Holding Joshua

She began to cry as she told us her story.  I felt her pain and fear as this mother described the day she narrowly escaped death from a landslide.  She described Hurricane Agatha and all the damage it had caused back in May, and how this rainy season brings fear to her family because her home is not in a very safe place.

I will admit, as we entered this home today, I was a bit hesitant.   This shanty house was built on a steep hill, and the ground all around the home looked sketchy, to say the least.

“My little boy cries when it rains because he is afraid.”

As this mother described her situation, I couldn’t help but cry.   Her home, the rain, the poverty, the old, dirty shoes in corner, filled me with sadness. I, on the other hand, have a wonderful home that holds back the rain.  My children sleep in dry beds and we have a safe place to live. But for this Guatemalan mother, life seemed so difficult.  I was thankful that her three children were sponsored through Compassion and receiving help.

As we left the home, I heard Ann, through her tears say, “Where is theology and doctrine in all of this?”

I looked at this impoverished hillside community, and all the evidence of recent mudslides, and my heart was overwhelmed with the suffering.

I love leading trips for Compassion, but sometimes seeing the realities that come with poverty, and the amount of human suffering in this world, leaves me with a helpless feeling.  As I climbed the hill back up to the bus, I just felt sad.

Why God?  Why does it have to be this way?

As we ate lunch, I could not shake this feeling.

After lunch, we went back to the church project to be with all the children.  As we waited for the children to arrive, Claudia, our staff person here in Guatemala, introduced me to Joshua.  40 days old, I held this precious life and wondered what his life would be like.  I thought about all that I had seen in this day, and I prayed his story would be different.

After a few minutes, Joshua fell asleep in my arms and I remembered holding my own little baby, Grace, who happens to be 13 now.  I remembered holding Grace and taking comfort in her little life after watching my father-in-law, who I loved dearly, die.  Somehow, little Joshua brought that moment to my mind, and reminded me that God, the giver of life, always loves us.  There is always hope even in the floods, mud and poverty.

I gave Joshua back to his mother, and I thanked Joshua’s mother for letting me hold her little baby boy.

I have seen a lot of poverty.  I have seen suffering. I don’t know how theology and doctrine fits into all I have seen.  The world is messed up and we need a Savior.

Later, I sat down with these sponsored girls, and used my five phrases of Spanish to impress my audience.   Sure enough, the hugs came, the smiles, and the laughter.  Then, like yesterday, the kids began to sing at the top of their lungs and I heard it.  My sadness disappeared. I saw it.  My heart became happy and I felt it.

Hope.

Hope.

Hope.

We do have a Savior.

Sponsoring five children has brought life change to my entire family.  Please consider changing a life for a child, and letting a sponsored child change your life.  To sponsor a child…click here.

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14 Comments on “Holding Joshua

  1. Patricia,
    I love reading your blogs. I feel like I am there with you. Seeing the children with new shoes, holding a new born and singing with the children. What can be better. Hang on to those experiences and I will join you in praying for the others. God bless you.
    Sandra

  2. Meridith,
    Your encouragement has been so wonderful! Thank you for following and serving the kids too.
    Patricia

  3. Pingback: Compassion Bloggers in Guatemala: Coming Home | Learning as I go…

  4. Expressed so, so well. Thank you.

    Yes, we do have a Savior. I have heard Him speak similar words when my heart was broken over suffering. “Lord, do something,” I cried…and then distinctly heard Him reply, “I have, child. I have.”

  5. Kristen,
    Thank you! I miss you. You were right about Ann, she is a beautiful person with the most amazing spirit.
    Patricia

  6. Thank you, thank you, thank you. Thank you for loving these people who I love. I may not know them personally but I do love them. My family and I were in Guatemala in June on a mission trip and I know their stories of Agatha. I have seen the pain, the poverty and the lost. I have seen Jesus give hope.
    My sponsored child, Denis is in Guatemala and I thank you for loving him and his people.

  7. Our family has been changed, too. We have the joy of supporting 10 children through Compassion and I am asking the Lord about another one. Of all the things I have done in life nothing brings so much joy as giving back to our Lord! Bless you for sharing your stories with us.

  8. I don’t know where theology and doctrine fit into it all either. Jesus probably wonders the same thing.
    But He is there. I can see Him in your smile. I can feel Him in Ann’s cry. He is in the midst of it.

  9. Terrell,
    You and your family are so encouraging. I am truly excited about you and Kristen are doing! Thank you for your kind words. I sure miss your beautiful wife. Give her a hug for me.
    Patricia

  10. Well Steve said that Kristen’s post in Kenya was the first one to make him cry. This one wasn’t the first one of the Guatemala trip, but it was the first one today.

    I cried at Ann’s question and at your answer because I’ve asked that question myself. More than once. Tonight I ask it again. I shed a few more hot tears, I renew a commitment to “touch one” and I cling to Him.

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