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On being homesick for an unseen home

Ometepe 1 ddcc5573
I wasn’t going to post today, but the blog habit dies hard.  As you may recall, Karen and I coach a World Race team.  I ran across this post from Sara Ellis and these pics and some stories from Natalie Montgomery (two members of the squad we coach), and I had to share them.   F…
By Seth Barnes
Ometepe 1I wasn’t going to post today, but the blog habit dies hard.  As you may recall, Karen and I coach a World Race team. 

I ran across this post from Sara Ellis and these pics and some stories from Natalie Montgomery (two members of the squad we coach), and I had to share them.

 
From Sara:

It has been 10 days since we have
arrived on Ometepe Island in Nicaragua, and made our home at CICRIN
orphanage. 

At CICRIN about 30 children and young adults live, most are
not orphans at all, but children removed from homes where they where
abused and neglected. 

As we stepped into the lives and homes of the
children here, many of us were overcome with a homesickness we could
not explain.  At first we attributed it to the downtime, the
transition, the endless days of rice and beans, but none of that could
explain away the longings of our true hearts. 

saturday 002After several days of this dark cloud, something became clear to
me: these children are homesick too.  Homesick for a place they don´t
remember, a place that never existed, but a place that is very real in
every
child´s soul. 

By making me homesick, God could show me something about
these children that they could never express to me through their youth
and the language barrier, but it is something very real and heart
breaking. 

Each of the kids at CICRIN longs to be loved without limit,
to be lavished upon with praise, and until coming to live here, this
was something they never experienced. 

Each of them wants so badly to
have a home that is permanent and steady, but they started their young
lives in places that where more broken and painful than any child
should ever experience.

 

saraSo that is what we are called to this month; to love well. 
Sometimes that looks like doing laundry or dishes.  Sometimes it is
changing little clothes and tucking kids in at night.  Mostly it has
looked like hugs and smiles and spinning little girls around so they
know that they are beautiful. 

It has looked like sitting in a hammock,
having a broken English/Spanish conversation just to make sure this or
that child knows they matter and that we care.  God loves really well,
and if we can rub even a little of that off onto these beautiful
children, then it will be a month well done.  Loving well starts from
being well loved.

 

A few stories from Natalie:
img 38661Ellsa (20) was raised by her mother
and abusive father. Her father hit her mother. 

She showed me a scar on
her arm where he nicked her with his machete.  Ellsa and her sister
Maria Loiussa (16) came to Cicrin when their mother could no longer
take them to work. Ellsa was ten.

 
Warning…this one is hard:
Bitana (2-1/2) arrived at Cicrin 3 months ago from another orphanage. Helen (the director) told me that her parents were both drug users.  Her mother left her with her father when she was very young. Her father would brutally beat her until she would vomit. He would
then make her eat her vomit. 

img 3871

This might explain why she puts
everything in her mouth and eats each meal as if it were her last. 


Four Tias (Aunts) care for 30 kids, ten of which are over the age
of 16. The eldest, Oswaldo (24) has been at Cicrin since he was 4. 

The Tias’ dedication to the children is inspiring. 

It is truly a gift to be here.

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