South of the Border: Sin Familia

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On the outskirts of Asunción, Paraguay lies Hogar El Comino, a children ‘s home that branches off of an amazing ministry known as Serving Paraguay. Translated to English, Hogar El Comino means “the way home,” which in the case of Milo’s story, is perfectly fitting.  While I visited Hogar El Comino, I heard miraculous stories of the Lord’s work within each child’s life.  But to me, Milo’s story represented the heart of the home.  During Milo’s time there the Lord performed a miracle, and with the help of Hogar El Comino he truly found his way home. 

Every Tuesday night, the house parents and kids of house #2 would gather together for a night of family bible study and prayer.

Tonight was like every other Tuesday for Milo — it was routine for him by now. He and the other kids would gather for dinner around 6, eat whatever their house mother, Martha, had prepared for them, and then pile up in the living room for their evening devotion and prayer time. House #2 was the most rowdy of all eight houses, so it took them the longest to quiet down. But usually, they were finished with their devotions by 8 and went to bed.

“The same old, same old,” he thought.

He sat down in the seat nearest the window so that he could look at welcomed distractions as they passed by. Milo was tired, and he just wanted today to be over.

“Okay, kids,” his house father, Julio, began. “Tonight, we are going to do things a bit differently.”

Milo’s ears perked up a bit. He averted his gaze from the leaves blowing across the porch in the wind to meet Julio’s.

“Tonight, we are going to go around and pray for each of your famillies. We are going to pray, and ask God to do a miracle in their lives by healing them and saving them. So that maybe one day, you could even be reunited with them.”

Milo’s heart sank.

He knew right away that this night was not for him. The other kids at Hogar El Comino all came from rough backgrounds, but at least they still had one or both living relatives, even if they lived in terrible conditions. For Milo, it was different. He had no one to pray for. No one to be reunited with. He didn’t even know the names of his parents, his birthday, or if he had other brothers and sisters living somewhere in the world.

He had no family. “Sin familia,” the kids called him when they teased. “No family.”

Immediately all the kids looked at Milo. They were all thinking the same thing, and he knew it. Milo quickly turned his head to look back out the window as silent tears began to fall down his cheeks.

“Milo,” Julio said gently, but with urgency in his tone. “Let’s pray for you first. We can ask God to help us find out about your parents, and more about you and your life before you came here. Do you believe that God can do a miracle?”

Milo weakly nodded his head yes, because that was the right thing to do. He wanted to believe it, but didn’t know if he really could.

“Alright,” Julio said, “Let’s pray.”

But one prayer of faith is all it takes. And two days later, the miraculous happened.

The orphanage directors, Jackie and Brian paid a visit to house#2 bearing the most incredible news.

“We’ve found your birth certificate, Milo!” they exclaimed. “We know exactly who your family is, your real birthday, and the town you were born in. We are looking for your family now, and we will do everything we can to find them.”

Milo was stunned. He didn’t know how someone could feel so sad, yet so happy at the same time.

“How does that make you feel, Milo?” they asked him.

His head immediately sunk into his hands as he began to cry. From one moment to the next, his life had changed in an instant. For once, he had hope. God had truly done a miracle.

Not even two weeks later, they finally tracked down his sister and uncovered what had happened to the rest of Milo’s family. Although both of Milo’s parents were deceased, his sister and her husband were alive and well, living not too far from the orphanage outside of Asunción. It turned out, his sister had been looking for him years before, not believing her mother when she told her that Milo had died as a young boy. But she had given up the search for him, as she began to believe that he was really gone.

Finally, 12 years later, she received a phone call that her brother was alive.

The day that Milo and his sister were reunited could not have been more perfect, even if it was planned. The air was warm and the sun was setting into gold and pink hues as his sister drove onto the property that day. Laughs and cheers filled the air as the kids from each house all gathered in the field to play soccer, but they all stopped when they saw Milo run to meet his long-lost sister. They were reunited at last.

And he was “sin familia” no more.

 

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Story by Bri Bentley