Familia Feliz 2011

February 8, 2011

Dear Friends of the Familia,

I want to share with some of the thoughts and feelings on my mind this time and then write another just a little later to give you facts and figures.

The greatest ship in its time, the Titanic, has periodically been mentioned in the news over the last number of years, and even more so since it was found, where it came to rest, on the ocean floor. It has been weighing on my mind for the last several weeks, and I want to share with you why.

Go back with me in time, in your imagination, and see yourself as one of the passengers. One of the lucky ones…you are in one of the lifeboats, unhurt, safe. It’s dark, and you can’t see much, but all around you are cries for help from those who are not as fortunate as you. You feel your way to the edge of the boat and reach out to a voice, a desperate voice, a voice filled with the terror of dying in the icy ocean waters. You find a hand, and after a struggle, the voice is now another human being, lying in the bottom of the boat, sobbing from fright, from relief, from exhaustion. You search for another, and another, and another…. each time bringing a second chance to another person doomed to death by drowning. And each time your job is a little easier, for it’s not so far from the edge of the boat to the water. You are becoming numb with exhaustion, but you can’t stop…the number of voices still crying out doesn’t seem to have decreased, and how can you refuse? And then you realize that the water is about to come over the sides of the boat. It has reached its maximum capacity, and if you pull one more person from those dark, Atlantic waters, you all will be back in them again. And yet those cries continue….

For three or four weeks parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, older brothers and sisters have been streaming in through the gates here at Familia Feliz, some by taxi, some on motorcycles, some on foot, all with a common purpose; to see the child or children they are responsible for enrolled in the program here. They share a common desire…to see their child(ren) have a better chance in life. Two days ago we met to make decisions. There were three of us, Stephanie, our school director, Melissa, founder of Familia Feliz, and myself, as director of the total program. We labored for hours, agonizing over each case, each family, for there are far more applications than we can possibly accommodate. Our boat will sink if we take on too many, and all will suffer as a result. And yet…how do you say no? Which child does not get the opportunity to come and be influenced toward eternity, to a saving, healing relationship with Jesus? Next year there will be a greater number of applications, and, unless something changes, more children who will slip away into the darkness.

Now go forward with me, in your imagination again, to the future…the very near future. We are at a large banquet. In fact, possibly the largest banquet ever held. The table is many miles in length, and yet we can see every person there. Jesus, with the angels, is about ready to start serving. The food is indescribable…fruit from the tree of life, the manna, almonds, figs, pomegranates, grapes, and many other kinds of fruit. But wait…who is He serving first? Down at the middle of the table is space for the children, and I hear Him saying, “Come, you’re going to sit down here with me”. And they crowd around Him, wanting to be as near as possible to Him who has made this possible. As I scan the faces, I recognize some of them from the pictures on their applications, from the year(s) they spent at Familia Feliz, learning who He is and what He could do. Tears fill my eyes and I choke up, wondering if those we had to turn away would have been here if we would have had the resources, the funds, the housing, the people who would give themselves to the children.

Dave Harding
Familia Feliz Director
Canadian Donations
A Better World
6915 Maple Drive
Lacombe, AB T4L 1Z0

US Donations
Gospel Ministries International
P.O. Box 506
Collegedale, TN 37315

On a separate piece of paper, specify for Happy Home Bolivia, or Bolivian Orphanage Project