by Brittany Koepke, missionary in Guayaquil, Ecuador
"There is so much human suffering I have witnessed here. Abuse. Brokenness. Poverty. Injustice. Illness. And I do not share this with you to depress you, but to tell you the importance I have seen of a presence of mercy in our neighborhood.
Mercy: "having a pain in your heart for the pains of another, and taking pains to do something about their pain" - as Fr. George Kosick used to say. That is why Heart’s Home exists, to be this work of mercy in the world. And that is why I am here, with my community, to be part of this work of mercy specifically in the Isla Trinitaria. And when there is mercy, there is hope. Hope that one man, one child, one person can learn to truly love and be loved.
What is Heart’s Home response to this suffering? We try not so much to eradicate the difficult situations as to live the prayer of asking God to change the hearts of the persons amidst their situations. We visit Johnny weekly, feed him, pray with him, and surprise him on his birthday. We invited Miguel to watch Slumdog Millionaire as way to educate him on the dangers of the street. We have hooked Miguel up with a friend of ours willing to come weekly to teach him how to read. We have offered Don Galo a home at Mother Teresa’s House of Peace, but he decided for the moment he will continue living on the street. We bring up the topic of violence in the home and try to educate Brisa’s parents on true familial love, which is not based in fear. We have gotten to know Evan’s mom and accompanied her to a family counselor.
And we are conscious that these little gestures are not a “cure-all” by any means. And the mission is much bigger than offering practical solutions. The mission is to love like Christ."