Two weeks ago, a good friend and I decided to sit together and pray for something incredibly close to our hearts. In the kitchen of her apartment, we lifted our voices to ask for something we have spent much time trying to plan and dream—
organic relationships, moments and interactions within our community, specifically with the teens in our hope program.
I’m confident that our requests landed right at the feet of Jesus and he must have picked them up, looked them over and thought, “alright, i will blow their minds with what a simple prayer can do.” Well, at least I know he blew mine. But what else is new?!
We have a going away party for my roommate Jenna and end the evening dancing the cupid shuffle with several of the teen girls. They invite us to join their nightly Zumba routine whenever we want—no judgment for our dancing.
On my lunch hour on Wednesday, one of the girls comes over to practice English, a long-awaited date that is shared over iced tea. We run way over the allotted hour, but it’s totally worth it.
That night, I share a devotional around the family dinner table with three boys in one of the teen homes. Not only is our conversation genuine and real, but they invite me to stay for dinner. We share jokes and life experiences over plates full of yummy steak tacos.
Later, a teen who never (and i mean never) knocks on my door, comes over and wants to know if I will help her with her English homework. It makes my night. I invite her back.
Meanwhile, another girl knocks on the door. She needs to put more minutes on her phone and wants to know if I am planning to go out tonight. Just so happens, my phone ran out of credit on the same day. I add her errand to my own and in return, we share more conversation than we have since I have lived here.
The next night, two sisters wander campus in search of a color printer for a school project. My roommate and I just bought new ink for ours, so they come in and take a seat on the couch. As it prints, we chat and share ideas.
Friday night, we host a training for local volunteers. As I wait outside for them to finish their tour, I catch up with one of our boys, sharing his moment of shock when he realized that all of these mexicans were coming here to serve the children’s homes. It was his testimony that he gave up front at the Cumbre that helped make this possible.
Saturday is game night with some staff at one of the teen boys’ homes. I share my first conversation with one of the boys who is almost always gone at work. Then, the American staff begin to play apples to apples at the kitchen table [in English of course]. I invite one of the boys to join and we make a team. Despite my inability to translate words like “quirky” and “band camp”, we ended up winning the game.
I wasn’t planning on going to church in the morning, but the new staff couple is taking care of a boys home and they need directions. So, I decide to ride along. That morning, my friend Anna calls—her girls are also coming to church this morning. It is probably their first time attending a church where they are not reminded that they are kids from a children’s home—they just join us.
After church, we pick up some Pollo Loco to go. We head back to the campus to share a meal around the big dinner table at a teen home—boys who live there, staff and the teen girls from the children’s home nearby. It’s just a regular Sunday afternoon.
Later that afternoon, I accept an invitation to go to church with another teen home full of girls that I absolutely love. After many conversations with my mentee about her favorite ways to connect with the Lord, I finally join her in her first choice as we dance in worship at her church.
After the evening at church, their house parents ask me & another visiting staff member to give the girls a ride home, and stop for dinner tacos on the way. We sit outside at a favorite taco joint and talk about church, life’s recent happenings, mentors, friends and their reality.
This week begins with more work than I can imagine getting done, so we hire some of the girls who are eager for work to help us out. They get a taste of the office as we listen to music and work side by side. As the day comes to a close, one of them accompanies me to my apartment so she can keep working while I make dinner. Before she goes, I share my salad and she shares her story.