Santa Fe sugar cane village and Casa de Luz; home for handicapped children

(Click through to see today’s images)…  Today’s excursions produced a mixed bag of emotions in me.  We started off tagging along with Springwood Christian, a school roughly an hour outside of Atlanta, and went to a sugar cane village (Santa Fe) to deliver food.  We started the morning bagging some food which would feed a family for a week (roughly $15 per bag which consisted of a bag of rice, two bags of corn meal, two packages of Spaghetti, two bottles of oil, bag of salt, a can of sardines, and a can of beans), then packed up the bus and headed for the village.

We prayed for each recipient individually and fed 34 families between our family and the school we traveled with.  It was a joyous occasion to be able to feel like you could have a tangible impact and make a difference in someone’s life, even if for only a week physically, and hopefully long through prayer.

We returned to the @scoreintl (Score International complex) for lunch then traveled to Case de Luz (Light House), an orphanage for severely handicapped children.  As i understand it, children with significant handicaps, down syndrome, and other major issues are looked upon almost as being possessed and therefore, are not looked favorably on.  I was told by one of the ladies we traveled with yesterday that many of the kids were locked in cages when they were discovered then brought to the orphanage.  Several parents simply abandon their kids there never to have contact again.  And without a governmental program to take care of the most vulnerable, they are doomed.  However, the people at Casa de Luz deserve a special place in heaven for the work they do there.  To care for bed ridden children, change diapers, care for kids that are contorted, screaming, shaking, etc., can’t be easy.  I was stretched way beyond my comfort zone and I’m not afraid to admit that I found myself in tears.  I know we aren’t immune to this in the state, but I couldn’t help but think that I do so little to help others and spend most of my time focusing on how to get what I want, or not lose what I have.  While I’ve been working on my perspective of this, today hit me between the eyes.  This isn’t what God intended.  We have power to bring heaven on earth and trips like this really help to ground me in the fact that the political discourse, the way we treat each other, our priorities of humanity in general have deteriorated and it’s not the government that’s going to fix things – but the people, people, person, me.  To see teams come in and love up on these kids is such a blessing.  Donating time to service should be mandatory!  It does so much for those receiving, and for those giving, well, all I can say is that I’ve been rearranged today.  I don’t think I’ve ever felt more helpless in trying to serve, yet more determined to radically change how I approach life and others.  Yep – it was that moving.

And in that vein – if you have any desire to give to a charity, I would HIGHLY recommend donating to Score International.  This is my fourth year here and what they do to serve their communities is nothing short of remarkable.  Please consider donating, or more importantly, consider donating your time and doing a mission trip.  Every year I go on one, the change in me lasts a little longer each time, and increases my awareness and compassion for those in need ever more.  It’s been a great trip.

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