Emma has big plans for her future — 100 of them. The 12-year-old lives with her five siblings in the Salgado family. Mario and Beatriz Salgado received Emma and her twin sister, Cristina, when they were just a year old, surrounding them with love on every side. That love has filled Emma to overflow, as a river would. And she wants everyone to bath in it.
Mario and Beatriz have been an up-close example of abundant life for their children — literally. Two months before adopting Emma and Cristina in 2009, the Salgados welcomed Nicolas, two, and Jose, three. With their older son and newborn daughter, the Salgados turned from a family of four to a family of eight in two months.
Moving to La Providencia in 2009 brought a big change to the Salgado family, for more reasons than one. In addition to bringing more children into the mix, Mario and Beatriz left their home. Mario, who grew up in Honduras’ capital city, Tegucigalpa, had the biggest transition. Its bustling streets and high-energy buzz provide a contrast to the quiet calm of Siguatepeque, a nature-laden small city surrounded by green mountains.
It doesn’t take much time at the Salgado household to notice they’ve made their home here. A kind of Southern hospitality permeates the air — warm in climate as well as spirit. Beatriz joyfully cares for her children and visitors alike. Her hands carry a sweet orange scent, as she loves treating guests to freshly squeezed juice.
Mario and Beatriz, like all parents in our orphan care communities, had to make sacrifices to join the mission of empowering orphaned children. But Mario says, with great confidence, that this was the best decision they could have made.
“We felt a deep calling from the Lord. When we heard about the ministry, about what La Providencia does, and how they worked with the kids, we simply said “Here we are.”
Here they are — and what a difference their presence at La Providencia has made.
A typical day in the Salgado household looks like most others (as “typical” as a day with 5 children can be!). The children wake up at 6am for school, and a bit later on ‘special days.’ “On Fridays we have a special day,” Beatriz shares. “We watch a movie on the computer and I make snacks for them. Sometimes we have pajama parties and we all sleep in the living room.”
Amid the controlled chaos of six children under one roof, there is a backbone to the Salgado family. It is the Word of God. “That can never be left behind,” says Mario. He describes their family’s daily rhythms of faith, including a devotional time together. Though from spending time around the Salgados it becomes apparent that their relationship with God isn’t limited to words on a page or time in a day, but the very days themselves. Their move to La Providencia was a big step of faith, but neither Mario or Beatriz can deny the pull they felt to move toward children who needed the loving home they had.
“We prayed about it, we sought God’s direction for two-and-a-half years. But something really interesting,” Mario says, “is that we felt a deep peace in our hearts … when you feel peace about it, go for it. It’s an indication that it is God’s answer about what He is calling you to do.”
Deep peace fosters deep courage, and those two things together can ford the deepest rivers.
The children attend “Oansa” at church, a program also known as Awana where they play games and learn about the Word of God. “When these kids go to Oansa, they have a great time,” Mario says. “They show their character, and those things that motivate them and they always want to win, but of course we have to teach them to win in the right way” he adds. Between soccer games, walks, bike rides and bonfires, the kids keep busy and spend plenty of time having fun.
“They love when we do bonfires for a simple reason,” Beatriz says with a laugh. “There’s always something to eat!”
Mario and Beatriz have high hopes for their kids — and watching them grow is a beautiful thing. As parents, they have two goals: to raise them to “learn and experience that there is a God who loves them and can heal their hearts,” and to love and serve God.
It’s clear that their children are catching the vision. Remember Emma’s plans? Each one has ten fingers and toes.
“Daddy,” Emma says to Mario, “I’m not going to have five like you have. I’m going to have 100 children … I’m not going to have my own children. Better yet, I’m going to give my time to others.”
This is love in action. Emma, like all the Salgado’s children, has received empowerment that stretches generations.