• October 28, 2014

The place where they are shown ’another way’

A ’Permanencia’ in Ecuador

by Brittany Koepke, vol­un­teer in Ecuador.

“Oh, the kids. I love these kids so much. But during the per­ma­nencia (when we open our doors to the kids from 3-6 pm everyday) the needs can be over­whelming. The kids that come to the per­ma­nencia are the kids that nor­mally spend all day unsu­per­vised in the streets. And the kids come to our house to be loved. They come to be heard. They come to play. They come to be in a place where they are impor­tant and are shown “an­other way.”

Ron, the youngest of 4 boys, is one of the kids that faith­fully comes to the per­ma­nencia nearly every day for a break from roaming the streets. At 4 years old, Ron is nor­mally quite loving and adorable. But recently he sud­denly had a turn for the worse and began biting, hit­ting, yelling, and being overall rebel­lious. And when we had to tell him to leave the per­ma­nencia for his dis­rup­tive behavior, he sat out­side on our front door step qui­etly thinking for the remainder of the per­ma­nencia.

A week later, an out­door mass was cel­e­brated on the side of our house to give a blessing to the prayer garden we con­structed. Ron came to the out­door mass and brought his mother. And this day began his fas­ci­na­tion with the mass. After com­mu­nion he said, “What was that they put in your mouth? Open your mouth-let me see.” “It is Jesus.” The next week when we were closing up the per­ma­nencia, he found out we were going to the mass and asked “why don’t you take me with you?” Ten min­utes later, Ron showed back up at our house with his “nice pants” two sizes too big strung up with a belt with per­mis­sion from his mom to go to mass with us. He has asked to go to mass with us 4 times this past week. And 4 times he has gone.

It’s been exciting to see Ron’s actions change in the per­ma­nencia these days and to realize that a seed for attrac­tion to holy things has been planted deep within him that we hope will mark a trans­forming path for his life.”

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