Every time we head out to Urias we encounter new people, each person with their own unique story but all products of the same community. We continually share with you that we are falling in love with these people, that we are drawn to this location, and that our hearts are being tied to the community of Urias. We would like to take the time this week to introduce you to some of the people we have met and share with you a bit of their stories to give you a small glimpse into their lives.
When we met Brian he was shirtless, wearing dirty board shorts and carrying a toy stegosaurus. It was our first official event, and for some reason young Brian was under the impression that only mothers and their respective children were invited to participate. So he hovered just outside the perimeter of the property, gazing in. After inviting him to join us, he hesitated. “I don’t have a mom.” This statement uttered in his quiet, steady voice broke his silence. When talking with Brian you will notice the lack of excitement and gestures that normally accompany the speech of young boys. In their place is the somber, polite, honest conversation expected from someone far older than his 5 years. Do we know all the details of young Brian’s life? No, but the interactions we have had with him so far have forever endeared him to us.
Susana is a young widow that lives in a tar-paper shack near the dump. Her husband was recently beaten to death in a rehabilitation center. In an unrelated incident, her brother was badly beaten and left in a vegetative state. In just a short period all the wage earners in her family were lost. Susana now finds herself in a tough transitional period. She has 4 very young children, the youngest being four months old. She must now spend her mornings working in the garbage dump. In the afternoons, she trades tasks with her mother, staying at home to watch the kids while her mom goes to work in the dump. Susana has shared with us that she often cannot sleep because she is overwhelmed by fear and worry. Can we even begin to understand the chaotic mix of emotions Susana is feeling – the pain, the anger, the loneliness, the desperation? No, not really. But knowing her and her children has forever changed our lives.
We are called to care for the orphan and the widow. As we are faced with some of the harsh realities these people face daily, we yearn to heal their pain, to find the solutions, to fix the brokenness, to better their world. And more often than not we are left crushed under the burden of it all, overwhelmed by our insignificance and inadequacy. But in this reality we find solace. Yes, we are called, but we do not have to do it on our own. We must depend on God’s strength; seek to follow His will; be willing instruments in His hands; and rely on His understanding.