You are LOVED

Throughout our preparations to move here and talking with groups while in Honduras, we have been asked what our job is here.  Why did we move to Honduras?  We always answer that we are here to be parents to the 30-35 kids that live at the House of Hope.  We provide structure and discipline.  We bandage cut knees and put ice on bumped heads.  We help with homework and make sure the kids have everything they need for school.  We keep order in the house and discipline the children when necessary.  But most importantly, we LOVE the kids.  We show them the LOVE of Christ.

Many of these children have come from broken homes.  Some have been abused, neglected, and/or abandoned.  Some are ashamed of the things that have happened to them, and some have never had the opportunity to run around and play with friends.  

We hide pain in the weirdest places
Broken souls with smiling faces
Fighting for surrender
For now and the after

The purpose of the House of Hope, and our purpose as Directors, is to shower these kids with LOVE.  No matter what has happened in the past, Christ loves each one of us unconditionally.  Our mission is to love the children with the same love that Christ shows us. I started listening to a song You Are Loved by Stars go Dim on Apple Radio and I began to sing it to the children.  Even if I wasn’t with a kid, I would sing it to them in my head.

You are LOVED
If your heart's in a thousand pieces
If you're lost and you're far from reason
Just look up; know you are LOVED
Just look up; and know you are LOVED

When it feels like something's missing
If it hurts but you can't find healing
Just look up, know you are LOVED
Just look up, know you are LOVED

LOVE appears in different forms.  Sometimes love is giving a child a hug when their family leaves after a visit.  Sometimes love is encouraging a child after a rough day.  Sometimes love is tough when you have to discipline a child for stealing or lying. And sometimes love can be exhausting.  Sometimes it can feel like a one-way street.  We can pour so much into people, and can easily be discouraged if we feel it is not reciprocated.  Sometimes Lauren and I feel this way with our kids.

Today is Father’s Day here in Honduras. I was torn between attending 2 parties that started at the same time. As I went to celebrate at the House of Hope school (135 students), I was 1 of 6 fathers in the room.  I sat in the back of the room and watched as our kids performed dances and dramas.  Each time they looked at me, they smiled.  After this party, I went to the local middle school, Institute of Abundant Live (IVA), where there were around 50 fathers for 180 students.  While Lauren had been there the whole time, I arrived late after the House of Hope school party ended. As I arrived at the IVA party, I got to see the tail end of one of our girls dance.  When she saw me, a huge smile appeared on her face.  After each of the parties, I received dozens of smiling hugs.  The kids were so excited that they had a “dad” that they could claim at the party.

But tonight I was speechless.  The kids took it upon themselves to plan a beautiful dinner for Osiris (our operations manager of 8 years) and me.  They planned it, cooked the food, and handled the decorations.  Lauren was only needed to provide a few resources and errands.  The children painted tablecloths with “Feliz Dia del Padre” and even made centerpieces from flowers around the property.  They recited poems and prayed over the meal.  After dinner, each of them handed me a card that they had made by hand.

I realized something today.  While I have always felt my job here is to love the children, my biggest job may be to BE LOVED.  I am not just here to give hugs, I am also here to receive them.  My purpose is not just to give encouragement, but to be encouraged.  I don't think God just sent me here to shower the kids with love, but He sent me here to give the kids somebody to shower with love.  While I have struggled sometimes in the past, I realize now more than ever that the love here truly is a two-way street.

You are LOVED
Just look up; you are LOVED

I listened to the song again.  Instead of singing to the children this time, I felt it sung to me.  I AM LOVED.