This past December and January, we visited a place called Nuevo Santo Domingo with the intention of blessing the community with a Christmas food distribution. This community consists of refugees who lost their homes during Hurricane Mitch and Tropical Storm Agatha. Twenty years after the first refugees arrived, there is still no water, no sewer, and no paved streets.
While there, a young lady burst into our life and hearts. Marelyn and her brother Henry watched their father die from a gunshot and were almost murdered by their mother. They were abandoned and live with their grandmother, Marta Alicia. A couple of years ago, Marelyn's legs were crushed by a car, and a botched surgery in the government hospital left her disabled. Even so, she is a gracious young lady with unceasing joy and a humble, grateful heart. We have worked with her to get her scheduled for surgery in the Fundacion Pedriatica in Guatemala. The first surgery will be in July. Even though she probably has every reason to feel sorry for herself, she just smiles and embraces life with great enthusiasm. Marelyn is 10 and Henry is 9, and they have never been to school. We were able to get them started in first grade, where Marelyn is leading the class with a grade of 98%. Her teacher and the school director say she is uniquely gifted. She also loves to go to church, even if she goes by herself. She loves to raise her hands and praise God. And even though she does not read, she loves to look through her small Bible.
Today we visited Nuevo Santo Domingo to assess the possibility of a future water project there. Marelyn is doing well and is ready for her first surgery in July. When we found her, she and Henry both were badly malnourished, so we have been providing vitamins and basic food items for the family. It is amazing how these kids have responded to nutrition. Today I was again amazed how Marelyn and Henry are both reacting, how their faces have filled out, how they have more energy, and how their skin and hair have a shine now.
We learned something new about Marelyn today. Marta Alicia, shared a story. When Marelyn was very young, she was taken to the hospital with pneumonia. Due to a mistake, she was given the wrong medicine and at one point was actually pronounced dead. Ever since then, her grandmother has believed that this was a miracle from God and that her life has a unique and special purpose from God.
For the last couple of years, especially after the accident, Marta Alicia has felt very much isolated, alone, and forgotten. Through tears, she told us that she is beginning to understand God's purpose for Marelyn. It was through Marelyn that a group (i.e, us) found her family, began to show love and support, and reminded them that they are not alone. Marta Alicia believes that Marelyn has brought help and hope to her family...and that this is only the beginning of what this special little lady will do in life.
If you ever doubt that God is working miracles today, just look around and see people like Marelyn. God's people are blessing the world, and even though we get caught up in all of the things going wrong, we need to remember that people like Marelyn are near us. She is a testimony and an example to me. She is a miracle child, and I believe that the best is yet to come.