"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 1:27
On Thursday, six of us got the chance to visit children at a Catholic orphanage while the rest of the group went to visit a girls' detention center. To my excitement, my group had the opportunity to help with the babies. When we first walked into the building, my first thought was how nice this orphanage was compared to some of the others we had previously visited. Next came the babies. My heart melted when I saw them and I instantly shifted into "baby mode." All the women on staff were very kind, allowing us to pick up the babies and help change and feed them, and I could tell that they truly cared for the children. Other orphanages and government centers in El Salvador aren't as fortunate to have this kind of care.
As I was holding a baby girl who looked to be only days old, I couldn't help but think how someone could give up their own child, especially a newborn baby. Just imagine holding a feather-light human being in your hands. In that moment, all you can think about is how precious that life is and how you want to do everything you can to make it feel comfortable and safe in your arms. As these thoughts came into my mind, I wondered how God must think of us--His children. For Him, the adoration, affection, and most of all, never ending love, surpasses any feeling or emotion that we could ever experience.
The verse at the top, James 1:27, says that true religion is to look after orphans and widows, and to stay unpolluted from the world. I felt that we carried out God's definition of religion in those moments where we clothed and fed those kids. The night before we went to the orphanage, people were deciding whether they were going to the girls' detention center or the orphanage. I didn't choose because I decided that wherever I would end up going is where God wanted me to be that day. Just loving on those babies, I felt so much joy and peace in my heart. That was confirmation enough for me that I was meant to be there. I saw Jesus shine through my teammates that day and I caught a glimpse of the compassion and love God has for us.