Today was an adventure and one I will never forget. I’ve done this before, but it never gets old and never gets any easier. We rescued 7 children today … 7 young lives. Their journey started hours away in the mountains and carried them all the way to a river bank where our group was waiting. We crossed the raging river … and I mean raging … to reach them. (it had rained heavily the night before and the river was overflowing) The river was so rough that we had to wear life jackets. The waves in the water hit the side of the canoe with such force that the water came splashing in the boat – filthy water with trash and debris floating in it. I didn’t know what to be more afraid of – falling out of the boat and being dragged down the river, or having this filthy, contaminated water splash all over me or even get in my mouth. I was reminded that this is the same water the people in the surrounding communities bathe in, wash their clothes in and even … drink.
When we reached the other side we were met with 7 children and their families. Malnourishment, cerebral palsy, downs syndrome, breathing problems, pneumonia, scabies, parasites … these were just a few of the issues affecting these children.
They bravely entered the canoe with us and made it to the other side where an ambulance was waiting to take them to the rescue center.
Through Operation Baby Rescue, the stories of 7 children are being rewritten today. Our goal is to raise the funds to rescue 1,000 children by the end of this year … children just like the 7 we rescued today. Tomorrow (Thursday) we are hosting a live chat – live from the Baby Rescue Center and answering all your questions about Operation Baby Rescue. Tune in and learn how you can join the rescue.
Watch this short clip with the story of one of the children rescued.
Watch the video on Vimeo.
As I finished writing this chapter in Awake, I was getting ready to leave on a very special trip to Guatemala. It was the first visit where I would see the Baby Rescue Program in its entirety – from start to finish. I knew we were helping save babies and young children, but I had no idea the lengths our partners were going to make that happen.
All I could do was speculate on what I would see and experience. I could only imagine the long roads I would travel, the hills I would hike, the intense heat I would feel, and the beautiful face of the desperately hurting child I would find just waiting for our arrival. In my heart, I imagined they would say “I knew you would come”.
This week I am leaving again for Guatemala and I am thinking a lot about the word “rescue”. I believe that somewhere deep inside, we all want to be rescued from something . . . financial troubles, bad relationships, a dead-end job, addictions, etc. And as people of faith, we know what it truly means to be rescued. But what if we believed that we were rescued in order to rescue?
It is true that so many children around the world are waiting. “They are waiting to be rescued from hunger, disease, sickness, abuse, and slavery. They long to say ‘I knew you would come’.” (Awake) And their stories inspire me to keep going…
We just admitted a baby into the rescue center weighing 2 pounds 12 ounces and is only 6 weeks old. Our team is working very hard to keep this baby alive and need the prayers of everyone at World Help at this crucial moment. This is a family of nine from the mountains and they have already buried two of their children due to malnutrition and contaminated water.
Our goal this year is to rescue 1,000 babies. We have already reached more than 10% of our goal – and I admit, we have a long way to go. But, I am committed to telling the stories of these children. I am committed to being their voice. That is all I can do. And, that is exactly what I am going to do this week.
I am launching a new blog and I encourage you to follow my daily video posts of this incredible trip. Let me introduce you to the children of Guatemala. They will steal your heart and inspire you to action. I can tell their stories, but I need you to spread the word. Use your voice, share their inspiring stories with your network of family and friends – and together let’s save some lives.