Here at Pasitos, the girls have a motto that they say to remind them of the Lord’s love for them. Each time a group comes from SCORE, they do their little chant (one of these days I’ll remember to record is and post it). They say, Yo soy lo que el gran yo soy dice que yo soy. Yo soy una niña muy especial. Somos niñas especiales. Gracias Señor por ser quien soy. Translated: I am who the Great I am says that I am. I am a very special girl. We are all special girls. Thank you, Lord, for who I am.
Yesterday morning I heard one of the older girls here, Kambell, reciting 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 in English while she was making breakfast. Later on, a group from SCORE came through and she was talking to one of the men with the group. I made her recite the verse to him, and then the man said he had a verse he wanted to share with her: Isaiah 54:10, “’Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken, nor my covenant of peace be removed,’ says the Lord, who has compassion on you.” He then asked her how long she’s been a Christian for, and I had the opportunity to translate for her as she shared her testimony with him. Let me just say, translating this 15-year-old girl’s story without crying myself was a difficult feat. She told him how her grandmother was a Christian, but her parents treated her badly in her home (if you missed my last post: most of the girls here come from homes where they were either sexually or physically abused). Because of her experiences, she questioned how God could exist; if He existed, she thought, why did he let those things happen to her? Then three years ago, she was brought to Pasitos de Jesús, and through her time here and Dalma’s care, she began to understand God’s love for her and accepted Christ.
That’s just one story of the 32 girls who are here. I keep feeling like the girls here are more of a blessing for the Americans come through than we are for them. Each time a group comes, I share the story of how the orphanage got started and introduce the girls. They say their motto, sing a few songs (including How Great Is Our God in Spanish and English), and then Anely (Dalma’s daughter and my roommate) thanks everyone for being here, saying, “The girls here are very happy. You have come and shared with us, and now we want to give you something in return—the only thing we have to give, the love of Christ.” They sing a song that essentially says we had a great day together, here’s a song to remember us by, and “receive these hugs” (that sounds stupid directly translated, but here we are). Then all the younger ones run around and hug all the visitors while they finish the song. It’s one of my favorite things about this place; the song is so much fun, and the visitors’ reactions are always priceless. Mostly people just cry and cry and cry from “How Great Is Our God” until the end, which I did too my first time here…who am I kidding, I still tear up sometimes when they do it.
Being here is such a reminder to me of the Lord’s great love, and more so, that He truly changes lives. He pulls us from darkness and fills us with His light, so that we may shine. Kambell is one of the most joyful girls I’ve ever met, so much so that you can see Christ in her. To think of what her life was like 3 years ago, but see her joy now is incredible. I Skyped with my parents on Tuesday night and probably complained a little too much (being with young girls 24/7 is honestly exhausting). But when my dad asked, “Are you having second thoughts being there for so long?” I immediately knew the answer was no. I’m exhausted and sometimes I just want an hour without a 5-year-old waddling by asking me for something, but this is so where I belong. I also have some of the most supportive friends, both here and in the USA, that always give me words of encouragement when I seem to need them most.
PLUS: Only 16 more days until my best friend is here, and that is the best thing in the world.