I walked into the beautiful new home and was instantly greeted by little hands that reached out to be held and smiles that lit up the room.
It was the reason that I had come.
To touch human hearts who have found a place to belong.
Precious little ones gathered around. I guess my weird accent intrigued curious minds.
Man can crush the heart of a child. Evil can try its best to triumph by harming precious little bodies.
But deep within every child is a spirit that is alive and well and just waiting for the tender arms of others to help them heal.
My heart instantly swelled with such a deep love for these children sitting with me at their dining room table. Every one of them so precious in His sight.
Each one arrived here with nothing more than the clothes on their backs and, if they were lucky, a small shopping bag containing all of their earthly possessions.
Amy leaned over and whispered, “A Christmas tree. That’s all they really want.”
A Christmas tree.
Not an iPod or some other electronic device. Not new clothes or even the simplest of presents that most children already have their eye on at this time of year.
Just a Christmas tree.
I choked back tears as I pondered the simplicity of their request.
These precious children sitting in my lap and chatting away in Spanish [in the hope that I would understand what they were saying] had endured so much more than I ever have in all my years on this earth.
Beaten, burned, viciously abused, raped, abandoned.
Each tender life has every right to desire so much more.
But the truth is that these children have already found so much more than earthly treasures where they are right now.
They have found HOME.
A place where they are so loved and treasured.
A place where they are safe and sheltered from all harm.
A place where they are hearing the truth of their loveliness and words of much-needed affirmation.
A place where their healing has already begun.
And so began my recent visit at Village of Hope—Guatemala.
An aching heart.
And so much thankfulness that I was standing in the very house that so many of you helped to build when you gave so generously one year ago. A dream realized.
A humble house that has become a home to many who need a place to belong.
It’s a safe refuge where they can finally know the tangible love of God through the beautiful people who care for them there.
God’s love coming down from heaven through the love poured out by His people.
We named this house The Haven.
God’s sacred tent.
My heart overflowed with such gratitude that one family heard the call of God, packed up their household, and went to be the hands and feet of Jesus to people who are so lost, so broken, and so desperate in this nation.
What began as a tiny seed in their hearts is growing each and every day. Within just a few weeks of opening their doors, the two homes at Village of Hope are already at maximum capacity.
The Block family are what Anthony and I call YES PEOPLE.
Every child, every adult, every unique situation, every broken heart, every broken body seen through the eyes of the One who called them by name.
“We have a twelve-year-old girl who was raped by three different men today. We don’t know if she’s pregnant. She’s hurting. Can you take her?”
Yes, we will!
“We have a teenage boy who was beaten and set on fire. He is scared, hurt and struggling emotionally. Will you take him?”
Of course, we will!
“We have a sixteen-year-old mother and her newborn baby. The baby was born with a very rare condition and is not going to survive for very long. Can you take them both?”
Absolutely, we will!
(Sweet baby boy passed away last week.)
“We have a little girl with AIDS. Her gums are bleeding profusely and we don’t want her here. Can you come and get her?”
We’re on our way for her now.
“There’s a teenage mother and her baby here. The gangs in the institution are trying to kill her and her baby. Their lives are in great danger. Do you have room for them both?”
Yes, we’ll make room!
“We have a former prostitute here. She’s trying desperately to keep her two little children. She wants to be their mother, but doesn’t know how. She cannot read or write or provide for her children. Can you help her and let them all stay with you?”
It would be an honor. Children belong with their mother!
“There’s a fifteen-year-old boy who is homeless and sleeping on a cardboard box. He has nowhere to go and needs a safe place to live. Can he come to you?”
We would have it no other way.
“There’s another woman here who has a little baby. The only life she knows is selling herself. She loves her baby and wants to be the best mother that she can be. They need to get off the street. Is there place for them?”
Send them to us!
And so Village of Hope has grown.
Saying yes to the Lord means that the brokenhearted find their way home, houses get filled with love, laughter and the gift of family…and miracles abound.
In the three months they have been licensed in Guatemala and their first two homes were completed, they have taken twenty precious people off the streets, out of abusive situations, out of horrendous government-run institutions and unfathomable conditions…
…and brought them to this place of safety.
A shelter from the storm.
But the love of their arms and their hearts reaches so much farther than within the walls of their premises.
They reach OUT! They give, they bless, they help, they sow and they pray over some of the poorest people in their community.
Precious people who are created in the eyes of an Almighty Father who adores them.
They live day to day…
…believing that just for today they will have food to eat.
The Block family serve these beautiful people sacrificially.
They provide food to eat.
And replace wheelchairs for the disabled.
And get children and disabled adults off the filthy, dirty, muddy floor…
And into real beds.
And they pray without ceasing—loving each broken, dirty, hungry, needy person as Jesus loves them…passionately.
In three days, I was blessed to spend time with these amazing missionaries and the ones they love on. What an enormous blessing! I looked at the works of their hands and the incredible things that are happening on their small piece of land and I was reminded once again that it takes an army.
It takes an army to make a difference in the lives of people.
It takes teams who can go and share their talents and abilities.
It takes prayer warriors to intercede for every broken heart.
It takes a willingness for the church to rise up and care…
…even if we are not called to go ourselves.
We’re all called to do something to help those in need.
And so I come to you all this month asking if you would prayerfully consider giving back once again.
Giving out of the abundance that the LORD has given each one of us.
Giving out of a heart that longs to help from afar.
Village of Hope has reached maximum capacity with the number of people that they can accommodate. The Block family is now taking children into their own home (because that’s just how they are!) —and even that is at maximum capacity.
Their greatest need is for more accommodation. Another home to be used as a safe place for anyone who needs it.
Last year, the incredibly generous people who read here helped raise $35,000 in one month. That built an entire house that is now HOME to many.
This year the land is being prepared for two more duplexes to be built.
A home where more brokenhearted can find their way back to healing and wholeness.
Every single life matters…
…to the Father in heaven.
And therefore to us too.
This Christmastime, can we choose to once again look beyond our four walls, please? Can we choose to cut back on our own spending just a little and give to those whose needs are far, far greater than our own?
WE DON’T NEED MORE STUFF!
We need to give more, not get more.
The Bible tells us in Acts 20:35, “In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ ”
As I read that last year and again this year, two truths always stand out. Yes, it is absolutely more of a blessing to give, than to receive. But in the same verse, Paul says that we must help the weak.
We MUST help the weak. It’s a calling!
A mandate from the Word of God!
Each precious life IS our problem.
Will you join us in answering the call to help where there is such need?
Let’s build these precious children another HOME, army of God!
Would you share with your friends too, please? Let’s give many people an opportunity to be blessed by their giving.
All donations are being received through PROJECT HOPEFUL. Every single dollar donated will go toward the Village of Hope~Guatemala building fund. Donations are tax deductible.
And yes, the desire of their hearts, the Christmas tree–all glittery and lovely–is an absolute gift to the children in the home. Todd and Amy couldn’t wait to make their dream come true.
For many, their first Christmas tree.
And their first time hearing the Christmas story.
What a beautiful symbol of redemption and hope in that living room!
We love because He first loved us.