A few words from Alexia Rodriguez, Case Manager at the Lighthouse Resource Center as she reflects on the COVID-19 crisis facing El Salvador…
When my son was around 4 or 5 years old, he loved to dress up. I put in his room a rack to hang the suits that I was buying him…Darth Vader, Spider Man, Optimus Prime, Bumblebee. But for the longest time his favorite was Captain America. I would be in my room or in the kitchen, and he would suddenly come looking for me saying, “Mom, close your eyes…Taa-daaa!” I would open my eyes, and be “surprised” as he stood proudly in his suit, mask, and shield striking his favorite superhero poses. Since we were playing together, I also had my favorite superhero…Wonder Woman of course! When my son saw her somewhere he would say, “Look mom, there you are!” Ahhhhh, kids with their fantastically ideal world!
Unfortunately, as adults we can see beyond that and realize that the world is not fantastic or ideal, and now it looks that way less than ever as we face the COVID-19 pandemic. The crisis, of course, has unleashed fear, anguish, uncertainty, annoyance, and a series of drastic adjustments and/or changes in our lifestyle that we wouldn’t have adopted otherwise.
This afternoon while I was helping to organize and clean after serving lunch to our clientes, like I do every day, I had a sensation that completely overwhelmed me. I saw my hands in latex gloves, and felt the mask I had on my face and it made me feel like I would suffocate. In an instant, I thought about everything that could happen, I felt fear, and my tears began to fall. I felt how difficult it was to be overwhelmed, and that nobody around me even realized it. I felt so fragile, so vulnerable. Now, as I write this, I think of how many times the people we serve in the Lighthouse Resource Center must have felt just like this, how many times they have felt fear, anguish, uncertainty. How many times they must have cried and nobody around them noticed, or worse yet, maybe someone did notice but did nothing about it.
I know that in times of crisis, everyone’s priorities change, and many times things that had first place get moved to second or third, or perhaps we remove them from our list completely. But in these moments, we want to ask you to keep us in your thoughts and prayers. For any of you who have ever walked through the facilities of MTES, have helped to serve lunch, have gone out to distribute meals on a Thursday night, have shared a Bible Study, or who have hugged a client…I want to be honest with you. It is true that in doing these things, you breathe denser air and you feel a heaviness in the environment. But you also anticipate the hope of knowing that you can make a difference for someone…for Reina, Josué, David, Carlos, Herbert, Francisco, Deisy, and for each one of those people that God has chosen to walk through our doors. I can confidently say, that our greatest desire as an MTES team is to be a light to guide those in the darkness who feel that things are growing darker each day. As long as God and the authorities permit us, we hope to continue supporting each client in the best possible way so that they see how much God loves them. He uses us, not as superheroes to rescue them, but as real and vulnerable men and women with strengths and weaknesses simply here to accompany our clients until the sun appears again on the horizon and the surrounding darkness dissipates.
I can proudly say, that today in our team I could see a “Super Man” in each man, and a “Wonder Woman” in each woman….serving, cooking, interacting with clients, organizing, planning, making decisions, being brave and kind in the midst of such difficult and constantly changing circumstances. None of us had a shield like Captain America, but we did have masks and gloves to practice “social distancing” with our clients, while continuing to treat them with love, dignity, and respect. Today we didn’t have super powers to rescue everyone, but we did have love, determination, and a strong call to continue serving the people who come through our doors. We definitely do not belong to the Avengers or the Justice League, but today I saw how we make a great team to face invisible enemies who want to intimidate us and push us back from this mission that God has entrusted to us…to care for and watch over the most needy.
We encourage you to join us by praying and interceding for our clients, who are among those most devastated by difficult situations. Pray with us for protection for our team, wisdom and grace for our leadership, as well as the timely and sufficient provision of resources to continue meeting each need. Thank you for being part of the MTES “Fragile Superheroes” Team!