Monday, February 7, 2011 - Posted by Amanda Bast
Early Friday morning, I will be flying to Mexico.

When I tell people this, their initial response is usually, "OOhh, nice! That's going to be so lovely!"

I smile and nod because they have no idea.

Early Friday morning, I will be flying to Mexico.

I will be getting off of the plane in Mexico City, boarding a bus and driving three hours north to a city called Queretaro. Just outside of this city is a little place called Pan de Vida*.

It is at Pan de Vida where I will experience a homecoming of sorts. I will be greeted with hugs and reunited with pieces of my heart that I have been missing for the past two years.

This whole process started in 2004. My father went on a trip and returned with pictures of kids that would begin to radically change my life, little bits at a time. I didn't get to meet these kids myself until February 2007. For 10 days I was overwhelmed by an enormous amount of new experiences. I wrote every detail down so I wouldn't forget anything. I couldn't get over how much I had, and how thankful I should be for that fact. It was eye-opening.

My heart returned to Canada in one piece.

In February 2008, I returned to this place, overwhelmed by the joy I kept discovering in these children. In a place where I expected to find heartbreak and sadness, instead I saw pure, raw joy. I saw living proof of kids who were scooped up out of harm and rescued by a Savior. It was incredible.

My heart returned to Canada in one piece.

In February 2009, I returned to Pan de Vida once again, but this time, I was in quite a state. I was not myself. I was withdrawn, I was quiet, I was unhappy. I was living my life in a deep, dark pit. I couldn't see anything around me. I was lost, I was in the dark. I was just sitting there. Nothing seemed to fit.

One night, a team member shared his story. His story is not pleasant. There is nothing about his story that you wish was yours. You are not envious of his story. In fact, his story is likely one of your biggest fears. But nonetheless, it is his story and he bravely shared it.

His story was where I was headed, but it broke me before I got there. His story punched me in the gut, left me without air, and completely shattered my heart. It broke it into a million tiny pieces. We did a lot of crying that week, him and I. The broken pieces of both of our hearts got all mixed up and we couldn't sort out which piece belonged to which heart. I had a little piece of his broken heart in my pile, and he had a little piece of my broken heart in his pile. Everyone on the team shared a few of their broken heart pieces with one another that week.

I climbed a mountain that day. I saw that my heart needed to be broken before it could be healed. I discovered the beauty in being broken together. Sharing our broken pieces, because we were never meant to go at this whole thing by ourselves. We to be weak in order to be strengthened. It was in the midst of my brokenness that I experienced an unbelievable amount of love from those kids. They didn't know all of the details of my story. They didn't know how deeply I was hurting. But they loved me, no questions asked. They rushed out to greet me and hugged me with a fierceness I know was Jesus' way of screaming "I love you more than you can fathom!"

"Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong." - 2 Corinthians 12:8-10

If you are praying at all next week, think of our team. You can pray for our safety, pray that we work hard at doing jobs that need to be done around the orphanage and pray for our unity as a team. You can pray for our health, and pray for our families back home. You can pray for all of those things. But please also pray that we will be broken. Pray that our hearts will not return in one piece. Pray for our hearts to be a jumbled mess of all sorts of different heart-pieces. For in our weakness, He is strong.


*Pan de Vida is a Christian orphanage run by a Canadian organization called Children of Hope. This organization supports two orphanages - Pan de Vida and Dulce Refugio - and one community centre - Casa Otimi. If you would like more information about these places or you want to know how to sponsor a child or to donate to any of the homes, visit