I am reminded of what James, whom some scholars believe was the brother of Jesus, writes about how do we are to “do” our faith. James writes: “Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves and their religion is worthless. Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” James 1:26-27
James reminds us that we are not only to use our words but our actions to take care of those who cannot take care of themselves. Team FCC Honduras’ mission was to traveled to Copan Ruinas Honduras to build stoves, that we did, but God had another unforeseen plan for us. On Sunday we visited Angelitos Felices. When we arrived at Angelitos Felices the first thing that hit us was the stench. A repulsive smell that made everyone’s stomach turn. Angelitos Felices is a home for children who have been abandoned because their parents were no longer capable of taking care of them. The group stood nervously at the door while the mass group of children took their seats. We lingered in the door way because of the stench. With over 24 young children and one or two adults to care for them one can imagine the amount of help needed to keep the children clean. Just by mere ratio of children to adults changing diapers is constant. There are children who at the age of two or three found themselves on the streets, abandoned, thrown out like garbage and having to fend for themselves. The children were not use to physical contact with anyone. Then it began to change. It began with a hug, a song, a round to two of the Hooky Pokey, as we began to intermingle their smiles began to rain down on us like a hurricane. They began to embrace us, hug on us, climb on us. You could not give out enough love to curb their enthusiasm. Then the stench was miraculously gone. Was it because we loved them or because they loved us? But for a brief time something mystical, magical, and indescribable happened. I believe it was a brief glimpse of the kingdom of God.
That was how our week began. Our week ended by returning to Angelitos Felices. We fixed their broken beds, brought some sheets, Dr. Rhonda examined all the children, and we took them on a picnic. For that day they got to be regular children and we got to be parents. Nothing we did was big but children and adults sharing an acceptance and unconditional love. Strangers up until that week but now connected forever in our hearts. What about that repulsive smell?