It was with very mixed feelings that I finished my third month at Casa de Luz. I was sad to leave the children, and they didn’t make it easy for me, with their hugs and pleas of “Please don’t go, Miss. Sharon!”, but I was also looking forward to returning to my home and to my family and friends. Three months is a long time. Long enough to really get to know a place, to understand a culture and its motivations and rules, and long enough to appreciate the things that you left behind.
I am very grateful for this experience. I believe God knew I needed this time. He taught me much this summer about keeping an open mind, about self-reliance versus reliance on Him, about patience in the face of inconveniences, and most importantly, that His grace is sufficient.
I came to realize that Casa de Luz, indeed is a lighthouse: An island within an island and a place of refuge and peace for many of the children. It is a safe and happy place. I can honestly say that I never saw an angry face, a sullen look, an “attitude” that we find so often with young people in the States. Instead I was greeted every day with smiles, and with earnest efforts to speak English. We shared laughter and games, songs and stories. I celebrated my birthday this year with 40 children who made it one of the happiest I ever had. On my last day, Miss. Jamie brought cake with chocolate frosting to share. I’d been missing chocolate so much! We had a going away party and a wonderful last day of crafts and fun. It helped to make the day a little less sad for all of us. Some of the children wrote me letters and made cards, and it is still hard to look at them without tears. Some gave me small gifts which really touched me, because I know they have very little in the way of material things to give. I wanted to say, “Nooo!” but they had such joy on their faces, that I could do nothing else but accept with humble gratitude the things that they offered me.
These are the precious memories I have taken home with me. It has taken me a while to rest and process all my thoughts and feelings about this experience. I expect that God will continue to reveal truths about this experience to me as time goes on. The question I have been expecting to hear is “Why?”. Why did I take three months, go to a third world country and spend a lot of my own money to teach English at a small school on a small island that many people have never heard of? To be honest I have not fully prepared an answer. I have taken time to think and spend time quietly apart from others, but in general this is what I have decided:
Care4Communities (C4C) is a not-for-profit, 501(c)(3), Florida-based Corporation, headquartered in Jacksonville. C4C exists to share the love of Jesus with the communities of Roatan through sports, education and construction activities as a means to develop relationships and affirm their dignity.