How beautiful the mountains.
As Chris, Sophie and I loaded into the back of the pickup today to go on a home visit, I looked around at the beautiful landscape and just admired the Andes. The sun was shining through the clouds, and there was a gentle breeze keeping the temperature cool. As a dog chased our car down the dirt road, I looked around at all the houses surrounded by the fields. I thought to myself, maybe this isn’t such a bad place to live. It’s not like the slums of India, or the garbage dump of Guatemala. It’s beautiful and peaceful.
Maria greeted us with a kiss.
We entered into the house and I took my seat on one of the two beds that furnished this two-room home.
There were lots of little children in the home.
“I have five children now, one of my children died.” Maria’s eyes started to water as she explained the story.
“Last year, my two year old became sick with pneumonia. Without any medical treatment nearby, I had to travel to the city to get medical help. My child died in my arms as I waited in line for the doctor.” As Maria told the story, her eyes watered and her lips quivered. Her body wore the weight of pain.
This is the life of a woman who is poor.
Maria’s alcoholic husband left her, and the only job she can find is an hour away in the city. Her small children, all under the age of 10, often stay alone. Three of her children are sponsored, but the other two children attend the Compassion center so they don’t have to be alone. Maria is thankful that the children get fed at the Compassion center because she often goes hungry and does not want this for her children.
We asked about the sponsors of her children. Maria told us that none of her children have ever received letters from their sponsors…until yesterday. Her other daughter then quickly pulled out her new letter to read for us. This was the only time I saw the room light up. The mother smiled as her daughter read the letter with enthusiasm. It was the hope that I was waiting for in the story. Maria then said, “Yesterday she read the letter over and over and over. She was so happy.”
After we visited for a while, I had an overwhelming memory come to my mind. I remembered the prayer that my pastor prayed on Sunday for me. He prayed that I would have the opportunity to share about the hope of God.
I sat there for a while thinking about this. What should I say?
“Maria, when I was little, my dad died.” I said.
She looked at me with much compassion and understanding. Her eyes met mine and I knew she was listening. I pointed to her children, “I wasn’t much older then these little ones, and when he died, I was very sad. I went to church, but I didn’t really understand it. I knew about Jesus, but I didn’t get it. One day, I had a friend tell me more about Jesus and explain that Jesus could be my best friend and that God could be my Father now. They told me how much God loves me… and so I asked God to come into my life. I prayed that He would become the father that I was missing. I prayed that He would help me. Since that day, my life has never been the same, and Jesus brings me joy. He helped through the pain of loosing my dad and now He brings me joy in life everyday.”
As the words came out of my mouth, she nodded to tell me she was listening.
The pastor of the church was in the room with us. His gentleness and sweet spirit told me that he would be caring for this dear lady and her 5 children. In fact, at one point we asked the children who took care of them at the Compassion center, and they said, “our pastor.”
At the end of the visit, we gathered around Maria. Sophie asked, “Maria, how can we pray for you?”
“Please pray for our health. Please pray that God will take care of us,” she said.
Finally, as we were leaving, Chris handed Maria a bag of food. Maria smiled, “Oh thank you so much. I have nothing to eat so this is wonderful.”
Sophie replied, “Maria, God has provided this for you.”
I walked out the door and looked back at Maria. She was smiling.
I saw a glimmer of hope.
I will continue to pray for Maria that she may find the comfort and hope that only God can provide. I pray that she will find new life in the one who brings everlasting life.
There are so many children around the world who need someone to be the glimmer of light in their lives. Please consider sponsoring a child from this community that we visited today. The children here are beautiful.