Wednesday, August 4, 2010

What you can't buy at WalMart

Last night during our group discussion time, I found myself a little distracted by the party going on in my belly. Every 30 seconds or so, my stomach would bulge out in a certain spot, and I could feel the tiniest hand or foot pushing out against the walls around her. After our meeting I showed Andy where she'd been moving and we watched together as her little feet or hands pushed out on my stomach. A couple times she pushed out right under Andy's hand, making both of us laugh out of wonder and joy at the tiny, incredible life growing inside me. And right in the midst of that joy, I suddenly felt very aware of the greatest need of each child we've met here in Honduras. The clothes and shoes we bought for them will be appreciated, the toys we bought will be exciting (for as long as they last), the food we bought will help provide nourishment, and the pinata filled with candy will be a fun and memorable way to end the week.

But what they need most is for someone to find so much joy in their very existence that they never question their value, or whether there is at least one person who loves them, who cares enough about them to laugh when they do something silly, to be proud of the picture they drew or the question they answered in school that day. I can't help wondering as I try to show these children love if anyone ever marveled over their unborn movements, dreaming about who they would be, what they would look like, and how they could ever adequately express the depth of love their very being has brought into existence.

There are so many complicated, broken stories behind the face of each child - some are abandoned, some abused, some neglected, some just separated temporarily from their families. "Fixing" all of those problems is beyond the scope of any person, church, organization, or government. But I am convinced that there is still value in trying. We will never place every child in a home. We will never eliminate the broken families and social structures that lead to children with no place to live. And we will never fully understand all the factors and cycles that contribute to these children's stories. But we will reach many more trying than we will by giving up. It can be difficult to have hope for the orphan situation in Honduras, and all over the world. But if the alternative to hope is despair, we owe it to ourselves and to these kids to choose hope.


  1. This is really touching, Janell. Your daughter's fortunate to have you and Andy for parents, and your time in Honduras brings a bit of that same fortune to the children at the orphanages. It's hard to fathom what a different place this world would be if we each contributed in this "small" way.

  2. Your comments are so true, Janell, and why I want to adopt!!! I just read something about how it can be so discouraging to try and help when there are so many layers to a problem...but it's like that starfish story...every little bit of help makes a difference- and much more of a difference than not doing anything at all.

  3. I agree with Ben, Janell. So adequately, you conveyed how crucial it is, in whatever scenario we exist and function, to try, against overwhelming odds, to hope, to do even a little. It is always better than the alternative. Thank you for taking the time and effort to express such touching, convicting thoughts.

  4. What a beautiful post, Janell. So thankful for you and Andy and your servants hearts for the least of these. Thanks for sharing from your trip and from your hearts.