Today we began to get a better lay of the land here at NPH. Our guide Joel gave us a tour of the campus here, and after the deacon took us to the high school seminary in San Pedro where we will be working some during the week.
There were two programs going on at NPH today besides us being here – one group from the Dominican Republic with a connection in Miami donated shoes to all of the kids, and a group of Canadian students came to spend some time with the kids. The kids here love to dance, so of course there was a huge dance going on that we attempted to join but with much less rhythm and coordination. However, it is an amazing feeling to just dive in and be with the kids, even if we aren’t very good at what they’re doing – whether dancing, or sports, or speaking Spanish. Yet that is how the kids experience our love for them.
It reminds me of St. Damien working with the lepers on Molokai – despite the advice of doctors and his superiors, St. Damien hugged and interacted with and even shared his pipe with the lepers, even though he knew it meant he would probably get leprosy himself; it was only through this that the lepers began to realize his love for them and trust him. In the same way, us giving ourselves to the kids despite our inability to completely participate shows them more our love for them than simply bringing them things or waiting for them to come to us. As one of the sisters said to us today, the children can easily tell the difference between a group that simply comes to spend time with them and a group that comes to bring them Christ, and that is what we’re here to do, with the grace of the Holy Spirit.