I apologize for the blog silence. The last couple of weeks have been crazy with dead week (which is the week before finals when everything is due), finals week, and then taking some much needed rest and relaxation time at home.
As I read through some of my old Compassion magazines as the first real snowfall blows around outside, I wanted to share some amazing true stories of how lives have changed through Compassion.
This story comes from the Spring, 2006 issue of the Compassion Magazine and was written by Ovetta Sampson.
"Lima, Peru - As a young boy, when Enrique Reyes knelt down on the dirt floor of his home to pray, he didn't ask God for money. Riches would have been a righteous request for this child who lived with his mother, father and three siblings in a one-room lean-to perched upon the sandy hills in the slums of Lima.
"Money would have been the practical plea of a child who missed meals each week because $14 a month just isn't enough to feed six people all the time.
"But when Enrique took the precious moments he had to pray, he asked for peace instead.
"In 1999, Enrique was a five-year-old boy terrorized by turmoil.
"'He was a child who cried all the time,' says Blanca Misayauri Grandos, Project Director at Solidaridad (PE-400) in Lima.
"That's because Enrique's father Walter thought escape was his peace and he found it in alcohol. His mother, Paulina, sought peace by moving with her husband from a desolate mountain village in the Andes to the city slums of Lima.
"Enrique glimpsed peace intermittently - each day he went to the Compassion project. Peace filtered in the way Blanca and other project staff nurtured him, offering him meals each day. Peace flickered in his project tutor's encouragement, spurring Enrique's interest in math. Peace floated from the pages of his sponsor's letters, a blessing he says other children in his neighborhood missed.
"But just as every day he went to the project to gain peace, each evening he came home to turmoil.
"At home there was fist against face as his father abused his mother. At home there were tears on cheeks as he and his siblings hid from their father's anger and their mother's desperation. Enrique's time at the Compassion project was a welcomed escape from turmoil, but still the litle boy prayed for peace at home.
"Sometimes in death there is new life. When Enrique was eight years old, he learned that difficult lesson. It was May 5, 2002, and the turmoil that reigned that day enveloped his teenage brother. Enrique's brother decided to go to work with his dad at the tire repair shop. There was an accident. The teen fell, hit his head and died. But in death, hope was born.
"Enrique's father, Walter, craved solace after his son's death. But the drinking buddies, with whom he spent more time than his family, disappeared. Walter's other so-called friends in his world walked away. In the end, it was the care and encouragement from Blanca and others at the Compassion project - from paying for the funeral, feeding the children, offering clothes, to praying - where Walter found his comfort.
"'The Lord touched my heart,' Walter says. 'The people from the church just started helping a lot. People in the world, in the streets, they don't help. When my son was in the hospital, nobody went to help except the Christians.'
"Walter realized the Lord, not alcohol, offered him the comfort he desperately desired.
"'In all, in every way, I changed a lot,' Walter says, after accepting Christ into his life. 'The way I live, the way I do things, my behavior...now we are Christians...now we live in peace.'
"Today Enrique is a 10-year-old dynamo - smiling, engaging, playing soccer with his newfound friends, getting good grades and dreaming of becoming a lawyer. The one-room home is now three rooms, including a kitchen with a new refrigerator - all results of Walter's new economic and social commitment to his family.
"'Everything changed when my father received Jesus in his heart,' Enrique says. 'He began to take care of us, not to drink alcohol. Now he doesn't do bad things. We are happy now...everything is improving...everything is better.'
"But having a healthy family relationship - mother talking to father instead of crying, son helping father at work instead of avoiding his wrath, loving him without dread - these measures of peace the family will treasure for a lifetime.
"'Sometimes money i snot enough to be happy,' Paulina says. 'To have a good husband, to have a good father for my children...only the Lord knows that we have these needs. He is the one who gives us peace.'"
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There are currently a dozen children in Peru that have been waiting for a sponsor for over a year. Help one of them today!
Hope everyone is having a great holiday season. Thanks for reading!