This school vacation, our youth group director Katie and her husband Brian, the Rhude family, and my family (the Pottses) traveled together to Guatemala. We went to visit a child care center that Mrs. Rhude started fourteen years ago in a beautiful city in the mountains called Xelaju (shay-la-hoo) or Xela for short.
We did so many amazing things in Guatemala. We saw tall volcanoes and steep cliffs and deep lakes. We saw how to turn little red berries into hot cups of coffee, how to turn bitter cocoa beans into rich, sweet chocolate, and how to turn cotton on a tree into a colorful scarf. But the most amazing thing we saw were the children at the child care center and the people who take care of them. I made friends at the center, especially two little girls named Valeska and Monce. They are so cute and so happy, which is kind of amazing because they are also very poor. Often the children’s whole families live in a home that is half the size of my room. Some of the children, like Valeska, have no one to care for them. All of the families live on less than three dollars per day.
But the helpers at the child care center play with the children and feed the children and teach the children and love the children and support their parents and families too. It really changes their lives.
And it changed our lives too. Because now we want to do everything we can to help Valeska and Monce and all the children at that center. For example, I’m going to talk to the principal at my school and try to do a fundraiser there. And you’ll have a chance to help too. My mom and dad are already thinking about ways our church can help, and I think they’ll be making an announcement like this soon.
In Sunday school, our motto is: Love First. That’s what we think following Jesus means. Valeska and Monce and all the other children at the center really need our love. So I’m going to do what Jesus would want me to do, and I hope you will too.
[Camilla is the 9-year-old daughter of Colette and Matthew Potts; she and her dad co-authored this blog post. Camilla and her family went to visit the Centro Infantil Bellota (CIB) in Xela, Guatemala, and have returned energized and empowered to have a positive impact on impoverished families in Xela who are served by the CIB. Stay tuned for ways that you, too, can help this Lenten season.]