compound houses 46 boys between the ages of 2 and 16. It is also home to about eight dogs as well.

Kristen and I spent the first couple hours of our visit doing routine physical exams on every kid. It made for busy work, as we saw a lot of dirty cuts, respiratory infections, and head lice. The worst health problem by far was the tooth decay. Nearly every child had very progressed cavities, some with whole crowns rotted away. They looked extremely painful; I have never seen anything like it.

Two of the children also had severe vision impairment. One consequently suffered from chronic headaches, and the other could only see out of his peripherals. We got them both eye exams at the hospital, and now they’re sportin’ their new lenses:

Okay, these are my sunglasses, but I never got a chance to catch a picture of the new lenses!
The exams and glasses were paid for by a friend who felt God’s leading in providing specifically for these two kids.

The rest of the afternoon was spent teaching Bible songs, playing with and just loving on these kids. And man, do these kids love. I was blown away by their uninhibited affection. They run up to you and hold your hand and crawl into your lap and ask to be spun around. They will jump and throw and play patty-cake with you all day long if you let them.

That evening on the way home, I cried. Never in my life have I lacked affection, and these kids craved it. My parents told me everyday that they loved me, and these boys clung to every sign of love. I used to have closets full of toys, and these kids’ faces lit up when given a toothbrush.

I don’t know why God blesses some so abundantly and not others, and I don’t pretend to. I don’t know why I was born into a loving family in the wealthiest nation in the world, while Joshue is raised in an orphanage in South America’s poorest country.

I just have to trust that God didn’t bless me for no reason, that it all led to this moment when I can share the love that I have so abundantly with kids that need it so desperately.

I love the way Joshue’s face lights up when the tickle monster attacks. And that Bryon can now play futbol with his new corrective lenses. Or these boys can brush their teeth with their favorite color toothbrush.

To whom much is given, much is expected.
 Luke 12:48

An intense game of marbles.
Chores. It’s these kids’ turn in the kitchen.
This is little Joshue when we first
met him during a physical examination.
 This is him warming up to some playtime!
These are tennis shoes. Or at least, they were.

3 responses to “On Orphans, Burn Units, and Other Things

  1. Pingback: It’s Not About the Cha-Ching, Cha-Ching | See Mox Run·

  2. Pingback: How to Pray | See Mox Run·

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