It was the third day at the Ravine School in Chimaltenango, and the air outside still hung heavy with the ashen remnants of Fuego’s volcanic fury. The dust mixed with the smoke from fires burning just down the road – fires that were a constant reminder of the heritage of the students who now carefully listened to their teachers and dreamt of brighter days.
I had seen her each morning, captivated by her smile and dimples. Her name was Sindy, and she was new to the school. She wanted to be a doctor or a chef, and she lived with her struggling family in one of the nearby neighborhoods grown worn and weary by crime and the harsh realities of life. For three days, she had worn the same thing – blue jeans just a bit too short, a pink sweater, and a red sweatshirt. Her raven hair pulled back into a low braid, Sindy represented so many young girls who came to the school hopeful that their lives might be better than the ones before them, that there was a place beyond the violence of the Red Zone and the Ravine.
We walked into the quiet office, away from the clamor of kids grabbing their backpacks and rushing to hop on the back of garbage trucks weaving their way down the congested road to the Ravine, a city dump where young and old alike dug through smoldering refuse as vultures circled overhead. They hoped against hope to find something of value – something that could be exchanged for a little food or rent money.
“My name is Veronica, but you may call me GiGi,” I started, staring at those precious dimples. “I would be honored if you would let my husband and I sponsor you.” Her eyes widened and she covered her mouth in surprise; the tears began flowing as she grabbed me in the tightest of hugs. “Si! Si! Gracias!” she repeated, holding on and sobbing. My tears mixed with hers in a joyous spring shower of celebration. We both knew what being sponsored meant – it meant she’d get a new school uniform, a backpack and a continual supply of educational materials, consistent meals, and the assurance that school wasn’t going away.
But for Sindy, it meant even more. She sat on my lap and we looked at the photos of her new sponsor family in Texas – there was Poppa, her sponsor brother Ian and sister Gina, and even two little ones and a pup – and we talked about how her birthday was in January, just like Ian’s. We talked about letters she would receive and the ones she would get to write now, and about the good hope of seeing each other again soon. We talked about God’s blessing and His provision and how He had meant for this moment to happen. And Sindy felt it as much as I did.
We both knew the overwhelming power of being chosen.
Sindy would wake up the next day and the days after that knowing there was a family praying for her, caring for her, and cheering her on – a family that believed in her dream and would fight to help that dream become a reality. She would look around at the brokenness of the place around her and see hope in it. She would taste redemption over and over again.
I thought about the virtue of the words, “I choose you.” They are a resounding “yes” to our hearts, breath to our lungs, strength to our bones. They give us life and give life to our deepest dreams. “I choose you” says we are seen, we are known, and we are loved.
As I held Sindy and wept, I whispered a “thank you” for the moment that was being whispered to me. That we are God’s own “yes,” here in the rubble and ruin of our broken worlds. We are the recipients of His virtue. And we are given the opportunity to choose too.
So today, friend, I choose you. Today I will pray for you and cheer for you and believe in the life you see beyond the lives lived before you. I see your beauty and I see hope in your eyes. Today, please hear God’s “yes” in you.
Today, let me know what being chosen means to you.
My words are part of #1000Speaks – a global one-day movement to speak Good, to speak truth, to speak love. I’d love for you to join me in sponsoring a child through Orphan Outreach. There are kids in Guatemala, Honduras, India, Kenya, Latvia and Russia who would love to meet you. http://www.orphanoutreach.co/sponsor-a-child/