This is a descriptive essay that I wrote for my College Writing class. The subject of my essay focused in on my sponsorship of Aymar this summer in Peru with Inca Link International. I hope this will help to better draw you into my experience! Enjoy :)
I pulled the covers up and over my head as the sound of a cheap, tropical ring tone sounded, waking me from my sweet sleep yet another morning. I couldn’t bring myself to move my body or place my bare feet on the cold, cement floor. The mornings at the Albergue Children’s Home were always chilly, and today that seemed especially true. Chills overtook my body as I sat up, wrapped myself in the bed covers and crouched beneath the bunk above me. The crisp, Peruvian breeze fluttered through the curtains. I hastily slid the window shut, dropped back in bed and squinted to read the time. Realizing it was an early Saturday morning, I turned my alarm off and rolled back over in bed. I painfully pulled my knees into my nauseous stomach and it wasn’t long before my exhausted body fell into another deep sleep. The door creaked open; half-asleep I heard the sound of bare feet tip-toeing across the floor toward my bed. Stretching my body, I yawned and scooted to a sitting position beneath my bunk. Jessica and Cindy, a couple of amigas I was interning with, plopped down next to me. Both of their hands were full as they sat down; Jessica handed me a cup of hot, Manzanilla tea, and Cindy offered me some saltine crackers to ease my nausea. It was officially day number two that I was confined to bed. Sickness had overtaken my ability to get up and lead my eager short-term mission team and be with my precious, Peruvian children.
Sitting cross-legged on my bottom bunk, Jessica, Cindy and I reminisced on the past couple of months. We laughed as we recalled our late nights on the roof and our attempts to build a fire beneath the flawless, star-filled sky. Our eyes filled with tears as we were humbled by the work that the Lord had accomplished through us while leading our teams: He opened eyes to the sickening reality of this broken world, foundations were dug and walls were built for the children’s home, Peruvian people were reached with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We sat in unbelief at the realization that our time together was rapidly coming to a close. Throughout the summer we had become a family. Together, we lived in the ministry, loved on the Peruvian children in the daycare, did back-wrenching construction, saw brokenness as the “least of these” rummaged through piles of garbage to support their families and watched as selfless people come thousands of miles away to pour out their love to complete strangers.
One particular ministry that we worked with stood out to the three of us, La Guarderia: The Daycare. Each time we arrived seventy children would dash to the barred windows as the bus came to a stop in front of the building. Every child in the building shouted in one unified song, “Gringooooos!” and as we crouched through the small metal door, we were mobbed with love as the children ran to embrace us. It was in this moment that we felt pure joy, delight, and a love that will never leave the forefront of our minds. Some clean, and others covered in dirt, these children were cared for with the support of sponsors. The difference between the children who attended the daycare and those who weren’t yet sponsored was their bright eyes, and smiles so big and contagious that you questioned whether they could grin any larger. They had hope.
These memories were stored in my mind like a picture book, and as I recalled them, my heart became burdened as I turned to a specific picture - a picture of brokenness, hopelessness, hurt and longing: Deep brown eyes as big as saucers, looked from the outside of the building in, a three-year old girl clung tightly to the metal bars that covered the windows, “broken and longing” written all over her face. Her gaze was fixed on what was inside. Children - riding on the backs and shoulders of the gringos, laughing with joy and contentment, singing their Spanish Vacation Bible School songs as they skipped around the room, hands tightly threaded together with an American girl or boy and sitting down to eat food specially prepared for their little tummies. Aymar, the younger sister of a girl in the daycare, knew that she wasn’t allowed to come inside. She hadn’t been sponsored yet.
As I drew this picture from my mind, my heart broke, tears welled up in my eyes and what the Lord had been impressing on my heart was finally being made clear. I sat on my bed, surrounded by the compassionate love of my two amigas, pivoted my body, set my feet on the cold, cement floor and said to them, “I have to go back.” Running around the corner I doubled back and grabbed my towel for a quick shower. There was no time to waste. As the ice-cold water streamed through my hair, chills ran up and down my back, “Sponsoring Aymar is a big commitment, Hannah. Are you sure you want this?” I questioned myself. Hastily I turned the water off, wrapped my towel tightly around myself and scurried back to my room.
Quickly calling the woman in charge of the daycare, I shared what God had impressed on my heart when He brought to mind the picture of Aymar’s face behind those barred windows. The woman agreed to meet me after lunch at the blue, daycare doors. Stooping through the small door, we entered into the tiny office space. There I was given instructions to search for Aymar and bring both her and her mother to the daycare. Nervous and a bit overwhelmed by the idea, I stepped out, and entered into the garbage dump community. People in this village were covered in the nauseating smell of burning garbage. I began my search and spotted Aymar’s older sister, Lupita, in the distance, I knew she could lead me to their shack. As she aimlessly wandered through the garbage on the dirt path, I called out to her in my best Spanish, “Lupita! Tienes una hermana, no?! Quiero madremar ella hoy! Donde esta su casa?” I questioned if she had a sister and whether she could lead me to their house. Only two years older than her sister, Lupita grasped my hand and led me through the village to their shack. We finally arrived and my joyful, three-year old Aymar came running to the door to greet me. Her face lit up, and a smile radiated through all the dirt on her face as I told her that I wanted to be her sponsor. Aymar and Lupita’s mother came to the door. Although she had two babies, she was hardly more than a baby herself. I shared with her my desire to sponsor her youngest daughter and she agreed to walk down to the daycare with me. As I took Aymar’s hand in mine, the four of us strolled down the dirt road back toward the daycare.
Along with the Daycare staff, we all crammed into the small office space to figure out the logistics of the sponsorship. My heart skipped a beat in excitement and then silently cried out to God in thanksgiving for the joy that I could now give this precious, little girl. I sat in anticipation as the Daycare staff discussed the sponsorship in Spanish. I was too overjoyed to translate what they were saying. I took Aymar’s sponsorship photo for the website, then gently placed Aymar on my lap as we anticipated the news.
The joy, excitement, and smiles abruptly took a sharp turn in the opposite direction when the staff grew silent and the woman in charge of the daycare solemnly looked deep into my eyes and voiced that I was no longer able to sponsor Aymar. No details, simply, that I couldn’t sponsor her. My eyes welled up with tears and I began to question the Lord and what He had laid on my heart. I held in the tears as best I could, took a deep breath in, and asked one simple question. “Tell me one thing,” I said. “I don’t understand why Lupita is able to be sponsored in the daycare and Aymar can’t be.” Those in the room looked at each other, not knowing the answer to my modest question. I left the room, and they discussed that question, seeking out the answer for minutes that seemed like hours.
The door creaked open, and Lisa, the woman in charge, slowly walked over to me as I sat on the dirty floor, head bowed, lifting my requests and anxieties before the Lord. She picked me up from where I was sitting, looked deep into my eyes once more, this time with a new light in her eyes, and told me that I was able to sponsor Aymar. My heart welled up within me and silently cried out, “Lord, you are faithful!” Now my precious Aymar would not only be given water to sustain her physical body, but Living Water that would sustain her little spirit and supply her with everything that I would never be able to give her!