Este es una regala . . .

“This is a gift. . . ” That’s what I got to say to the house mothers at the orphanage on our last night there as I handed them some money from our group. Yet, as I handed them that gift, I was sure I felt more blessed than they did. One week working at the children’s home in Mexico gave me more joy and peace than I’ve felt in a long while. Kids who do not get quite enough individual attention will cling to you, and I was so happy to be able to provide them with some love, if only for a week! They are very well cared for at this orphanage, which has two floors of apartment style rooms, is safe from the often dangerous streets of Reynosa, and gives them opportunities for education and enrichment they wouldn’t have dreamed of if they were still out on the street or in the unfortunate family situations they came from.

This trip was unlike other trips I’ve been on because we stayed in the same place all week with the people we were serving, which provided many more opportunities for relationships to develop. I wished I could have packed up a set of 4-year old twins (if it were legal to adopt them) and brought them back to Kansas as well as a few teenage girls who have high hopes for their education. Never before have I connected so much with the people in a different country. Another reason why I loved this experience was that I got to use my Spanish. It’s amazing how much of it comes back to you when you haven’t used it in a while! I could communicate fairly well with the workers, but even better with the kids who knew quite a bit of English. Being the nerdy English major that I am, I suppose I got more joy out of this than most would. (I kept asking the kids grammatical questions: what is the difference between por and para? When do I need to use ser vs. estar?–stuff I had forgotten since my last Spanish class eight years ago!) I hope I can learn it better for the next time I travel down to Reynosa!!

Obviously, I want to go back. Perhaps this summer? Definitely next Spring. Maybe this Christmas? I would gladly give up part of my Christmas vacation to go see these wonderful kids and the workers at the orphanage again.Our church goes there every spring break, and we also have the opportunity to sponsor the children on a monthly basis. I can’t wait to find out who needs to be sponsored so that I can once again say, “Este es una regala para ti porque yo te ama.”