Finding Joy at the Happiest Place on Earth
Blog post written by Heidi Gresham, Prosper, Texas
Today was truly an amazing day. Words can not express how touching and memorable it was. Whenever I think of happiness and just true joy in the future it will forever be of this day. People talk about having joy when they go shopping or having a special moment with someone they love, but PURE JOY was truly seen in kids’ faces today. We were able to go to Guirola this morning, an orphanage for special needs children under the age of 18. They were so happy to see our huge team, they simply showed JOY. I was able to help a “tia” (“aunt” in Spanish) feed the kids in her room. The girls were so happy to have help and just to receive love and attention. They were so grateful to be hugged. Even though we didn’t speak the same language and had to use a translator they understood that we loved them as sisters in Christ. I had the opportunity to talk with a tia and all I could think to say to her was “Thank you.” Thank you for working with these girls and giving yourself to Christ. The look in her eyes was Joy as I shared my gratitude. She was so humbled that I talked to her and thanked her for something she chooses to do. She shows each one of the girls love every day because she CHOOSES this job. As we talked, I asked if I could have her name to pray for her and her family. Without having a translator, she knew what I was asking. She thanked me for taking the time to come and helping the unit. She reminded me that we will met again when it comes our time and she will remember me. I will forever remember the look on her face and how grateful she was. What a divine appointment.
This afternoon we went over to San Martin, the special needs center for residents over 18. They were so excited to see us as we pulled up in the gringo bus. They were more than ready for the dance party. When our team leader Jenni told us that this was called the “happiest place on earth,” I had no idea what she meant. It was nothing like what I imagined, it was so much more. These adults were truly smiling from ear to ear just because we were there. They wanted to dance all afternoon long in the hot, Salvadorian sun. You could see joy on their faces as they were painted, did their nails and played sports. One lady became my buddy and even though she was unable to speak, we still communicated through our body language. This never slowed her down or bothered her. It made me stop and reflect on how back home when we can’t understand others that we just write them off or try to not associate with them. These adults EMBRACE the different. They love to be around others even if though they can’t communicate. A simple hug, holding a hand and dancing together meant so much to them and brought pure JOY to my heart. Being able to bring a smile to their faces and remind them that they are loved was such a blessing that I will never forget.
Serving in both of these orphanages has truly open up my perspective on missionary work. God is good, God is great, and God is amazing. He put it on my heart to be willing to go on this trip as I watched the team photos and Facebook Live posts last year, even though the details seemed overwhelming. He worked through every challenge that I faced as I prepared to serve because He knew that I was destined to be on this trip. Thank you Lord for showing me pure joy!