The Story of a Devoted Father and His Boys

Damião, wearing a green shirt, is with his sons, Davi, wearing a white shirt, and Luan, wearing a blue shirt. They are hugging each other in their back yard. They are standing in the grass.

“My dad does everything for me! … I love him so much. One day I asked him to buy me ice cream and even without much money, he managed to buy it for me,” exclaims Davi about his father, Damião.

Upon hearing his son’s words, a tear falls from Damião’s eyes. In their culture, men rarely cry in front of others. But in the last few months, crying has been a normal part of Damião’s life.

His Trying Upbringing

Damião’s childhood was tough; he and his 11 siblings lived in a rural community and all started working from an early age.

“My childhood was difficult. I never learned to read or write my name. When I was a child, we didn’t have time to dream, and nobody asked us about our future. Our concern was to work to survive,” Damião explained. Agriculture was the only skill he learned in life.

Later, Damião got married and had three children, Camila, 15, Davi, 10, and Luan, 6. He continued to farm to care for the family.

In their culture in Brazil, it’s typical for men to work hard outside while wives take care of the house. “Every day, I leave my home before the sun comes up and go to the fields. There I plant beans, rice and corn. Then I try to sell at the market, and if something is left, I take it home. It’s a hard job,” says Damião.

Damião, wearing a green shirt and blue patterned shorts, is sitting on a stool outside in his back yard. He is holding a large stick

Broken Family Bonds

About a year ago, Damião says he was working in the field when he received a message from his wife saying that she would be leaving. Her reasons were many and complex; she wasn’t coping. He ran home, but her bags were already packed. She was ready to leave.

Damião’s wife asked the children where they would like to live. They preferred to stay with their father. So she said her goodbyes, took her things and left.

Damião was stunned. He says, “Now, when I get home and I see only my children, I feel like crying. I thought we’d built a family to last forever.”

“When my wife left me, I thought so many bad things. I thought about taking my life several times. What made me give up on this idea was the knowledge that my children need me and that I cannot abandon them.”

Damião, wearing a green shirt, is with his sons, Davi, wearing a white shirt, and Luan, wearing a blue shirt. They are sitting together on a couch in their home and Davi and Luan are resting their heads in their dad's lap.

Since Damião needs to leave the house every day to work, many of the home responsibilities fell on his teenage daughter. One day, she also said goodbye to her father and moved in with her mother, hoping for a more comfortable life.

Damião’s heart was weighed down by sadness again. Luan, Damião’s youngest son, was traumatized by the changes in the family. When his father used to leave him at his Compassion center, he used to cry and beg his father to stay with him. “I am afraid that you will leave me and never come back to pick me up. I am afraid that you will abandon me, as my mother did,” Luan would cry.

Damião, wearing a green shirt, is with his sons, Davi, wearing a white shirt, and Luan, wearing a blue shirt. They are sitting inside their home with two Compassion volunteers who are praying for them. The volunteers are wearing face masks.

Grief and Restoration

No one should have to grieve alone. With the support of the staff at the center, Damião and his sons learned to press forward, even through their heartache. “The volunteers are always around, visiting us, asking how we are, worrying about us,” says Damião. “It was great to receive their advice and help when I wanted to give up. Little by little, the idea of wanting to die was leaving my head.”

His oldest son, Davi, is responsible for housework and caring for his younger brother. “Every day, I wake up, wash the dishes, sweep the house and make beans for us to eat. When there are noodles, I also make noodles. Then I help my brother with school duties and try to study,” Davi says.

Damião, wearing a green shirt, is with his sons, Davi, wearing a white shirt, and Luan, wearing a blue shirt. They are washing dishes together in their back yard.

Despite his enthusiasm, Davi struggles with these duties. For this reason, the Compassion center staff, whenever they can, step in to help and teach Damião and his children how to take care of the house.

“Center staff sometimes come to help us clean our home. During the pandemic, when everything became more expensive and hard, they also helped us with food. I really appreciate this care for my family,” says Damião gratefully.

Although challenges remain, the love that Damião’s children have for him shows what a good father he is.

An Unwavering Dedication

Damião, wearing a green shirt, is with his sons, Davi, wearing a white shirt, and Luan, wearing a blue shirt. They are kneeling down in the grass in their backyard and are hugging each other.

“My biggest dream is to see my father happy. I know he is happy when I am obedient. That’s why I always try to help him. I love my father very much. When I was a baby, and I was born with a club foot, he even asked for money on the street to buy me an orthopedic boot,” says Davi.

“I love my dad a lot. I want to live with him forever,” says Luan.

Damião admits he isn’t the best cook and housekeeper, and he cannot afford everything his sons want or even need. But he loves them and promises to never leave. Even on his darkest days, he refuses to give up.

He reminds his children that “Being a family is being united. I’ll never abandon [you]. It doesn’t matter what happens. Being with [you] makes me happy.”

Ava Bruns, a Marketing Specialist intern at Compassion, contributed to this blog article.

Father and his sons

12 Comments |Add a comment

  1. Diana Sepulveda August 21, 2021

    Sponsoring a child can help them overcome fears of abandonment and loss.

  2. Betty Scott June 20, 2021

    I think Davi said he had a club foot?!
    Has anyone talked to his Dad about Cure, International? They provide surgeries for children with these kinds of birth defects!
    Thousands of children today are ok because they were taken to Cure!!!

    1. Jesse June 22, 2021

      Hello Betty! Thank you for your message and your heart to help Davi. Davi explained near the end of the blog, that he had a club foot as a child and his father got him an orthopedic boot to assist. I want to reassure you that we are working with the family to make sure they all have the care they need! Thank you again for your heart to help as we are so grateful for the many people making a difference in the lives of others! If you have any questions please feel free to send us a DM or email us at [email protected] and we would be happy to help! God bless!

  3. Sylvia Howard June 19, 2021

    Thank you for sharing your testimony!
    It is so good to know what a great God we serve.

  4. Mary June 19, 2021

    I love you so much Compassion people, you are so so wonderful and loving of our Lord and helping others. This story like others is so so heart warming, Lord bless this family. What a wonderful Dad he is. Thank you all your team for all you do in the name of our Savior. So uplifting.

    1. Nicole June 21, 2021

      Thank you, Mary, for your kind and encouraging words! We are very grateful for your support! ??

  5. Alice Marks June 19, 2021

    Beautiful children. I am so proud of their dad for the great job he is doing raising his 2 boys. Happy Father’s Day!

  6. Sally Akehi May 21, 2021

    Oh my! I was so sad to read what happened to this father when he was trying so hard to keep the family together. I’m glad Compassion helpers could be there to helpo the father when his wife left him and then later when his daughter also left. There are families in America who struggle with similar difficulties, especially during the pandemic. It is not an easy road to walk, but with God’s help and the Holy Spirit, they can come into your family and give you all the courage and strength to make things work. And then you can be a testimony to others, in God’s name! Thank you for sharing your story. God Bless you. Sally Akehi

    1. Grace May 24, 2021

      Thank you so much for your kind words, Sally! It really is amazing how our courage in hard times can turn into a testimony God can use. ?

  7. Anne Thiongo April 22, 2021

    Oh my! cant help tears reading this but what a Faithful GOD we serve! in the midst of all hopelessness and despair the bond of love has preserved this family. May God come through for them in a big way!

  8. Helen April 20, 2021

    Praise the Lord for Compassion and the workers there.

  9. Terri April 20, 2021

    Praying for this splintered family during this difficult season of their lives. May God reunite them and bless them with great love for each other and a powerful testimony of His ability to bring healing. God bless the local Compassion Project for continually sharing the love of Christ with this devoted father and his precious sons.

Add a Comment

Read the ground rules for comments.