The Children of Santa Elena

Date posted: Tuesday 09 February 2016

"Let the children come to me." Matthew 19:14


These words from Jesus perfectly describe my relationship with the children of Santa Elena, my church's partner congregation. You don't need to speak Spanish to have a relationship with these children - although a few basic phrases help - you just need an open lap, hand, or heart. I have traveled 3 times to Guatemala with Grace Lutheran in Apple Valley and plan to again in May of this year. Each time I travel to see my brothers and sisters in Santa Elena, a deeper love and connection is made - especially with the children.


The children of Santa Elena demonstrate a love similar to Jesus as they welcome us without judgement, extending their hands and hearts to us. Upon pulling up in the van to the church, the kids welcomed us with excitement, a song, and balloons outside of the new church that Grace Lutheran was helping them construct. These kids wanted to get to know us right away, and in the closest way you can imagine. "Como te llamas?" What is your name was one of the first questions the kids would ask us, and with that, we were immediately friends.


Our time spent in the village was blessed by being surrounded by the children of Santa Elena. We laughed together, played together, sang songs, played baseball, read Bible stories, did crafts, worshipped together, and most importantly, shared God's love with each other. Each and every child in Santa Elena showed me a love like Jesus that will touch my life forever. Now I know why Jesus said, "Let the little children come to me."


Julie Vagle
Grace Lutheran - Apple Valley, MN