Today was one of the hardest days of my life; I had to walk away from two amazing 2 month old girls, who are twins Rut Verience (Ruthie) and Joselyn Marlena (Josephina). Through out the week I have grown very close to them, even though they can’t understand me and they don’t talk back. It’s the touch of holding them, and when they reach up and touch my face and then wrap their little fingers around one of mine that makes me heart just melt and I know they know how much they are loved. Or when Josephina is sleeping and you tickle her oh so chubby cheeks, and the most amazing smile graces her face. It is a love that is hard to explain in words because it is overwhelming. Having to say goodbye was heart wrenching, but when I placed Josephina back into her crib and picked up Ruthie for one more kiss, a very awe-inspiring sense of hope came to me. Hope that next year I will be blessed enough to come back here, hope that in that year they are loved more then they are now. Hope that one day I will be able to adopt them and never have to say a good bye like that ever again with them. This hope that came over me was directly from God, I know for certain.
All of us that had the opportunity to serve this orphanage have grown attached to these wonderful kids. They have a very little to call their own and yet they beam with Christ’s love and joy. Many of the kids only cry when you sit them down, they just want that physical touch of love, whether it is a hug, a kiss or simply just holding their hand. Having to say good bye for all of us was terribly hard. Most of cried like the babies we were holding in our arms. One thing that really touched us the most was the Sister that runs the orphanage came over and gave us this farewell speech that I will never forget. She said “Keep studying, keep trying, keep serving in your communities, and remember you are the future of your country.” We all cried harder, she kept thanking us after she finished. I personally was speechless; she not only opened up the orphanage to complete strangers but had such wise words to send us off with. She was a prime example of the love of Christ, and how hospitable the people here in El Salvador are. This week has turned my life completely upside down and I could not be more thankful for it. We have had many laughs, along with cries this week and have learned so much about the history of El Salvador and the people that live here. One major thing I have learned this week is love truly knows no barriers. Whether it is a language that hinders a conversational aspect of communication, or an ocean that stands in between the people you love the most, love shines through, love breaks down the barriers and wins every time. And we soon realize that los niño’s at Saint Vincent de Paul’s Hogas de Nino’s didn’t need us to come down here and play with them, but we, the people of ODU/PCJ, needed to be here. Thank you to all who have been praying with and for us on this journey, and a Muchas Muchas Gracias to the people of El Salvador, you forever hold a very special place in my heart, and I cannot wait to see you all next year! Love—Raegan (Raegan is a Junior at Ohio Dominican University, studying Early Childhood Education with a minor in Theology)