Blog post written by Lauren O'Brien, Orange, CA
Yesterday everyone was feeling pretty tired after a full first day of ministry on Sunday. Despite my own weariness, I was super excited because I knew that we were going to be visiting two special needs centers.
During my first trip to El Salvador this summer, we had such a busy schedule that we were unable to spend time at these particular centers. This time around, I looked forward to talking to these kids, dancing with them, and especially feeding them, even though those were some of the hardest things I have had to do on past trips with Sus Hijos.
Serving those with disabilities demands all your attention. It requires physical and emotional strength, as well as an immense amount of patience. For these reasons, every time I have the opportunity to serve in these centers, I am so amazed at all the "tias" (aunts/caretakers) that work there. At one of the centers, there is one tia per eight or nine kids in each room. It is hard enough to take care of one child with special needs for just a few hours; I could not imagine how difficult it must be to take care of multiple kids all day and all night.
Before saying our goodbyes at the center for children, we split into groups to feed dinner to the kids. Not only did the kids love the individual attention that they probably only get on a few occasions, but the tias were also filled with joy at seeing our willingness to help. The boy that I helped feed loved being tickled, and he laughed and screamed when we would pretend to fall over—which we probably did for about thirty minutes—and he never got tired of it.
What a blessing it was for me to be a part of that beautiful day spent with beautiful people. No matter what the world says, they are no less of people... just like you and me... just like Jesus. Christ said in Matthew 25 that when we take care of the outcasts of our society—or the “least of these”—that we are actually serving him as if he was the one we are taking care of. I think that is wonderful, and it brings a smile to my face knowing that I get the amazing opportunity to actually be with Jesus when I spend time with the kids at these centers.