If you belong to a church, or maybe even if you don't, you may have participated in a Christmastime charity through the company "Samaritan's Purse". It involves filling a shoebox with toys and necessary items for children from different age brackets.
My family and I have done this for years and, although we were told that these boxes would go to needy children all over the world, I admit that I didn't really think about them once the box left my hands.
That is forever changed now after I was able to participate in an event that distributed these very boxes to street children and orphans of Guadalajara!
I didn't know it when I agreed to come help. All I knew is that I was going to wake up at 7:00 to take a long bus ride to a park to help (on my last Saturday before returning back to work after Christmas, mind you...). Charla and I got to the park very quickly, which meant that we were there at 8:15--the time we were told the helpers should arrive. Now, some of you may know that, in Mexico, when you are told to arrive at 8:15, that means nothing will start until 9:00, if you're lucky, and that you would have been better off coming late. Well, we still can seem to shake our American punctuality, and we got there super early.
I'm not complaining, though, because it was a great surprise to see huge trucks pull up and unload the Samaritan's Purse boxes. It was fun to help set up the carnival games, and to say hello to most of the Christian community we've met since moving to Guadalajara.
Charla and I were posted at the "Pulseras" (bracelets) booth with some Lincoln School staff members, Ruben and Sylvia. We helped teach kids a bible verse "El Señor te guardará de todo mal. El guardará mi alma." Psalm 121. And they made the bracelets with the different colored beads that represent different steps in the story of salvation.
I will admit that I felt some pangs of guilt, telling these children that God will protect them from all bad things. The truth is that, as a Christian, God doesn't promise to take all the bad away. But he does promise that he's always with us through it... we just have to know where to look. I hope these kids can come to learn that, as their lives are surely full of more struggles ahead.
Above: Sylvia telling the children the meaning of the beads.
Left: The speaker giving a message to the children.