Our week at Hope of Life always begins with a tour of the facilities and an overview of the ministries. It is amazing how much change has occurred in a year!
The Elder Home
The Senior Adults are receiving hand massages and some are having their nails painted by visiting mission teams. We see lots of walkers and wheelchairs, but many more smiles. The Seniors want to shake our hands and welcome us to Hope of Life. Some of these Seniors were abandoned by their families because of the severity of poverty. Others were found near death high up in the mountains, unable to care for themselves by finding food and water.
Now these precious souls have a family caring for them, they have activities to keep them alert, they are nourished, and necessary medications are provided for them.
Kelley’s Place is the home for special needs children. Many of these children were so malnourished when they were discovered that they have suffered permanent damage to their development. Again, we experience
lots of smiles and eagerness to have someone to hold them and play with them.
Maria lies in her crib. She does not respond at first to our attention. After a few minutes of rubbing her arms and saying her name over and over, she turns toward the sound of her name … and soon she smiles!
We are told children who look to be four or five years old are actually twelve years old or older. The malnutrition from earlier years has caused them to be small, but progress is being made. The children respond to us as we visit. They smile. They reach for us. They want to play!
The hospital is where the rescued babies are brought to receive medical attention. It is also the place where families can come for medical care. The children are nourished back to health. Some moms come with the children, but many moms cannot leave their other children so the rescued children stay at Hope of Life alone. These eventually will either be reunited with their family and go back home, or will stay at Hope of Life. Until age three, these precious children are cared for at the hospital. It doesn’t feel like a hospital when you enter the rooms; the children are happy and eager to play!
We meet 13-month-old Katherine who wants to be held and hugged. When it’s time for us to leave, she cries. Finally, she relaxes in Sandra’s arms and goes to sleep. Mission accomplished!
We meet Jamie who also wants to be held, and Oscar who was always on-the-go and wanted to play – play – play!
Some volunteers have made numerous trips to Hope of Life, and look forward to seeing their “babies” again. Some GFBC members are presently sponsoring these children and helping to provide for their care.
These children are just like our American kids … They want someone to hold them and play with them. The nannies in the hospital are AMAZING! They feed, bathe, diaper, and care for the needs of the children. They seldom sit down, and if they are seated it is with children in their laps! The mission trip volunteers are extra hands to love on these children.
In Matthew 19:14, Jesus said, “Let the children come to me. Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to those who are like these children.” I think Jesus smiles when He sees the love being offered to His children at Hope of Life.
Thank You, Father, for allowing me to hold a child this week. Thank you for the hugs, the smiles, the love given, and the pure love given back to me by the children. Teach us in America to recognize what is really important to You … to love You our God, and to love others …. to take care of the widows and the orphans.
Jesus said, “The most important command is this: You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength. The second is equally important: Love your neighbor as yourself.” ~ Mark 12:30-31
Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you. ~ James 1:27