Tuesday November 24, 2015
There was an aura around us this morning when we all gathered together for breakfast. A combination, I think, that came from a beautifully recuperative night’s sleep and the utter life giving day we had yesterday. There could be no better way to go into our second full day of service.
Our training this morning was on trauma competent care. In working with children who have a history of abuse, it is absolutely essential to have an understanding of how trauma affects their behavior and how best to work through it. The two most important concepts that we walked away with were those of 1) indiscriminate friendliness and 2) the attachment cycle that occurs with development.
When a child suffers from indiscriminate friendliness, that child has difficulty in deciphering between safe and unsafe people. They do not know how to behave around a stranger as opposed to a friend. For example, upon arrival at the children’s home today, three girls approached one of the Back2Back staff members. Two girls gave him big hugs, while the third held out her hand to shake. It was encouraging to see the third girl understand what was appropriate. She obviously had had help in understanding how to approach someone who is unknown. A child with indiscriminate friendliness most likely would have hugged Moi as well. Obviously, Back2Back is working hard to change these behaviors and thus help these children function appropriately in society.
A break in a child’s attachment cycle means that a child misses out on key moments in receiving care so that they are unable to trust and depend on others to meet their needs, so therefore they lose their voice. If a child does not receive proper care they are unable to give that sort of necessary care and love to others in the future and the unfortunate cycle continues for future generations. We were hearted today, to see several examples of children serving other children and us throughout the day. Their caregivers are obviously doing the necessary things to heal broken attachment cycles and lead them to better tomorrows.
We traveled to the Imperio de Amor Children’s Home again today and spent another wonderful morning playing with our new friends. Many sweet faces seemed to seek out team members that they bonded with yesterday. It was so amazing to be recognized by them and to pick up where we left out in our play. Walls came down much more quickly and both the kids and the team members seemed to be so much more comfortable with each other. Our time with them absolutely flew by and before we knew it, it was time for them to leave for school.
There were countless moments today where God was incredibly present but we were especially struck by His amazing grace, love, and mercy today. When on a tour of the original children’s home building that is currently used as a dorm for the older boys, we stopped in the bedroom. There were 11 twin beds in this room and since the boys were at school, it was empty. The lead staff member of the home, Moi, asked to stop and pick a bed to lay hands and pray over. What a sobering and humbling moment, realizing the obstacles and challenges that these children face every day. We couldn’t help but think about our own children who we tuck into bed at night, knowing that they feel safe, comfortable, secure, and loved. How many of those feelings do THESE boys feel when they drift off to sleep at night? There weren’t very many dry eyes when we left that room, and we are incredibly grateful that God put us in the space to break our hearts even more for these kids.
These children struggle in so many ways due to the many obstacles they face. Their education is one for those areas that get the least of their attention. How could it when they are merely trying to survive and figure out this world that has been so troubling for them? So, it is no surprise to hear that they struggle academically. Imperio de Amor has recently engaged a tutor for the kids. In the span of 6 months, dozens of kids have raised their grades to passing and honor roll levels. These are children who a year ago were at risk of being kicked out of school! Oh what can be accomplished when we invest time and love into children!
The bus ride back to campus was a quiet one today. We are exhausted but in the best possible way. We worked hard physically and we poured all of our love and energy into these littles as enthusiastically as we could.
It’s not enough it call it a good day. It was a blessed day. It was another life giving day. Our hearts were stretched even more today as God opened our eyes and our hearts even more than He did yesterday. We know that He will put even more before us tomorrow and that we will learn about God’s vision for our lives and how our lives can and should blend with that of others. We have been called according to His purpose and His purpose is that we connect with Him and that of ALL His children.
“The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners…to comfort all who mourn…to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks for righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of splendor. They will rebuild the ancient ruins and restore the places long devastated; they will renew the ruined cities that have been devastated for generations…And you will be called priests of the Lord, you will be named ministers of our God…” Isaiah 61:1-5