I Dreaded The Guilt...

I deeply dreaded going into this place again… an unsettling apprehension tightened my throat. I dreaded the stench and filth. I dreaded the feelings of guilt from knowing I could not, or would not, work in this shelter… not even for a day. I dreaded the frustration of knowing I was helpless to change the situation of most of these people. Never had I visited a place like this, and here I was again.

As I stepped through the gated entrance past piles of garbage and debris higher than my head, I noticed a few children shyly watching with mixed expressions of suspicion and childish curiosity. We walked past a fairly young man bent at the waist, resting his thin shoulders on worn, patched up crutches with his rear pant pockets resting against a dusty wall. He stoically watched as Dr. Rivas, Pastor David Locke, Missionary Rob Lee, and I moved toward the entrance.

This was an unusually beautiful day in Mexico City. I’ve been in this huge city on winter days when the sun was browned out by the smog and dirt roiling through the streets in suffocating clouds. It may sound strange, but I felt such a smog filled day would have balanced things a bit. The bright sunlight and gentle breeze seemed so incompatible with what I was seeing and feeling.

I stepped carefully through the narrow entrance, then walked down a dim confining hallway past a light-bulb gently swinging on wires that traced back to a tangled wad of spliced wires clustered on a wall. I was relieved that on this visit I didn’t have to share the cramped hallway with cartons of rotting vegetables, but as soon as I turned the corner I was struck by the nauseous odors emanating from the blackened, grimy room used as a kitchen to feed over 150 individuals per day… 70 of them homeless children. Many of the adults who reside in this shelter are visibly insane. Adult men and women mixed together with children of both genders… over 30 of these children are younger than 8 years old. A mix mash of society’s lost...

After we entered the large room where those who weren’t wandering the streets during the day congregated, a woman, who was curled up against the raised concrete floor where we stood, began to howl and scream... The pitiful, crazed language of the un-medicated mentally ill. The children in the room continued to play, hearing nothing strange in the screams of this woman. This is the world they wake up to everyday. I guess it is better than the street… What a sad, almost criminal choice: the street or this place.

The children were dressed well (there were piles of donated cloths), and somewhat cleaner than my first visit during the rainy season. I saw no malnutrition. The caregivers, while few, work hard to bring some order to a chaos of overwhelming proportions. They have my respect. But these children need more… much more… I watched as Dr. Rivas spoke in his calm caring voice to each person. He walked over and picked up a child and swung him around like a father just home from work, except this child was unused to such attention, and his eyes opened wide with fear. So Dr. Rivas just held him close and talked to him. Something the child was also unaccustomed to, but needed so desperately. Dr. and Mrs. Rivas are attempting to rescue the children in this place who are 8 and under. He wants them to have a loving home where they can hear the Gospel. Pray... and give... we must feed and cloth these children.

Give to Rivers of Mercy Children's Home. 100% of every dollar given goes directly to care for the children.

Rivers Of Mercy Children's Home
Santa Fe Baptist Church
12902 6th Street
Santa Fe, Texas 77510

Make your checks payable to the Church with ROM in the memo. These are tax deductible gifts. 100% of the proceeds are sent weekly to the Children's Home. Pastor Larry Jones is available to present this ministry to your church or civic organization.

(There are a number of children's homes using the name Rivers Of Mercy , this one is unaffiliated with the others and is outside Mexico City. The director is Leonardo Rivas)

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