Saturday, December 9, 2017

An answer to prayer

Christmas Ball Ornament
from El Salvador.
It was Winter of 2014, when went to an event that benefits an international charity that have sponsored millions of poor children around the world. Those kids stay in the program until they reach the age of 18 and graduate from it. They make sure that the kids have the basics: food, clothing, medical care; but also that they are in a safe environment, attend school, and learn about God. We felt moved to take a step of faith and "pick" a child to sponsor, making the commitment to support the kid and never quit until they graduate. An awesome thing you get to do is to be able to write letters, and the kids might write letters (or drawings) back to you too.

As we were approaching the display table I was praying that God will lead us to choose a kid we can somehow bless. At the table there were only 4 kids left and available to be sponsored right away. My wife took a look and quickly selected one, telling me "in memory of our triplets we should sponsor this little girl". I agreed.

Days later when we got the first welcome package, my wife opened and then she started crying. I wondered why was she sad? Or what made her cry? I came to her and she handed to me her information package, as I was reading the top information about our "new child" I learned that ... she was born exactly on the same day, same month and same year our triplets went to Heaven.

It was only one minute that Alexa lived in my arms, and her mommy got to embrace her beautiful tiny body while our first daughter was leaving this life. The following few hours I held her lifeless body in my arms, treasuring those moments and holding her tiny and fragile fingers. Then it was time when the nurse came to finally take her precious body away. As the nurse walked out the hospital room door I wanted to run, to hug and kiss my little girl one more time. But I didn't.

For 8 years in my dreams I had this silent prayer "Dear God, can I see or hug my daughters Alexa and Lilia, for at least one more time?". And I have quietly left that prayer at His throne, knowing the reality that my daughters are in Heaven and I'm on earth. There was no way this prayer would get an answer.

Last year, I decided to join a mission trip organized by this international children charity, that was going to the country and the project were our sponsored kid was located. With the chance that I might be lucky enough and be able to meet in person our little girl. As we prepared and got all the pre-trip training classes to go there, my excitement kept getting bigger and bigger. I wrote a couple letters telling her that I was going there with the other missioners, but I didn't want to make it too certain, because I wasn't sure if we would be able to meet her at all, and I didn't want her to be disappointed either.

First time we meet.
A couple weeks ago, our team arrived in El Salvador. We traveled to the project complex in a very dangerous region, where around 420 kids are sponsored. As we entered the building I could see my girl far away holding a sign with my name. It was a beautiful moment, her personality is like she was one of my own kids. I felt like I knew her all my life. Since I can speak Spanish, there was no language barrier, so we got to talk, and play a lot, specially on the "fun day" where we took about 250 kids to a water park. For many of those children, this was the first time that they have ever gone to a place like it.

We all had a blast!

Fun day at a water park.
Because of the task at hand (some demolition and construction work), the number of days of our visit and the size of our team; there was only four home visits allowed. So, on the day of the home visits, I was overjoyed to learn that I was one of the few selected to do a home visit. I told myself: This is amazing! I get to go to her home, meet her family, and be able to give her gifts, and a big food basket!. Thank you God, thank you!

And then the last day came, the sad day to say goodbye. My new daughter was crying non-stop. She didn't want to let me go.

This moment got engraved in my heart... There it was, this prayer I've silently shared with God for a long time, this prayer I never expected to get an answer, a prayer from a grieving daddy, a prayer from a heart that aches to know about his children, a prayer with an impossible request, a prayer that wants to give love and expects nothing in return,

Until this moment happened: the Sunday service was over, and we had few minutes to gather our stuff and say our last goodbye to the volunteers, to the families, ... and to our kids. So, it was there, my girl jumped on my lap, she was crying again, I tried my best to give her comforts, and give her the assurance that I will always be there for her, and we hug one last time. I closed my eyes, to take a breath and treasure this last moment, while hugging her and with the noise of her cries finally going away, I sensed God whispering: "Luis, do you remember your silent prayer, ... your eight year old prayer? Here it is. this is like your little girls giving you a huge hug. Can you sense them?"


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