At first glance, it might seem that the life of a child living at Rio3 is much worse than the child living in a children's home. Most of the homes in Rio3 have dirt floors, no permanent electric, running water or adequate roof. Most of the families live on less than $10 per day. That is compared to the child in the children's home who is able to eat 3 meals a day, take a shower with hot running water, enjoy the benefit of electricity at the flip of a switch, rest in a palapa we built and sleep in a bed that is protected from the rain and cold. That is the impression at first glance.
A more extensive comparison would reveal that most times the heart of the child living in the children's home has been crushed and broken many times in his young life, by those who should love him most. I have witnessed 6 year olds who have not had a relative come and visit them for months. Sometimes, even when a relative does visit, they try to justify the family's lack of involvement by telling the child they have no job or money. Or, they might say that they work all the time and don't have time to visit the abandoned child. I'm not sure which is best for the child...receiving a visitor who makes them feal guilty or not receiving any visitors at all. In either case, there is a great deal of hurt, rejection, pain and suffering that is behind the face of every child that lives in a children's home.
Don't misunderstand me. The child living in Rio3 suffers too. When you grow up not having money for shoes, clothes or even food, it is a difficult life. Sometimes a parent is involved in drugs or illegal activity and the child is abused or exploited. The summers here in Monterrey can see temps as high as 115 degrees and the winters can be a bone chilling 40 degrees and raining. When your house is made out of trash and has little or no roof, it is difficult to ever feel comfortable. On a recent medical trip to Rio3, we discovered a 6 year old girl who could not see out of one eye. The doctors think that she has experienced some type of nerve damage that may be irreparable. All they could do for her was pray. That is just one example of how the poor suffer. In summary, a life lived in poverty, is painful and difficult too.
Betty and I feel called to serve the brokenhearted and abandoned children in Rio3, as well as those who live in the children's home of Casa Hogar Douglas. Both places have great needs. The needs are different many times, but the answer is always found in Jesus. He is the one who can heal broken hearts and provide all of the necessities of life.