To Pass the Torch

A torch contains a flame; a glowing, burning, wild element both consuming and producing. A torch shines a light all around it and is a metaphor for a burning passion to shed light on the voiceless and the unrepresented. This torch, for my wife Anna and me, was the passion for the orphan in Cancun and specifically the children at Casa Hogar (Children’s Home) San Jose.

It’s been ten months since we said goodbye; we’ve finally decided to share our emotions around leaving and passing that passion on to a local volunteer — a woman with a heart to do everything we did for those kids and more.

The day had come. It was time for us to share the news. The girls had heard rumors of our leaving, but wanted to hear the words from us.

Like so many times before, we visited San Jose Children’s Home, only this time it would be a visit we would never forget. The door creaked open to the main living area and each brown-haired girl swarmed to envelop us in their arms. We wanted to remember every moment, to keep each image safe and concrete within our hearts and minds. We had always loved and interacted with them as if it were to be the last time we would experience growing with them; today, though, this time, it was.

As we shared with them we were moving back to the States, our little family was surrounded by the girls’ arms, tears rushing down our faces because we knew saying good bye would change everything.

Our heads were filled with questions; who will care for them? What will their futures look like? Will they remember us? But God had all the answers to our questions.

He simply whispered, “I Am.”

Before our hearts knew what was next, God had gone before us to prepare another open and willing heart to come alongside these girls.

Yemima Müller, a Mexican volunteer for Back2Back Cancun, was ready to serve the girls at San Jose. She stepped out in faith, asking us to consider allowing her to come forward to love and care for the girls. We enthusiastically agreed to train her in what we did as Back2Back staff working with the home.

Ten months have passed and Yemima remains committed to the holistic care for each girl at San Jose. She is an advocate. A friend. A steady presence. A loving representation of His hands and feet to pursue justice for these few.

Yemima is providing care for today and hope for each of their tomorrows by giving her heart to each girl she connects with. By taking the children on college visits and helping them study for exams, by taking them to the dentist and to therapy, by being a voice where they have none, she is allowing these girls to feel seen and heard.

As Back2Back moves down the path of local partnership toward sustainability, Yemima is showing us the power of one local heart sold out to the cause of the orphan.

The long term impact of the staying power of a volunteer in the lives of the children served is yet to be measured. But if the current stories He is weaving for each girl at San Jose is indicative of what’s to come, God has great things in store for the orphaned and vulnerable children in the cities we serve. One heart, one life, one person at a time, being the difference for those God has placed in front of them.