i’m still not exactly sure how it all happened. it was one of those sweet ministry moments that wasn’t planned or expected. it didn’t happen during a scheduled ministry time, no one was preaching or praying; but god showed up nonetheless. it was, you know, one of those moments. the kind that mess you up just a little bit and leave you thinking, wondering, dreaming, hoping.
i was in my my tent when i heard someone crying. naturally, i assumed it was one of my participants so i got up to go save the day. cowered in the corner, however, wasn’t one of my people. it was a twelve year old honduran girl named nicole.
nicole is the sister of two of the boys who live here with tony. she’d been staying with us for the past few weeks because her grandmother was having surgery and there was no one else to take care of her. her abusive mom lives and works in the dumps where she also prostitutes herself. her father has never been around. her grandmother cares for her from a wood and plastic shack on the top of a hill in the middle of los pinos – one of the most dangerous communities in tegucigalpa.
i sat with her for a bit and let her cry. my spanish doesn’t really go beyond “hello, how are you?” so i just kept my mouth shut and held her. after a few minutes i handed her the last of my peanut butter m&ms that my roommates sent me with. it’s always my natural default to feed people when they’re upset or i don’t know what else to do. eventually katie joined us, amalia, dania and sandra in tow.
it was amalia’s birthday. but, the occasion was saddened by the fact that only a few months ago, amalias father had killed himself in their home. “it cannot be a happy birthday without my papa,” she told us as she started to cry. eventually, all four honduran girls were in tears. a few more of my girls had joined us and for over an hour we each held one, prayed over them and cried with them. we felt the weight of everything these sweet young girls were carrying. the pain, questions, wondering where god is.
but there wasn’t anything we could do about it. there were no nice answers or “i understands.” we can’t really begin to relate to what these girls have seen and experienced. there could only be desperate cries to the one who always shows up, the god who always meets us where we are. so we asked god to come. and we mourned with those who were mourning.
and then we ate nutella. by the spoonful. because crying girls should always eat nutella.