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Child Survival: A Story From Peru

Child survival It’s hard to believe my boy, Edison, is 13 months now. He’s toddling around the house at different speeds with various amounts of control, experimenting with new and unusual crash techniques. It’s quite entertaining.

He can talk now, too. Hat, book, what and it’s impossible to forget his absolute favorites, hi, dog and ruff-ruff (of course spoken with a slight growl). I wish you could hear his little kid voice yelling all these words with abandon to anyone who will listen.

He uses his favorite words at very specific times. Whenever out and about, most anyone anywhere will hear his request for attention from strangers because of his very loud and clear hi!

But his real favorite is dog. It’s usually the first thing he says when he wakes up in the morning, and just to make sure I understand what he said, he will add a ruff-ruff for good measure.

It’s amazing to think that just a few months ago he literally couldn’t do anything.

Over the last several months, since I entered back into life after Edison’s birth, I’ve been volunteering in my church’s nursery. I typically take care of the newest babies, which is a great reminder of how far Edison has come, but even more it’s a great reminder of just how vulnerable babies are – which brings me to Carmen.

I met Carmen after a hike up a steep hill on a dirt path in the outskirts of Lima, Peru. All the while I was going up I kept wondering how far I would have to traverse to actually make it down the hill without falling.

Carmen knows this path well. She climbs it often. She climbed it when she was pregnant and she climbs it now with a 5-month-old in her arms. She climbs it because it is the only way to get to her house.

Carmen is a bright and engaging woman. She warmly invites me into her house and almost bursts with enthusiasm to tell her story.

When Carmen found out she was pregnant with her third child, she was depressed and heartsick. She didn’t know how she was going to take care of another child. She tells me she was so desperate that she took a drug to abort her baby.

It didn’t work.

She soon came to learn about the Child Survival Program hosted by Nueva Jerusalem Church, and was registered.

As her pregnancy continued, her fear grew that the drug she took had affected her baby. Carmen depended on the support of the church and particularly the Survival Specialists for hope. She also took every opportunity to learn the very best ways to take care of her new baby.

Her son Elias is now 5 months old. When I met him a few weeks ago he looked to be healthy, alert and developing just as he should. Carmen’s love for her son is contagious. It seems impossible that there was a time that she was so desperate that she wanted to take his life.

Now as I pray for her I wonder  . . .  Who will Elias grow up to be? What will he do? Maybe he will grow up to be a pastor and tell many people in Peru about Jesus.

Or maybe he’ll be a leader that helps strengthen Peru’s economy. One thing I know is that God has a purpose for this little boy, and Elias now has the opportunity to discover that purpose and live it out.

Support the Child Survival Program at Nueva Jerusalem.