With more than 53 orphanages in the city of Kingston alone, it is daunting to imagine that any impact can be made. Many of the children have been left without family, but possibly more heartbreaking are the tens of thousands that had to be removed from their families and placed in protective custody.
Family is meant to be safe, to be a haven from an ugly world; yet so many of these children have experienced something far darker. But there is hope…in these safe environments they can learn to accept love again, they can be encouraged to pursue their dreams, they can regain their identities as valuable and made in God’s image. Here they can be reborn from the ashes of their pain to know a Father that truly loves them and will never betray them.
The week had been sprinkled with minor interactions with many of the children at the home, who tend toward shyness and apprehension. On the opening day of the playground, their smiles and joy were abundant, but still, their interactions were reserved. Yet as the team prepared to depart two young girls approached us together holding hands. We greeted them warmly and they quietly said, “thank you.” They didn’t ask for anything else…no candy or balls…no bubbles or bracelets…they simply felt compelled by gratitude to say something. At that moment, we too were able to share how grateful we were to be here with them, to demonstrate God’s love to them. Our conversation was brief as they ran back over to the playground to keep going, but the sweetness of the moment was enduring!