Saturday, July 14, 2007

Juarez stories

One of the first kids I saw in Juarez was Abi. It was our first full day. She was walking down the street in her jeans, turquoise blue t-shirt and flip flops. She stared at us as our two vans drove toward the building that will be the community center. As soon as we pulled in she was there to greet us, smiling and quick to grab on to anyone’s hand. In the first hour, she attached herself to me, wanting to sit in my lap, and hug and kiss me. Though some of us could communicate little with words, our team wanted to reach out to the kids as much as possible. We soon learned that Abi had a brother named Kevin. He was a fun kid with a great personality. Those who could speak Spanish said he was quite funny and smart. He had a great time playing games with the assistance of others. We learned that Kevin is blind, and I was astonished because I had seen him wandering the streets with absolutely no one with him. Later that evening, Steve, the facilitator of our trip had told us that Kevin and Abi have parents but that they aren’t very involved in their lives. Their father is an alcoholic who isn’t around much and their mother doesn’t pay much attention to them. So, they are left to fend for themselves and pretty much roam the neighborhood. Steve also told us that the community around there had sort of adopted them and allows them to eat with them and hang out in their homes. I was glad to hear this, but hurt for them just the same. I then understood why Abi was so eager for the affection of total strangers; anyone who was willing to love her became a new friend.

Carmen and Juan are a couple who work for Amigos Ministries and have a huge heart for the people in their community. Several years ago Carmen began to notice the poor kids in her community who were thin and hungry. She felt God speaking to her “You aren’t so poor that you can’t help others who are poor.” She also new that many of the kids only had dinner and that children always perform better in school and socially if they have breakfast. So with this she began to talk to her husband about feeding the kids in their community. He was a corn truck driver at the time and made $10 a day. For two months, Carmen bugged him about it and finally he agreed to give her his salary for one day out of the week. So, Carmen started feeding kids breakfast in their home. Eventually, she began cooking and taking food to the school. People outside the community began to find out and wanted their kids to come to this school so they could have a free breakfast. The school officials began to get involved, started cleaning up and improving the school and helping Carmen financially with the meals. Others have donated funds to help out as well. In just the last couple of years, a group who came from Colorado built Carmen a kitchen. They brought kitchen and cooking equipment, and booths from a restaurant that had gone out of business. Now Carmen, Juan, and Juan’s sister Betty all help with the breakfast. Carmen now feeds 300-400 kids every day of the school year a free breakfast when they would otherwise only have their dinner meal. I was so touched at Carmen’s story. What an example of how God can take someone’s obedience and do great and mighty things.


Anonymous said...

Yes, the Nebraska T-shirt caught my attention. That made you feel at home, didn't it, since you have Nebraska shirts at your house, due to Wayne's alma mater! Thanks for the good report. Abi and Kevin are precious. May they receive TLC and God's salvation through Christ. Karen

Wilma said...

kelly! love the pics of juarez! what a precious time you all had. you are awesome! hi wayne! what's up with your bad self? i think i am going to make a blog too so then i can share my brilliance and humbleness with the world :). ciao!