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.