Child Survival: A Story From Peru

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.

little boy wearing a cowboy hat

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.

woman holding a little boy

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.

10 Comments |Add a comment

  1. Gayle White April 17, 2009

    Hi Kim,

    Thanks so much for the question. I did not mention that Carmen was married in the story above but she is married. And if she does not want more children the Survival Specialist will support her in finding access to birth control. Compassion money is never spent on birth control. I did not ask when I was there if she is on birth control but I am sure that she is being supported practically in her desire not to have more children.


  2. Tom Easterday April 17, 2009

    Reading comparisons of life here vs. life in developing countries always hammers home to me the blessing we have and our responsibility to help those less fortunate. Thanks for sharing, Gayle.

  3. Kim Edge April 16, 2009

    I applaud your help for the woman but if she is sexually active and does not want more children, can you please get her on birth control?

  4. Mike Stephens April 16, 2009

    Well Gayle you can verify my story then!!! I even thought before I posted it that I didn’t probably have it 100% I simply heard that and it sounded amazing and good at the same time. Your welcome for my passion. I like to encourage b/c I want and need to be encouraged!!!

    I Peter 5:7 “Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for YOU!!!”

    I was able to drive a Taxi and save enough money to go on the Sponsor tour to the Philippines and I promised one of the boys I sponsor there, Angelo, that I would dunk a basketball for him when I visit. So if you your prayer group is ever short on things to pray for, which I doubt, pray that I will dunk a basketball with 2 hands for him like I promised!!! I have about 7 more inches to go and the trip is in June!!!

  5. Gayle White April 16, 2009

    How crazy is this? A lady in my prayer group is good friends with Mrs. Tebow. They went to school together and the lady in my prayer group was also a missionary living in Germany for many years. They still keep in touch and I have been following Tim’s story since before he won the Heisman. So cool.

    Thanks for your passion for moms and babies around the world. May God bless you in all that you do!

  6. Mike Stephens April 16, 2009


    I was just trying to apply it biblically and say something positive and edifying and that is what came to mind. There is a lady named Mrs. Tebow and I heard that her and her husband were missionaries in the Philippines and she was having a lot of problems with her pregnancy and they recommended she get an abortion but she had the baby I think and almost died but her son Tim Tebow won the Heisman trophy a few years ago!!! I wish I had more money to give!!! Maybe in the near future!!! 😉

  7. Gayle White April 16, 2009

    Hi Mike,

    It’s interesting that you should mention the story of Moses. It is a story that is very close to those working in the Child Survival Program. Many of us around the world pray for more donors to play the role of Pharaoh’s daughter providing resources to help moms take care of their little ones.

    Thanks for praying with us.

  8. Amy Wallace April 16, 2009

    Let me start by saying that Edison and Elias are two very cute boys 🙂

    I’m so glad Carmen was able to connect with Compassion, or else I might not get to see that cute picture Elias. I’m so glad he has the chance to live out the life God has in store for him. Our wonderful and amazing God was looking out for Elias, even when he was still in the womb 🙂

  9. Juli Jarvis April 16, 2009

    Thank you so much for writing this story — very special!

  10. Mike Stephens April 16, 2009

    Thanks for sharing Gayle, I heard a similar story about a lady in Brazil who tried to do the same thing, but she failed to kill her baby also!!! All these stories remind me of Moses in the bible and how all the Hebrew midwives disobeyed Pharoah and hence Moses led God’s people out of Egypt!!! I believe Elias has an AMAZING future ahead!!!

    I Peter 5:7 “Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for YOU!!!”

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