Can you ever replace the loss of a loved one? Can you ever take that pain away?
I dont think you can ever replace a loved one or that the pain will ever completely go away. But, I do believe you can use that pain and that loss to make a difference.
Today in Guatemala, we proved that to be true.
The Loveland family has suffered great loss. Their daughter Kelly fought a long and hard battle with breast cancer, and died at the young age of 38, leaving a husband, 2 children and an entire family reeling from the pain.
But today, nearly two years later, that pain in slowly turning into hope.
Kelly’s parents, David and Carol, were touched by the opportunity to provide a special needs center here in Guatemala. The long-term effects of malnutrition leave many children with disabilities that they will have for the rest of their lives. These children are often discarded, abandoned and abused. They are simply forgotten.
In a beautiful dedication ceremony today, complete with the Guatemalan Minister of Health, the doors to the Special Needs Center were finally openend. This home will house up to 50 children at a time as well as provide regular therapy for hundreds more.
Hearing the Loveland family share about Kelly was so touching. Kelly was a nurse and they said that she would have loved this place. But, it was Kelly’s aunt, Mayda,that said something so profound and touching.
She said, “Kelly’s last words were, ‘I am ready to go home’. And Kelly, today these children are ready to go home.”
My heart was so touched. I wish you could have been there to take it all in with me … the beautiful new facility, the Loveland family standing together honoring Kelly, all of the special needs children lined up ready to “go home” … it was a moment.
I was privileged to say a few words and I wanted to share that with you:
This is a special day. Today we are shouting to the children of Guatemala – the children who have disabilities and special needs – children who have often been neglected and looked over. We are shouting … You are no forgotten! You are not forgotten – and there is hope!
I am so passionate about the baby rescue program and this center is an integral part of that. We have to go beyond the rescue and look for ways to make a long-term, sustainable difference in the lives of these children.
So many of the children rescued havelong-term needs that without a facility like this would go unmet.
The pain that these children feel, both physical and emotional, must be unbearable. But, we are here to turn that pain into hope.
What a beautiful story the Loveland family has. they have experienced extreme pain in their lives – but they are turning that pain into hope for these children.
I have often said that the greatest injustice of all is not poverty, hunger, disease, abuse, lack of clean water … even disabilities. No the greatest injustice of all is hopelessness.
And today we are making things right.
So, Loveland family, on behalf of Julio, Danny, MiMi, Estelita and all the other children they represent – thank you for restoring hope!
After the ceremony, the nurses brought all of the children in. I knew so many of these children because they are the same ones we have rescued. It was a beautiful sight. Here is a short clip of that moment: