Nestled in the hills thirty miles east of Guatemala City lays an oasis of hope, "La Casa Bernabe" (The Barnabas House). This facility is not just an orphanage. It is truly home for 150 children who have been abandoned or removed from their homes because of neglect or abuse. While these childrens' stories are tragic, their smiles, laughter and spirits are contagious. The presence of God is real in this place. These children are loved by the staff who care for them deeply, and they know their Heavenly Father. Songs of worship fill the air and children run, play and use their imaginations in amazing ways throughout the large property.
Guatemala is a land of contrasts. As you look across the tree covered valley of Casa Bernabe you can see large, gated, opulent homes of the first class "Guatemaltecos." The middle class does not exist in Guatemala. You are either rich or poor, and your status is determined at birth. And in between the rich and the poor one finds a great divide.
Yet there are glimmers of hope as you pass through the halls and courtyards of Casa Berbabe. Children are playing instruments and some even compete in national competitions. Two days ago some of the boys competed in a national soccer tournament for an opportunity to travel to the states. The living arrangements at Casa Bernabe are like real homes. The boys and girls are separated into "casas" by age. Each casa has its' own kitchen, family room, bedrooms and house parents. There is a deep sense of community in each home and the love, hope and healing of Christ can be felt within its' walls.
Our team spent time reflecting on all that we've experienced today. We are so grateful for this experience and we will never forget these beautiful children. We are already talking about the next trip to Guatemala, possibly in 2011? Stay tuned for more...
Jenni for Emily, Josie and Meryah