Blessings in Tears

The activities of this past Tuesday remained like the three before it, except tears clouded this one.

The day started off well. We took a trip to the store of another missionary in town. This missionary teaches sewing and other useful skills to local women. These women make a variety of items and sell them in the store. One of the girls bought all her Christmas presents. It was interesting seeing how God works through other missionaries in Tegucigalpa.

We left there and dropped a friend off at the airport. We said our quick goodbyes, and I began to picture when I would have to leave. I put it out of my mind. I knew I didn´t have to deal with it in that moment. I needed to focus on the positives.

We ran another errand and grabbed some lunch at the crepe place. No, the pink dog didn´t grace us with its presence this time. Too bad, I know.

Then, that afternoon the worst goodbyes came. I went to the boys´ home for the last time, at least this trip. Yet, even when I come back, my boys will have left. New boys will replace them. My boys already knew this was the last time. Several others I always play Bingo with didn´t, though. Most of them took it well. One boy asked for a kiss.

¨Keep dreaming,¨ I said. I grinned at him and shook my head.

He laughed, and we returned to our game. Amber and I stayed for almost three hours at the boys´ home. I lost count of how many Bingo games we played. I gave out a lot of prizes, needless to say.

Danny kept his distance throughout the day.  He always plays Bingo with me, but today he stayed away. Occasionally, I´d hear, ¨Bingo!¨ Danny yelled it from across the room, just to see me laugh. In the end, he hugged me the longest out of all the boys. I wanted so much to let him come in my bag, as he asked me weeks before. Thankfully, the goodbyes came quickly. The guards gave us little warning that it was dinner time. We had to leave within minutes, and I had to hug the boys quickly. If it had happened any other way, I would have lost all composure. One boy told me, ¨Be safe.¨ I looked at him and said, ¨You better be safe!¨

I´m now the proud owner of close to 40 bracelets I bought over the course of four weeks here. I had to do whatever I could to provide for them.

Tears came on the way home and even more once we got there. Still, I kept my composure for the most part. I had to compartmentalized. I still had several days before I left, but I couldn´t help myself after that night.

We had a few moments to breath before feeding the homeless that night. A group came with us, and the night went well overall. It was the first light rain night in days. Still, I found myself trying not to go simply through the motions, emotionally spent from the boys´ home.

I greeted our friends as they came to get food. I helped the groups serve, giving them instructions when needed. They knew what to do generally; they had come with us the week before and loved it.

Then, one of the homeless women approached Amber, crying. I waited until Amber walked away to give a hug to our upset friend. She told me something had happened with a family member. She tried to stop crying, and I hugged her again. ¨Do you want to eat?¨ I asked.

She nodded, and I motioned for her to get food. A few moments later, I found her talking with Amber instead. She soon found out I would leave in a few days. She looked so sad. Then, she asked me if I liked her bracelets or her necklace. In the moment, I didn´t realize what she meant. I pointed to her necklace and said it looked pretty. She glanced down as her hand moved to take off the necklace.

¨No, no,¨ I said. I should have known, but I was too tired to realize sooner.

She held the necklace in her hand as it moved towards me. I stepped back and shook my head. ¨No, that´s yours,¨ I said. ¨Keep it.¨

She held out her hand further. ¨Take it.¨

I searched her face. I didn´t feel right, of course, about taking jewelry from a homeless person, but I didn´t want to insult or hurt her either. I reached out and took the necklace. I immediately doubted my decision and tried to get her to take it back. ¨I don´t need it,¨ I said. ¨Please, it´s yours.¨

¨No, it´s yours,¨ she said.

Moments later, I got her to finally get some food, and I sat with her on the curb.

¨Why do you have to leave?¨ she asked.

¨I have a job at a church,¨ I said. ¨I have kids that are counting on me.¨

¨But why does everybody leave?¨ She began to cry again. Her words became inaudible.

¨I will come back, but for now you have Amber,¨ I said. ¨And Darwin, they both love you so much. You have a building now, and soon you can sleep there. I love you so much and so does Amber.¨

She seemed comforted but still continued to whimper. She left soon after that.

I cried myself to sleep that night. The days since have not been as horrible as that day. Yet, at the same time, it was a blessed day. All I can do is pray for these people now and hope. I can hope that I will return soon. Until then, I pray.

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