The third day we were in Bogota we attended worship service at the church Liliana and Hector pastor at, Comunidad Cristiana Fundamentos. It was such a powerful service. It started with a breakfast they were so kind to make and serve us. The service started with the singing of the Colombian and American national anthems. It was such a great way to start the day. The church was so welcoming. Liliana and Hector’s daughter, Heyli led the music and Matt did the sermon. It was one of those services where you can feel the holy spirit the entire time and you are not ready for church to end when it does.
Jose, the director of some of the institutions joined us for the service and then asked us to visit one of the emergency centers. The emergency centers are where the children are first brought before they are taken to an institution. They are usually not there for long, I think I remember someone saying usually no longer than a couple of months. The particular emergency center we visited was in the city. It housed boys and girls of various ages.
When we first got there the boys welcomed us. They were between the ages of 10 and 15. A few minutes later we could see the girls walking down. The front of the building was entirely windows. The girls were lined up and looking at us. And of course they were all smiles.
But something unexpected happened. I was looking thru the window and there lined up with the other girls were about 3 or 4 little girls. They couldn’t have been more than 5 or 6 years old. And I guess for the first time I realized we were not in Colombia to visit only preteens and teenagers but little girls were orphans too. I had to keep myself from being visibly upset. I didn’t have very long because shortly after an entire line of young boys came walking up.
Like everywhere we had been the kids were so excited to be with us. Laura, a girl who was there with an older and younger sister took my hand and showed me around. One of the very young boys once he found out we were from the United States asked if we were from Las Vegas! I laughed so hard. We only were at the emergency center for a short time but it was very difficult to leave.
I didn’t do much the rest of that day. As a matter of fact I took a nap. I was pretty emotionally spent. I spoke with Maddie that evening on the phone. That was even hard. Hearing her little voice reminded me the voices of the children I had spent the past few days with and how they didn’t have mommies to be excited to hear from.
That Monday and Tuesday we drove back into Madrid to visit Amparo de Ninos, a boy’s institution. I have to say out of all 3 institutions we visited I felt the most at home at Amparo de Ninos. I think it has something to do with mothers and sons. The first half of the first day the boys had a huge program for us. They were so delightful and it was said that the boys were not only excited we were there but they had been excited preparing for our visit. Later in the week one of my mission mates, Karen, said something that really tugged on my heart. I am paraphrasing but she said something like she is there for every function her kids are apart of and these boys were excited to put on a show for us and she felt blessed to be there for them and sad they do not have parents to watch them…. I totally just butchered her insight but I hope you understand her point.
After the program I got to know a boy Christian who is 11 and as cute as they come. He was very quiet and sweet. He only told me he didn’t have parents, he nevr explained why. He did say he had an older brother but from the information I got, I think his brother ran away from the institution. We sat together for lunch and his friend Jefferson and another friend joined us. We sat with Kim and a few boys she was with. When they brought our food Kim and I put tried to cut our meat with our plastic knives. When the boys saw hw we were eating they immediately tired to do the same. It was very cute watching them imitate us. What made it more funny was the beef was pretty tough and we were all having a hard time with it. The boys really tried to be polite and cut their meat up. We eventually told them they could eat how they wanted and they all picked up their meat and started gnawing on it. It gave our end of the table a pretty good laugh.
The rest of that day and the next I spent with Christian and Jefferson. They were so easy going and sweet. They gave me a complete tour of the beautiful property and joined me as we all watched cows get milked. When we left on the second day I was sad to leave my new boys but felt a peace about leaving them. I am not sure why I was so at ease to leave. I felt God placed on my heart to really try and see if I could help Jefferson and Christian find family. So any of you out there that have ever thought of adoption you need to call me up I can tell you about some amazing boys!