"Sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; poor, yet making many rich; having nothing, and yet possessing everything." 2 Corinthians 6:10
The other day, a group of us volunteered at an after school program for the poor called Casa do Jardim. I had no idea what to expect going in. However, as soon as we arrived there was unimaginable joy, loud giggles, welcoming hugs, and many attempts to communicate in English.
The leader of the after school program told us that most of these children are victims of abuse and abandonment. Many live in extreme poverty within broken and violent homes. The snacks from the daycare could be the only meal of the day for some of the children. Many times, I have looked at this brokenness and poverty and asked God, “Why?” Why do some live abundantly in riches and others in extreme poverty? It hurts my heart seeing these innocent kids not knowing when their next meal will be or if they will have a safe place to sleep. However, God did not abandon this broken world; He has a specific purpose for each of these children’s lives.
Because of the leaders’ heart and calling to start this after school program, these children are shown God’s love through this safe haven. Many volunteers give up their time to show these children love, teach them how to dance, and provide warm meals. The Methodist Universities also help fund the program and provide food and clothing for these children. This has opened up a desire in me to use my passion for children in a way that will help the less fortunate. Although we only spent a few hours playing with the children, the joy of the Lord was so evident. Imagine how much of a difference more resources and time could make!
When I dance with Thayelle, I see hope in her eyes,
When Anthony laughs, I feel freedom coming alive,
When Yahi smiles, I experience true joy.
Even though these children may come from circumstances unfathomable to most of us, the after school care program provides a safe place for fellowship and love. I discovered “richness” has nothing to with material items. It is a treasure found for within. These children have been made rich through the joy of God.