I sensed them before I saw them. The garbage dump had descended the hill and was now standing in our doorway….the flies buzzing in near proximity, the smell overwhelming. Of course they smelled like the garbage dump. They had been living there the last couple of months.
Their father, in a fit of anger, had set their house to blaze and their family to flee. They found sanctuary in the garbage dump…but not much. Their sanctuary was pieces of plastic mounted waist-high. On rainy nights the young mother, her 15-year-old daughter, and other children of twelve, eight, and six years, huddled together in the mud and trash and tried their best to sleep. They found discarded, rotting food to eat and bottles that still had some soda left in them, and they survived. The mother did everything she could to protect her children, but it would not be enough for long. Men in the garbage dump had noticed her fifteen year-old daughter. They each promised her a place to live and food to eat, if she would come and “be his wife.” It seemed an attractive proposition in light of their situation.
Angie, the six-year old, was the first member of the Castro family we met, in an outreach event to feed the workers of the garbage dump. Angie told us of her situation then hauled her whole family down to AFE to see what we could do. AFE’s leadership met with the mother, listened with empathy to her tale, and knew that we would do the same if the lives of our children were threatened.
“You are not alone. God knows about the trials your family has been through and He has cried with you. He brought you here, to a community that takes care of one other. And He is, right now, in the process of rallying people to help. Let’s go find out who he has called to help you.”
Five minutes later, a visitor who had come to Honduras for other purposes but stopped by AFE for the day went up to AFE’s computer lab. He took out his credit card and charged $5,000 to AFE’s online donation website to pay for a house for the Castro family, to whom no credit is available.
We began work immediately on the house. The children entered AFE’s after school program and begin coming to the church, where the Honduran community takes food offerings for those in need. We put them up in a house, rent-free while their homehttp://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gif is being constructed. And Jesi Ordonez, AFE’s principal sat the oldest daughter down, in front of mirror.
“Katarin,” she told her lovingly, “I want you to take a look at yourself. Look at how beautiful you are. Not just on the outside, but the beauty deep within your soul that shines out of your eyes. You are too beautiful, too wonderful to give yourself away to a tyrant in the garbage dump who will use and abuse you. Wait…and pursue the plans that God has for you. Because he certainly does, he would not have brought you to us otherwise.”
*** Katarin, Alexandra, Brian and Angie are all available for sponsorship. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information or give online at: AFE's Cart