Today my children started their day by waking up in their cozy bunk bed. They ran to greet me for kisses and I prepared their breakfast and sippy cups while they watched Curious George. They went potty in a clean bathroom, and I dressed them in freshly laundered clothes. They played with their toys and read their books while they waited for their friend to come for a morning playdate. Once their little friend and her mother arrived at our house, I left for the remainder of the morning.
I drove less than thirty minutes with three other women to visit a farm. After turning down a dirt path in the middle of a field, we arrived at an old barn. There was a tent and an abandoned trailer. A little face peeked out from the zipper of the tent. It was a nine year old boy. He was babysitting his two younger siblings. There were no adults- they were all working in the field. It was almost 100 degrees today. The three children stay inside the tent all morning until the adults come for lunch, and then these precious three children are left alone for the remainder of the work day. There is no running water, and one extension cord running from an outlet in the barn allows the children to watch television in their tent. This is their home. We brought the children some supplies and small gifts, and traveled to the second 'camp' just minutes down the road. I cried in the car as we drove away.
At our next stop, we were greeted by many children. There were two abandoned trailers this time, and three tents. Again, there is no running water, but this time I could hear a dripping sound. I looked over and realized what I had heard. Someone inside the trailer had used the restroom, which drains directly onto the ground below. Children are in bare feet, but there is debris and broken glass scattered. We gave them supplies and small gifts, and two women came out to talk briefly. They explained (with the help of our translator) that there are 18 children ranging from 4 months old to 10 years old. There are actually more children than that, but if they older than 12, they are in the field working. The children are beautiful, but their eyes are sad.
Both of these 'camps' will be gone in a month. They will be moving on to the next state, working the next fields. The cycle will not be broken. The men will work all day and come home and drink beer every night. The women will work all day, cook the evening meal, and play cards every night. The children will spend the day taking care of eachother and go to sleep in a tent.
What can we do? How can we give these precious children hope? How can we lead these fathers to Christ? How can we show these women the love of Jesus?
If you are reading this blog, please pray. There is a God-sized task ahead and I have faith that God will send help. God is at work, and I am thankful He is allowing our family to join Him. Maybe he is inviting you as well?
" All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they shared everything they had."- Acts 4:32