Before traveling to Sri Lanka I never thought that stark concrete walls, enclosing a cold concrete floor adorned with abutted mattresses, could be a place of sanctuary, a bastion of hope. But to the twenty young girls who live in the tiny structure behind Kithu Savana church in Colombo, Sri Lanka, it is all of that and more. It is safety, family, hope and rescue tightly wrapped within walls in need of repair, under a leaky roof. Each child sheltered there has fallen prey to unspeakable crimes. They have been orphaned, abandoned and sold. Each has been exposed to the kind of abuses that no fourteen year old girl should know about, much less have to have to endure. These are the unspoken hurts that echo off those concrete walls.
Pastor Adrian and his staff have given these children more than shelter from abuse, but a family that embraces them, guides them, and teaches to overcome these secret hurts. The cold walls had been warmed by prayer banners. The echoes of crying from the unspeakable injuries they had suffered were being replaced by the echoes of laughter that stream from the tiny rooms. Looking again I saw how this rickety structure was beautiful with seen from through the eyes of those it protects.
Along with that protection and each child receives vocational training, spiritual guidance and personal healing of hurts. Each child is strengthened to move out into the world and make room for the next occupant of the most beautiful building I have ever seen.