By Amy Escoto
Co-director of Amigos de Jesús
Life in Honduras is not always easy. Life at Amigos de Jesús is not always easy.
Life in rural Honduras can be difficult. Frequent power outages, poor internet services, non-stop problems with access to water, terrible roads, and a complete lack of public services mean that anything we need has to be created by us. Our incredible team of workers makes working in these conditions look easy, but it is not.
Our children have been through unimaginable suffering before they come to us. But no matter how difficult their pasts, coming to a new place is hard. Learning to trust new people is hard. The road to hope, healing and transformation is not always filled with obvious beauty. Our children deal regularly with fear, loneliness and deep pain.
Working with our children is not always easy; in fact, it is often challenging, painful, overwhelming, and exhausting. Hurt people often hurt others and our teachers, volunteers and child care specialists (padrinos and madrinas) are often the ones the children try to hurt with their words and behavior. The adults of Amigos de Jesus give so deeply of themselves as they unconditionally love our children as our children even as the children try to convince us that they are not worthy of love.
And yet anyone who walks through our gates- a visitor from the United States, an inspector from the Honduran government, or a child in need of a safe and loving home- is struck by the smiles. By the positive energy. By the laughter and happiness. By the joy.
Somehow, by the miracle of God’s grace and the selfless and loving hearts of so many people, Amigos de Jesús is a place of Joy. A joy that is deep, abiding, tangible and real.
The joy is in our children’s smiles. The joy is in the open arms hospitality of so many loving Honduran men and women who dedicate their lives to Amigos de Jesús. The joy is in so many of the little mundane moments that are woven into each child’s story; the story of our Amigos de Jesús family.
Joy does not mean we get to feel happy all the time- even those of us who are blessed to have found a life of deep meaning at Amigos de Jesús. But it does mean that there is an underlying sense of peace in the chaos and the fear and the exhaustion and the chaos. In dark times I may not always be able to see the light, but the sense of joy that pervades this crazy beautiful family means I know the light is there and that it will be back. When fear is the strongest emotion I am feeling, I know that there is peace out there, and I can trust that it will cast out fear.
It has taken me months to write this article because I cannot figure out how to put to words what I get to experience daily here at Amigos de Jesús. So if my words have failed me just know that I am grateful and humbled to live in a place here no matter what, there is always joy.