Love, the Desire of our Hearts - Briana Byler

This past week has been hard on both my heart and mind, for various reasons. Some of the reasons have to do with settling into a new culture, some with hurts that I see in other people's lives. 

First off, the settling in part. I really do like it here; the people are nice, it's warm, I get to work with kids, I am trying new food, learning more Spanish, and I'm experiencing a new culture. 
But some aspects of each of those things are difficult as well; Sometimes people are rude, I am constantly sticky from the heat, the kids can be really frustrating, I can get a little tired of the food, I can't communicate super well, and I'm not sure what is always expected of me.
But, through it all I know I am where I am supposed to be.

It hit me the other day that I am here for a short time, three months can sound like a long time, but in the grand scheme of things it's not that much time, so what do I want to do in these three months? I want to get close to the kids at the Foundation but why would they want to get to know me when I am only going to be here for three months. Why get close to someone if they are just going to leave? It kind of feels a little selfish on my part, to want kids to become attached to me, because that means they will probably hurt when I leave. I most definitely will hurt when I leave, I can't believe that I have come to love the kids this quickly.

Some incidents have happened at The Foundation this week that have made me love the kids more, but have also made me weep for them. There have been a grand total of 3 fights in the past 4 days, I'm not talking about a little fight with some name calling and slaps, but full out punching, hair pulling and a lot of yelling.

The first one was between a teenage boy and girl, there were certain things leading up to the actual fight, but when it started it took about 10 people (although there were only about 3 adults) to get him to let go of her hair. I realizedthat inside each of the kids here there is not a "flight or fight" mode, there is just a "fight" mode. 

After we got them apart, he sobbed for a long time. He doesn't want to react the way he does, but with stuff that has happened in his short life, something just kind of snaps and he fights, with a strength that isn't quite normal. 

The second one was between two girls, and on the Tia's* got a lot of her hair pulled out in that fight, thankfully when I was helping pull apart the first fight I didn't get hurt at all. And the third was just a little spat between two boys, but it ended up with Kirsten and myself on the roof trying to comfort the protagonist who was weeping about what he had done.

All these kids really want is a family of their own, that is their heart's cry. Some of them have families that they can't go back to, some are up for adoption, some are just waiting on the court to let them go back to their parents, but the cry is the same. They want to love and be loved.
But isn't love the one thing the whole world is looking for? We look for it in so many incorrect places and people, when the love we really desire is found only in God. 

After everyone went to bed after the first fight on Saturday, I had to have a crying session, my heart was breaking for the love the kids' desired, for the absence of families and parents in their lives, and for their futures. What is going to happen to them after I leave? What is going to happen when they leave The Foundation? These are things I have to trust and leave to God I guess. I wish I could pack them all in my suitcase and bring them home, lice and all :) Well maybe not the lice :) 

One day last week Kirsten and I went to the beach for a couple of hours before we had to go to work, and we ended talking to a guy that came up and wanted "to practice his English" for about an hour. At first we did not want to talk to him (we tend to not trust strange guys who want to "just talk" to two Gringas*), and he only stayed for about 10 minutes. But he came back later after we had moved to a different spot to get away from him, even though we really wanted him to just walk into the ocean,  it was a lesson about following the promptings of the Holy Spirit because we were able to share with him what Jesus has done in our lives and encourage him to keep following and seeking after Jesus even though he feels like no one is listening. I think our conversation with that guy was an answer to his prayers, Kirsten told him so, she was honest with him and told him we hadn't wanted to have a conversation with him but felt we were supposed to, and that God is listening to him. 

On a little different note, for my birthday I got to spend the whole day with Sheryl and all of the girls volunteering here, we went whale watching and snorkeling for a bit, which was very exciting! The water was so salty I barely had to try to stay afloat. It was good to be out on the water and to be able to get to know everyone better. Thankfully I didn't get sea sick though, because the water was pretty rough, and it would've been easy to feed the fish my lunch. 

Again, I want to thank everyone for your prayers, they have been felt and much appreciated. Some more prayer requests are: Peace and Protection for all of the kids at The Foundation, Love and Patience for me to give to the kids and Tia's, and that I would continue to settle in well with my "family".

Thanks again Everyone!! Blessings to all,  
Briana

* "Tia" means "Aunt"
* "Gringa" basically means "dumb white girl" :)