Last Sunday after church, I noticed one of our students was very upset and looking on the verge of tears. Later that afternoon, he moped around the rec room looking sad and dejected. So I asked him about it. It took a little while, but eventually he started to open up.
Marlon is one of our younger students. At just twelve years old, it was probably pretty difficult for him to leave his family to come live at the school. He told me they lived in Los Pinos. Steve and I know this area and I understood the problem immediately. It is a particularly poverty-stricken neighborhood in the capital city that is notorious for its brutal violence and harsh living conditions. Marlon wasn't sad, he said. He was worried. Here at El Sembrador, he is safe and well-fed. The same cannot be said for those he's left at home. This little boy wasn't worried about his grade on his math test or if he'd get picked to be on the soccer team. He was terrified to the point of tears that his family might die in Los Pinos.
So I did the one thing I knew I could do to help. I asked Marlon to play a game of checkers with me.
In the midst of the poverty, violence, pain and suffering in Honduras, an entire generation is growing up way too fast. Marlon, and other kids like him, carry the weight of the world on their shoulders at times. El Sembrador gives them hope for a better future. And I believe our ministry in the rec room gives them a chance to be kids again—even if it's just long enough to finish a game of checkers.