April 9, 2009
Yesterday was a rainy day, but a very productive day! We received a warm reception from the local officials in Tela this morning as we inquired into the local government process that we would have to go through in order to construct an orphanage. I'll be honest; I was prepared for a more "involved" process that might require campaign contributions - but that didn't happen. They seemed to be genuinely appreciative of our humanitarian efforts to address what they recognize as a very serious problem - children with no parents.
While officials in Tela have certain jurisdiction over Tornabe, the Garifuna who live in the village operate with a lot of autonomy. In fact, from what we gathered the Garifuna refused to recognize the outside government, at least when it comes to paying taxes.
Ray, a friend in a local church that my home church helped establish here, also operates a taxi, so he drove us around. While it is not more than seven or eight miles to Tornabe (on the Caribbean), the condition of the roads and paths-along with the stray animals-make the trip somewhat of an adventure. In fact, at one point near the village, the taxi got stuck in the sand on the road and we had get out and push.
When we arrived, Pastor Marvin, the pastor of the local evangelical church was out picking up food for the orphanage. We had not spoken to him since we were in the village last summer and he was not expecting us. We had not been able to communicate with him regarding our desire to work in his local community until today. When we shared with him what we would like to do his eyes began to tear up and he said "glory." He then told us they had taken the first steps toward establishing an orphanage but did not have the resources and had been praying that God would some how intervene on behalf of these children give them the ability to feed them three meals a day and provide a safe place for them to live.
After looking at what they have already started the process will go much quicker than we had originally thought. In July we planned to return to complete a kitchen, dining area, and a small sleeping area. Plans will then be made for a much larger dormitory divided into two areas: one for boys and one for girls.
It is certainly rewarding to serve the "least of these" who have been orphaned by parents who died of AIDS, but as we walked and drove through the village, seeing the children run in the midst of the trash that was strewn throughout, I was reminded of why we do what we do at FRC. Deny as we might, there are consequences for a community or a country that rejects the proper nature of human sexuality within the context of marriage. Unfortunately, far too often it is children who pay the price for the "sexual liberties" of adults.