As I sat at the playground and watched the kids play yesterday I was reminded of one of my first eye opening experiences of the differences of kids in the US and in Guatemala.
I remember as a child playing with the neighbor kids “Cops and Robbers” or the now inappropriate “Cowboys and Indians”. What I saw on the McDonalds playground a few years ago, put all those shooting games to shame.
A visiting donor from the states decided to take the kids at the orphanage to McDonalds, where only the wealthiest of the population go. While watching the kids play on the playground I saw a game that looked similar to my childhood games but with a horrific twist. I saw a kid going around and “shooting” everyone, however, he rounded all our kids up, had them kneel with their hands behind their heads and shot them in the back of their heads, assassination style. I was in awe and quickly pulled our kids off the playground.
No, it was no due to violence on TV or Hollywood’s moral decay. It was a result of everyday life situations here in Guatemala. These are the kinds of things the kids that hang out on and around the streets see.
We protect our kids as much as we can from seeing the reality of life on the streets but it just is not always possible.
One day due to a lack of drivers and vehicles, the Social Worker took one of the children to their court hearing on the public transportation. Although we do not use this type of transportation often we know that it is the way the majority of the population travel in Guatemala. If the child leaves our home it will be their main method of transportation, therefore, when necessary we take those opportunities to teach the kids how to ride the bus.
This day the child got more of a lesson than we bargained for. A couple of men got on the bus and began beating everyone up. After hitting the social worker in the face they moved on to the man behind her and beat him up until the bus driver pulled over.
We praise God for the protection of the children and the staff at House of Destiny. The children have not been exposed to the amount of violence that other children have been exposed to. We pray and are teaching the kids to pray Psalm 23:4 “Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me, your rod and your staff they comfort me.” AND Psalm 91:10-11 “There shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling. For he shall give his angles charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways.”
When I saw the kids playing the assassination game at McDonalds I knew that even though kids all around the world are essentially the same, we had to find a way to teach them how to handle the effects of the darkness around them. How to be a light in dark world. This is our task and we are happy to be trusted with the care of these little children, God’s children.