Well, this morning on our way to project #468, I browsed through the packs again and hers was gone so I assumed it wasn't meant to be and was totally fine with that. It was incredible at the project, they had a big party with tons of decorations and music and tons of kids. What I didn't know about this project, was that they focused quite a bit on the teenagers and had over 150 here. It was also an area where human trafficking was a major concern and children were often sold to go work elsewhere. They often didn't return. So this project went out of their way to minister to teenagers. That really spoke to me. My heart was so moved seeing all the teenagers lined up in the front of the church, excited to greet us when we came off the bus. I was wondering if I would see this girl and also who was going to sponsor her. I knew her name was Liliana, such a beautiful name, it was the name of a sweet little 5 year old girl from our church and perhaps that is why I was drawn to her a bit.
At one point, I saw her sitting with another group member, smiling and talking. I felt a slight twinge of jealousy and some disappointment, feeling I had missed out somehow, but I told God that it must not have meant to be for me and that He would have to help me overcome my disappointment, which He did immediately. But in the afternoon, when I was speaking to this group member, she told me that she hadn't heard a yes from God about sponsoring Liliana but that she felt really badly because Liliana was already under the impression that she would sponsor her. My heart jumped, and I was also told that Liliana's home was going to be the one we would be going to for our home visit. I was ecstatic!! Could this be?? As we walked out of the church, I heard that our group had now been given a different home to visit and my hope was crushed. I was not going to her home after all. :( I spoke with the leader and she said that if I wanted to sponsor Liliana, it could be arranged for me to go visit her home later this afternoon but for now, everything was planned and it was too late to switch with someone in another group. Joy surged in my heart again! :) Now not only would I be able to go to one home, but two! :) I'm so thankful for the home we went to visit and I shared about that in my previous blog post. So moving and an experience I will never forget.
So Liliana hasn't had a sponsor for about 1 1/2 yrs, she was 14 yrs old, she lived half a block from the church, and I could go visit her in her home and meet her family....how about that??!! God gave me everything I asked for...and more. The church in this project is called Little Lambs Church and the youth group is called 'More than Conquerors', and I had the opportunity to meet the Pastor and he was wonderful and he had been together with us at our home visit earlier. And how could I not love her with a name like Liliana, which reminded me of a sweet little 5 yr old in my church named Liliana. ......so after lunch and while the others were playing games with the children, Kyrstin and I together with our translator David (pronounced Dahveed :) walked with her and her parents to her home. We saw the very poor conditions they'd been living in for 26 years. There were 8 people living in this home, 5 children, the parents and a grandchild. We were told and we saw how hard she worked for her family. We also met a couple of her siblings and her sisters son who I believe was also part of the project. Because of the extreme poor conditions of this family, 4 of the children were in the Compassion project, Liliana and her brother (who is in the picture), and 2 other siblings who we didn't meet were in the other project center closeby. We saw the joy they had and their love for Jesus, in spite of their circumstances. They had Jesus and that was enough. <3 There were 2 rooms in their brick and straw roof home and the kitchen area had a couple of large wood crates that had Guinea Pigs in them which they raised for food. They no longer sold them for money because then they would have no food to eat. There were two beds in another room, the father slept with the boys, and the other bed the mother slept with the girls. The father showed me where the roof leaked and I was told that the water would run down onto the dirt floor into a hole where he would scoop out the water. It was dangerous for the Guinea Pigs because if they got wet, they would die and then they would lose their food source. It was so hard to fathom all this. It was heart wrenching to see all this and how they lived.
As we were standing in the kitchen area, with the parents standing there, David told Liliana we'd like to sponsor her. My daughter Kyrstin said the highlight of her day was seeing the joy that came across Liliana's face....her hands covered her face for a moment and then she jumped up and hugged us and kept saying thank you. Her parents had such joy as well, they were so thankful and both hugged me greatly. She wiped the tears from her face a couple of times and I could hardly speak because of the lump in my throat and the tears threatened to pour out of my eyes as well. It was a very precious emotional heart moving moment. I asked the family a few questions and we showed them a couple of pictures of our family which Kyrstin had on her phone. They asked if I would send them pictures...of course I would :) Her previous sponsor had only written her 5 letters which she treasured but had not heard from her the last 3 yrs of her sponsorship....so guess what I'm gonna do, I'm gonna write her a letter right when I get home
The time with them was too short and it was hard to say bye. I would treasure this moment forever and I knew Kyrstin wouldn't forget it either. It was an incredible blessing to meet her parents, they were so grateful but oh my, it was so hard to see and to fathom the extremely poor conditions they live in. As we walked back to the church, I looked back to snap a couple more pictures and there was the father, waving at me with a huge smile on his old weathered face which made the tears come afresh......my heart has been changed ......again.....today......ove
rwhelming....humbling...gut wrenching...God ordained...unforgettable.....to say the least....
You could see the church from their home/street :)