child poverty We walked on a muddy path that wound through cornfields. The stalks reached above our heads on either side as the rain continued its lazy sprinkling.

There is nothing in the world like visiting a Compassion-assisted child’s home. Absolutely nothing. Nothing can prepare you for the sights, the sounds, the smells. Most of all, nothing can prepare you for the beating your heart is about to take. It’s like you got in a fight with the Holy Spirit. And every time, the Holy Spirit leaves you limping and bruised and, thankfully, a better person for the battle.

We arrived at Cesar’s house and ducked inside. Sheets of blue plastic formed a barrier against the rain, but nothing could stop the water and mud we tracked inside. Stools were brought in for us, and several of us sat on the three beds that took up most of the space.

Cesar’s mother welcomed us warmly. I loved hearing the word “Dios” so often as she spoke. But her story was heartbreaking. Her husband had left her. But before he abandoned her, he had beaten her. What must it have been like for Cesar, the youngest in his family, to watch his mother beaten by the man who was supposed to be his role model?

And then Cesar spoke to us. He told us about having to drop out of school this year because there wasn’t enough money. This quiet 15-year-old explained that he would have to begin working in a fabric plant soon.
And then I watched as every person in that room spoke words of encouragement to this brave, beautiful, inspiring young man.

God has a plan for you.

You will succeed.

You can do anything.

You are talented.

We are proud of you.

We love you.

And I watched as tears poured down his face.

He was ready to give up. You could feel it in every fiber of his being.

But somehow, now, I know that he won’t. Don’t ask me how. I just know.

I know because I watched a sponsor envelop Cesar in his arms. I watched that sponsor’s heart break. And in that brokenness, I saw determination.

Cesar and his family knelt while our group circled around him.

We prayed, our words thick with tears.

Their prayers were fervently whispered.

And the rain began to pour, thundering on the roof.

I have never heard a more beautiful sound.

After the last amen, Cesar’s mother rushed into the yard. I watched her grab a stick, and begin poking at the pear tree in their yard.

Thump. Thump. Thump.

Pears fell to the ground. She picked them up and brought them to us.

“Muchas gracias,” she said to us.

“Gracias,” we repeated.

She wanted so badly to give us something back.

Little did she know how full our hearts already were.

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13 Comments Add a Comment
  1. Jul 28, 2010
    at 10:35 am

    Wonderful! Thank you for sharing!

  2. Jul 28, 2010
    at 11:14 am

    This is beautiful, Brandy. Thanks for sharing your trip with us.

  3. Jul 28, 2010
    at 11:16 am

    How absolutely marvelous to hear this story – that amidst all of everyday life, prayer and caring matter most to our lives, no matter where we live. More and more I am realizing how I can support my sponsored children with my words of love and hope. Thank you so much for writing this today.

  4. Jul 28, 2010
    at 11:26 am

    That’s very similar to what we experienced in every home visit on our recent Compassion trip to Honduras… life-changing…

  5. julie
    Jul 28, 2010
    at 1:02 pm

    That is wonderful, and here I am crying again over the Compassion blog. Was Cesar’s sponsor actually there? If so, what a divine appointment. if sponsors only understood what was going on in their chidren’s lives, we could make such a difference with our letters and gifts.
    I think that is one of the best things about this blog. It gives us a little glimpse into the lives of our sponsored children that we would never have without it.
    Thank you Brandi, for giving us this invaluable peek into this holy place!

    • Jul 28, 2010
      at 9:31 pm

      Katy Balsis (Compassion employee) wrote a blog about the visit on OurCompassion.org that indicates the child’s sponsor (and family-parents and 2 kids) came to visit Cesar. I believe you have to be a member of OC to view the actual journal, but it’s free to join and there are lots of great ideas about sponsorship as well as a great community (and that comes from someone who doesn’t do facebook) :-)

      http://www.ourcompassion.org/?p=journal&id=6213704628187626896&from=journals

      • Jul 29, 2010
        at 11:20 pm

        Becky, thanks for your comment! I’m actually rooming with Katy this week! It’s been a blast!

        The man that Katy referred to on Our Compassion (which you should all check out) was not his sponsor. He’s a man on our trip who was touched tremendously by Cesar’s story, and who ministered to him during that home visit. However, Cesar’s actual sponsor wasn’t there.

        Thanks again!

    • Jul 28, 2010
      at 10:15 pm

      Thanks for your kind comments.

      Julie, Cesar’s sponsor wasn’t there. But I watched a beautiful group of people step in as the hands and feet of his sponsor. It was wonderful!

  6. Christine
    Jul 29, 2010
    at 4:44 am

    Thanks Brabdy, for sharing this with us! My heart was touched in a very strong way for these families. I just started sponsoring Augusta from Guatemala, she lives with 5 siblings, no father in the family. Her oldest brother tries to care for the family, he is working part time, so similar to Cesar… such wonderful, brave kids! Keep on praying for my family in Guatemala! Please tell us more about your experiences!

  7. Carlene
    Jul 29, 2010
    at 5:30 am

    I will be leaving for Nicaragua on August 3rd to visit the 3 children I sponsor. I will be having home visits with each child. This story just touches my heart. When I was in Guatemala with Teen Missions, Intl back in 1977 – our team got to experience the daily life of the people we came to serve. Yes, it is heartbreaking, but, them knowing that there is someone that cares for them really does make a big difference in their lives.

  8. Jul 29, 2010
    at 8:03 am

    Absolutely beautiful Brandy!

  9. Kevin McCarthy
    Aug 8, 2010
    at 6:25 am

    I was fortunate to visit this student center as part of the Sponsor Tour this past July. Fifteen year old Cesar touched everyone’s heart. The project has an amazing sewing program and Cesar was the shining star of this program. When I was reviewing some video I had taken, who do you think was carrying in the Guatemalan flag during the opening ceremony? None other than Cesar. God does have great plans for him.,

  10. Marci
    Aug 13, 2010
    at 2:43 pm

    I am concerned after reading the following sentence from the story above, “And then Cesar spoke to us. He told us about having to drop out of school this year because there wasn’t enough money.” Did anybody notify Cesar’s actual sponsor of this situation? Will anybody notify ME if the additional gift funds I am sending are not enough? This is very disturbing and I would hate to lose my child due to a similar situation – one that would not occur if I am notified that he is in danger. Right now $1,000 a year extra is an impossibility, but I am sending as much as I can and will continue to do so.

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