Almost a decade has passed since Vilma Canales completed Compassion Honduras’ Child Sponsorship Program, yet this 27-year-old woman still recalls those years as the best time of her life.
Growing up, Vilma lived with her mother and her two sisters, Sandra and Anahi, in Honduras’s western state of Copan, well-known for being the location of the Copan Ruins and home of the Mayan civilization.
Vilma’s childhood was normal despite the family’s lack of economic resources. Her mother was the backbone of the family, a hard-working, single mother who provided for her daughters until the last day of her life. Vilma and her sisters never knew their father.
When she was registered at the child development center, Vilma was a very shy girl. As time passed she overcame her shyness and became interested in knowing more about the Lord and the Bible.
“I came to the development center through my older sister who was working as a volunteer. It was in 1997 when I opened my heart to the Lord, the best decision that I have made in my life.”
As a child, the economic situation at home was difficult, and adding to the difficulty was the fragile health of Vilma’s mother. Vilma knew in her heart that she was not alone and that the Lord was in control of her family.
Just before passing away Vilma’s mother asked Vilma for two things: to look after her sisters and to do something good with her life.
“With the death of my mother, I felt lonely and hopeless. I was really concerned because I was left in charge of my sisters.
“It was quite difficult because of our lack of economic resources. I got a scholarship to finish my education because it was right when I was starting high school that my mother passed away. I worked as a volunteer at the church and received an offering that somehow helped me to feed my sisters.”
“During all that time I received nice words of encouragement, love and support from my sponsors, this lovely couple, for nearly 10 years. I thank God for their lives.”
Throughout the years, Vilma and her sisters have seen the hand of God in every need.
“God has been faithful to us. We are much better now because both of my sisters are working. I know that this is only the beginning of a better and new life for our family. I have seen the help of God all this time. Even in the worst times, He was always there providing for all our needs.”
Vilma completed the sponsorship period and was able to graduate from high school, but she wanted more and continued pursuing her dream of becoming a professional. She obtained a college degree from the National University of Honduras.
“I’m so happy that I fulfilled the promise that I made to my mother. I was able to accomplish this with few resources and hard work. I praise the Lord for this great blessing because I can inspire others to achieve their dreams, because anything is possible with God’s help.”
But there was also another wish in Vilma’s heart. She loves Compassion’s ministry and didn’t like the idea of being away from the children.
“I wanted to continue with this ministry because I consider myself a product of Compassion.”
So when the news came to Vilma that the Honduras country office was looking for a Partnership Facilitator for the western region, she was immediately interested and started to pray.
“I thought that this would be a great opportunity to continue with the organization and work for the children in my region. I went through some interviews with office staff, including the Country Director, and while going through all this I prayed a lot with all my heart for this position.”
Vilma was the strongest candidate for the position, and she received the job.
“I felt overwhelmed with so much joy and gratitude to the Lord, I started to cry. I was at the center and my pastor was with me when I received the news, and I still recall her words: ‘Vilma, the Lord blesses those who have been faithful’.”
Vilma is currently serving on the worship team in her congregation and enjoying life with her sisters. She hopes to support the churches she’s been assigned so they can continue with the holistic development of the children in their communities. Vilma knows Christ is needed in these communities and in this society.
“I’m going to serve 13 development centers in my area. It is great to be able to make this journey again and see many children coming up through the church with hopes and dreams.”