The devastating loss of a husband, a father of four beautiful daughters… it happened almost two years ago.
The date was Sept. 9, 2013, and it was the same day Compassion project GU-492 opened in San Martín Jilotepeque, Guatemala. It was a day that would change the lives of 9-year-old Delmi and her family members forever.
As our small group walked to visit Delmi’s home, project workers explained the family’s situation to us. They said Delmi’s mother, Adela, had a very difficult time after her husband’s death, including dealing with depression. They told us Adela continued to struggle, and that her daughter Delmi would receive more help when the project hired a new counselor.
So we walked up the steep path to the family’s hilltop home, and we didn’t know what we would find there.
The yellow-painted brick home sat on a hillside, overlooking the community. It felt fresh and clean on that hill, after walking the busy streets below. There were trees offering refreshing shade, a worn bench on a covered porch looking out over countless tin-roofed homes. Potted plants with flowers added color, while chickens wandered and pecked the ground beneath brightly colored clotheslines.
It seemed to be a peaceful refuge.
And there we met the family. Adela, the mother, introduced us to her daughters, Dulce, 15, Delmi and Fatima, 4. Her oldest daughter wasn’t home at the moment because she was studying for school, but we would meet her later in the visit. We also later met the girls’ abuela, Adela’s mother who lives nearby.
We visited with the family while enjoying a special orange drink Adela had prepared for us. During that time, I saw a strong and courageous woman in front of us, a woman hurting deeply, possibly shattered by her loss, but forging ahead for her children.
Adela supports her family by selling snacks at a nearby school. Her own mother does the same job.
She spoke glowingly of her mother, whom she said taught her the value of hard work, raising her own family without a husband. Adela said she prays every day that her mother will never leave her because she doesn’t know how she will go on without her.
She clearly receives a lot of support from this woman and loves her very much.
Adela shared with us that she reads out of Psalms from her Bible every night; that she can’t go to sleep without reading it. She said it is difficult when her youngest daughter is upset and cries for her daddy; that it hurts her because she feels helpless.
Delmi, who entered the Compassion program when it opened, showed us the medals she’s won playing basketball. She makes good grades in school and wants to earn a science degree. Adela’s hard-working example obviously is rubbing off on her daughters.
And much too soon, it was time to say goodbye to this special family. We prayed with them, loved them, took photos together and said our goodbyes. And while there doesn’t seem to be a tidy, happy ending to wrap up this family’s story, there is reliance on God, love of family, and Compassion’s support, which is more than many hurting families have.
If you are interested in sponsoring a child in Guatemala, or in any of the 27 countries around the world where Compassion works, please click here.