By Emily Rogers
Today, we served Jesus.
I've grown up hearing the story in the Bible about how at the end of time, God will come and separate the sheep from the goats; the sheep being those blessed with eternal life because they took care of the neglected.
Until today, I never really understood the deeper meaning of how serving the marginalized is serving Jesus. Until today, I thought more about how serving others is showing them God's love, not how by serving others I was serving The Lord. My entire understanding of Jesus's message changed today by serving at Vito Guarato.
Vito Guarato was first described to me as a once in a lifetime kind of place. Klotzy told us as we got on the bus this morning that this orphanage is so special, he is positive if Jesus were in El Salvador now He would be spending time there. Vito Guarato is a Catholic orphanage that takes in children dropped at its doorstep because of their special needs. The ages of the orphans range from infants to forty year olds, all of whom grow up there.
Experiencing Vito Guarato was both heavy and amazing for all. Tears were shed by many whose hearts were broken meeting these wonderful people. But what I found incredible is how in this home of people with disabilities, everywhere I looked I saw Jesus.
I saw Him in Fatima, a beautiful young girl with huge loving eyes whose smile brought immense joy to my heart. I saw Him in Steven, a little boy who formed a magical friendship with Klotzy in just the few hours we were there. I saw Him in Aida who sang her heart out leading those of us gathered for Mass. As I helped spoon-feed these beautiful souls alongside my teammates, I finally understood how by serving these people society often neglects, we were serving Jesus. The snapshots we will keep in our hearts from this blessed place will never be forgotten because today we served Jesus.
It was only right that we then reflected on our time at Vito Guarato during lunch at Restaurante Casa De Piedra on the mountainside with a breathtaking view of El Salvador. Talk about seeing The Lord in all of creation!
To end our day, we did what we know best - we allowed the soccer ball that brought us down here be the bridge to connect us to a group of girls and get to know them better. At Esen University, we mixed Esen girls, Academy girls, and our team. We had a mixer using the game we all have such a love for, which then led to the amazing opportunity of hearing Paige share with everyone there her story and love for The Lord.
The only way to end such a day was to have one final activity involving the male spectators, including the Director of Esen and Humberto's brother, with Lipscomb girls and Karla, with special appearances from David, Klotzy in flip flops, Humberto, and the best driver in El Salvador Kevin Morales. Needless to say, tons of laughter ensued that served the ever important reminder of why we all devote so much of our life to this crazy-fun game called soccer.
As we journal the events of today, we prepare for an early and long last day of service in this amazing country. How time has flown as the days passed by with a few blinks of our eyes. We can feel the prayers of everyone at home lifting us up to bring the love of God to the amazing people we meet each day, so we thank you for your continued support. The stories we have to share with all of our loved ones will be well worth the wait!!
Peace, Love, and Pupusas.