Praising Jesus, I am FINALLY feeling better!!!! I am not quite 100%, but headed there! I ate yummy Brazilian for lunch today, and it settled well! Thank you all for praying for me. I am so grateful for my support system all over. I am loving being out of the house and seeing sunshine again.
Friday afternoon, I went to a plaza with Steve to work with street kids. Cleferros (spelling may be off) is the slang term for ¨glue sniffers¨. They live on the street, washing car windows at intersections for change. They carry little bottles of glue to sniff to get high. And they need a real Jesus.
I knew Friday would be uncomfortable. But, in no way could I have been prepared for what I saw. Within seconds of walking onto the plaza, my eyes filled with tears. I convinced myself it was not the time or place to lose it. I had been praying for me to have the same eyes that Jesus has, to share in His heart. If His heart breaks, I want mine to break. Oh, the depth of brokenness has never occurred in my heart before Friday.
There were quite a few volunteers on Friday. We quickly assembled, and prayed together. There were believers from multiple countries gathered together to serve the least of these.
We split up into different stations in the plaza. There was a medical station, offering wound care. There was a station set up to wash feet and hair. I was handed a bag of nail polish. I stood in the midst of the crowd like a deer in headlights. I didn´t know what to do.
A girl in her teens came up to me. She spoke only Spanish, and asked me if I would paint her nails. Paint nails? Of course, I can do that. So, I took the bag over to a spot in the park, and we sat down. She picked out a color, and I began to paint her nails. Once we sat down, she pulled out a bottle of glue, and began sniffing it. I was surprised. I live a pretty sheltered life back home. No one has ever gotten high so close to me. This wasn´t something on the big screen, or in someone´s story. This was my real life. And it was happening right now. I began to pray for that girl. I am so thankful that Jesus is real, and He loves that girl as much as He loves me.
A crowd began to form, and I had the privelege to paint many nails that day. Women in their 50´s, girls as young as 12, all living on the streets in a hopeless life. My heart broke for them.
I never knew painting nails could be used to show the love of Jesus. But isn´t it the coolest thing ever that I was able to use something I am good at to love a broken woman? Being one of five women in my family, and babysitting a lot of little girls has given me much practice for this moment. Praise Jesus, He prepares us when we are unaware, and living life in obedience.
Next to the nail painting station was the washing station. A lot of the boys wanted to wash their hair. They kneeled over a babytub, and scrubbed their hair with soap, while a volunteer poured water over their hair. Many of the boys removed their shirts before washing their hair. Their chests, stomachs, and backs were covered in scars made by knives. They live hard lives on the streets.
The medical section was interesting as well. I was told a story later of a man being stitched up after being attacked. When asked what happened, a girl exclaimed with a smile, ¨I did it, I´m the one who cut him!¨ When asked why, she replied, ¨He raped me.¨
After everyone was washed, attended to medically, and nails painted, we gathered together. A volunteer stood in the middle of the circle, and read the Bible, and shared Jesus. We then passed out cups of juice and sandwiches. Afterwards, we just spent time talking to them and just listening and loving.
I was exhausted physically (first day out of the house all week), and emotionally. We got in the car. Steve said ¨that´s a lot to take in, huh?¨ Words couldn´t even describe. I don´t have enough time to tell you all the stories, sights, smells, conversations, etc. I was invited out to dinner that night, but was still feeling sick, so I went home. I went straight to my bed. I ended up sleeping 15 hours straight that night. Haha....I was spent.
It is now Sunday. I still have faces burned into my mind. I have sobbed over them, praying for them. I am excited for Friday to come, so I can go again.
I never want to leave something like that and not be heartbroken. I want to always have the heart of Jesus.
I promise feel good stories to come. But I am quickly learning, life isn´t always feel good, and rated g. It is ugly, raw, and painful. That´s life. But, I do have exciting stories to share soon as well.
Keep me and the city of Cochabamba in your prayers.