The second to last week of Honduras LT, I found myself growing apathetic. I was exhausted, both physically and emotionally, and I was feeling a lot of mixed emotions about leaving the children I had fallen to madly in love with over the two months there. God provided me at just the right moment with the verse Galatians 6:9 which reads, “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” I spent some time praying just that: that God would give me the strength and endurance to continue to seek His love and pour into others even if we only had one week to go. And He truly answered that prayer.
My prayer throughout the summer had been, “Lord, break my heart for what breaks Yours,” and He answered that prayer, for sure. He broke my heart for the orphans, the widows, the impoverished, the abused, the poor at heart, the broken, the forgotten, the hurt. He taught me how to grieve, how to love. And with one week left, He broke my heart once again.
A 15-year-old girl named Dayana at the CDI was very hesitant to open up to us at the beginning of the summer because she had grown close to missionaries before, and it really hurt her when they left. Eventually she became one of our closest friends at the CDI. The second to last week of LT, though, we barely ever saw her. She wouldn’t come to the CDI in the afternoons like she normally did. She’d occasionally come to the fence and tell us that she was sick again, and again, and again. Monday of our final week in Honduras, she finally showed up in the afternoon. We were so excited to see her again! We rejoiced when she walked through the door and were so happy to have her back with us.
She asked Rachel and Sam, two girls on the team, to help her with her English homework. As Dayana was writing in her notebook, Rachel and Sam looked down to notice cuts all over Dayana’s arms. During the devotional, the director of the CDI asked the question, “Who wouldn’t want to live this life God blessed us with?” and Dayana whispered, “Me, because I’m depressed.”
Because the culture is so closed off to mental illness, all the guys in the class just laughed at her and mocked her.
The next day, while most of our team at the CDI left to teach English classes at a university, the girls stayed back in hope that Dayana would show up that day, and in fear that she wouldn’t.
Around 1pm, she walked into the CDI. Sarah embraced her in a hug, and grabbed her arms. The letters “LS” were freshly cut into her wrist. We asked what that meant, but she didn’t talk. She just began to cry. We walked her into the building, and Rachel stayed outside to accompany the other children and keep the boys from looking into the windows and laughing at Dayana.
At first, Sarah, Sam, and I were all so frustrated that we didn’t know enough Spanish to effectively comfort her, tell her how much God loves her, and talk her through what she was going through.
After a couple minutes of just sitting with her on the couches inside, speaking what little Spanish we knew – “Te amo,” I love you, and “No estas soledad,” You are not alone – we finally looked to God for counsel. We asked Dayana if we could pray with her. We sat around her, laid hands on her, and prayed in English, knowing that Dayana couldn’t understand us, but God could. I began to cry, my heart broken at the fact that this beautiful daughter of Christ, my sister in faith, felt unworthy of life.
After our prayers, we just sat there, crying with her. Sam had “Oceans” and “How He Loves” on her phone in Spanish, so we sat there listening to the songs, grieving in God’s presence, knowing that He, too, was grieving His broken daughter.
At one point, Dayana pulled out her notebook and wrote, “No quiero vivir” – I don’t want to live. We told her that we want her to live, that God wants her to live.
We pulled out our Spanish bibles and turned to Psalm 139, praying Dayana would cling to the verses.
“O Lord, you have searched me and known me! You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from afar.”
“For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.”
“How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them! If I would count them, they are more than the sand. I awake, and I am still with you.”
After we read through some scripture, we continued to just sit with her, to cry with her. As she nervously wiped away the tears from her eyes, I told her that it was okay to cry. We sat grieving in the Father’s presence for about an hour, and then we walked her home.
Sarah kissed her wrists and told her, “No mas” – no more. No more.
On the drive home, Sam and I reflected on how powerful that time with Dayana was. At first we were frustrated that we couldn’t talk to Dayana more, but God’s presence was so clear in that time with her. He was there, saying, “Daughters, I’m with you.”
Proverbs 3:5 says: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.”
We had no ability to lean on our own understanding in that moment, to rely on our own discernment. All we could do was call out to God, listen to His songs, and read His Words, and that was more than enough. Even the timing was so true to God’s character. Dayana’s depression and self-harm could have been made known day one, but I know that for me, personally, I would have attempted to be her Holy Spirit for the next 8 weeks. I would have tried to fix all her problems, and would have, many times, relied on my own understanding. The fact that this happened during the last week was hard, so hard, to know that we were then just leaving Dayana and heading home, but God enveloped us in a peace like no other; a peace that reminded us that His timing is perfect; a peace that led me to fully trust that God will still call out to Dayana long after we’ve left, “Daughter, I’m with you. “