I watched on the first morning as Victor, the program director, shared from the Bible and led a discussion with the kids. At first it seemed ordinary, but slowly I noticed something different. Victor seemed to know each child by name. They listened closely and were captivated by him.
I thought perhaps they were just really obedient children, but I soon realized: Victor and his wife, Lety, had a personal relationship with each child. They were not merely children attending a program; they were dearly loved by Victor and Lety. They were seen. They were listened to. They were cared for. They mattered. They were important.
Not What I Expected
I found myself in the middle of the week remembering back to those trips with other organizations. I had cried so hard simply at the thought of saying goodbye to my sponsored child. I remember seeing children – living in an abandoned school bus or attending a community program – and feeling so much grief and sorrow. I felt broken.
And now I found myself not feeling these emotions. I wondered what was wrong. Why wasn’t I crying? Had I become less sensitive? Did I not love these children as much? Why wasn’t I heartbroken at the thought of saying goodbye? Had I become calloused over the years and didn’t care as much?
I shared my feelings with my husband and found he too was feeling the same way. As we dialogued about it, we realized something. What we were feeling wasn’t a calloused heart or a lack of love, but instead, it was peace. We had peace knowing these children were not going to be overlooked. They had Victor and Lety standing up for them.
On a previous mission trip, I felt I had to be the one to stand up for my sponsored child when he was being bullied. I was nervous for his future. But here at the Forward Edge children’s program in Mexico, that didn’t happen. They have grandparent-like figures who’ve known them for years. Victor and Lety have been a constant source of dependability for these children having led the program for 16 years.