Friday, April 8, 2011

Heartbreak

Have you ever had a broken heart?  Of course, who hasn't?  Heartbreak is something we dread, avoid, recover from.  No one in their right mind would actively seek a broken heart.  On my first trip to Honduras, Suzy sang a song that included the lyric, "If you give your heart to God, He will surely break it...The God of heartbreaking love..."  Whuuut???  Surely she had those lyrics wrong.  Please have those lyrics wrong.   I was totally baffled until my first visit to La Cantera, the most impoverished squatter's settlement near Flor del Campo.  As we walked down the dirt road, past the hovels I burst into tears.  "How can God's children (all of us) let God's children live like that?" I asked.  Suzy smiled a gentle smile and said, "So, God broke your heart today."  And He continues to break my heart and the hearts of many others who come to Honduras.

Yesterday, we said good bye to a small team who came to work with the girls at the safe house, La Vida Nueva.  They are leaders of our sister ministry, She Dances, whose mission is to rescue trafficked girls.  Jeremy is the founder, Julie chairs the Board of Directors, and Daly is a board member.  I went with them to visit INHFA, Honduras' Social Services.   We visited their location called Casita Kennedy.  This is where they house children who have been removed from their homes.  Many of our kids at SBV came from INHFA.  I had heard it was awful but went with an open and curious mind.  My first impression was that it didn't look so bad.  We walked into a large courtyard surrounded by cottages, not too different than the cottages at SBV.  There was a huge shade tree and a very large playground.  All was concrete or pavers but not so bad.  We spent quite a bit of time talking with one of the directors about girls who might be candidates for the safe house.  I had a strong sense that this man was doing his very best and truly cared for the welfare of the children.  He asked me how many babies I was going to take home with me!

Next was the tour.  And it was all downhill from there.  First stop was the young boys (9-11) cottage.  It was nasty.  It looked like a tiny version of a frat house from Animal House.  The walls were filthy and disgusting, what furniture they had was in shreds.  The one window was boarded up.  The only other "windows" (and I use that term loosely) were small slits way up close to the ceiling with bars.  Very prison like.  Next stop was the school.  The classrooms were reasonably large but few children were there.  We went into the 4th grade room.  6 children were in desks against the wall while a radio blared at them.  Their teacher was a lecture broadcast over the radio.

We visited the "Library" cottage.  I did not see a single book but, instead, piles of old newspapers.  There were 2 women and a teenage girl knitting - presumably knitting scarves in this tropical country will provide them a living someday.  Hmmmm.  There were two rooms with toys that were broken and scattered all over the floor.  No children playing with them.

We visited the toddler cottage.  I saw a 2 yr old boy standing in what I suppose was a porta-crib.  All wood, very small.  If it had had a top it would have been a cage.  No toys, nothing.  I asked if I could pick him up.  He immediately nestled his head on my shoulder and remained that way as I gently swayed back and forth for the entire time we were there.  Imagine how hard it was to put him down.

Our last stop was the babies and special needs cottage.  I think this is where my heart broke the most.  We met a little boy, 2 years old, who has been there his entire life.  His parents are Mexican and were deported when he was born. They were so poor they left him in the hospital, I guess in hopes that he would have a better life than going with them to Mexico.  Not so much.  He will grow up there (unless my plea to take him to SBV is successful) in a place with no love or affection.   I can hardly write these words it is still so fresh in my mind.

As we were leaving, David Suazo, Director of the Safe House, told us that on two very recent occasions armed men forced their way into the compound and kidnapped a total of 5 teenage girls to sell them into sex slavery.  Later Suzy told me that several of our own girls were sexually abused by STAFF MEMBERS.  Mari said that sometimes caretakers will sell a baby.   The horrors just kept getting worse.

The rest of the afternoon, waves of horror kept sweeping over me as the truth sunk in.  Julie and Mari had the same experience.  All of us were emotionally exhausted.

God breaks our hearts for a reason, to see His children as He does.  To feel the pain He feels when they suffer.  To fall on our knees praying for these precious children and begging God for guidance - what can I do? 


I believe it is important, crucial, to experience these heartbreaks.  But no one wants to...except Jeremy. At 20 years old (a mere 4 years ago) Jeremy was praying for God to break his heart over something.   God chose trafficked girls and She Dances was born.   This 24 year old has founded a 501c3 organization, has a board of directors, opened their first safe house (his dream is to have them all over the world) and has mobilized countless young supporters.  This is a youth-driven movement.

Daly, 23; Julie, 26; Jeremy, 24
God breaks our hearts and then brings together wondrous people to act in His name to love, heal, and bring hope to His beloved children.  And for that I say AMEN.

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