This has been a Joseph kind of month: looking for a house for the new transition home for girls, looking for a new safehouse, looking for schools for our children for next year . . . knocking on doors and explaining our needs. In some instances, the responses have been welcoming, but not always. I visited a private bilingual school, one of several, to ask for details in regards to six of our younger children. One of our staff had already visited this school, but the director had not been present. When I introduced myself, she said, “Oh, you are from the children’s home.” I smiled and said yes. She then asked, “What kind of children are they, anyway?” A day later, I called the safehouse director to see if they had found a new location yet for our precious girls. She said they had finally found a house which met all the requirements, but that at the final moment, the owner had said he had changed his mind, that he did not want to rent to “people like us.”
What kind of people are we, anyway? And what kind of children are we raising?
I think of one of our safehouse girls who will soon be in the new transitional home. She ran away at age 16 and was picked up by traffickers, who took her to a brothel in Nicaragua. More than a year later, she was rescued. She came to us terribly wounded and angry. During her time with us, however, she has given her life to Christ, gone through confirmation, finished two years of vocational training, and this Monday has a job interview. Courageous. Fun. Spirited. She’s that kind of young woman.
I think of one of the six children for whom we are seeking a bilingual education. His mother spent many years on the street as a prostitute and drug addict. She entrusted him to us at age two, her greatest treasure and eventually her motivation for getting clean and off the street. Since kindergarten, he has been an honor roll student; he will be in third grade next year. Bright. Energetic. Affectionate. He’s that kind of child.
And I think of one of our caregivers at the children’s home. Her only son was shot to death last year. Her older sister died of cancer shortly afterwards. Grieving, she continued to care for the little boys who call her “mami.” She doesn’t make enough money to visit her own mother during Christmas vacation, and asked for prayer this week that God would provide. Devoted. Motherly. Humble. She’s that kind of woman.
I suppose Joseph had trouble finding a room in an inn partly because of the kind of people he and Mary were: poor, dirty, “with child.” Only one innkeeper saw them with the eyes of God and welcomed them into his care.
During this Advent season, I’m thankful for the opportunity to hang out with our kind of people: people like you who believe that what we are doing flows from God’s heart, and who invite us into your care; people like our young people and children who dare to hope again after abandonment, abuse and rejection; people like our staff who count everything as loss except their service to Jesus.
We are so blessed to be people like us: people of hope in the One who gives life to all who run into His loving arms.
A joyous Advent! Come, Lord Jesus!