Unlike my team members I was not excited about the sports night on Saturday. Let's just say I lack athleticism and on top of that it ws quite chilly. I found myself sitting in the bleachers among the people. I was sitting next to a young woman named Veronica. Within moments she had told me her life story and I could do nothing but sit there and sob. I knew her story had to be told.
Veronica came to know the Lord through the incredible faith of her mother. Her mother would take Veronica and her two brothers to church at a young age. They witnessed her mother being baptized and her unfaltering faith. When Veronica was thirteen years old her mother became extremely ill and passed away, but before she passed she told Veronica to get out of the house so that she would not stay with her father. Her father would beat Veronica and her two brothers but it was Veronica who took most of the beatings because her father has such disdain for her. At thirteen she left her house, left her brothers and started to fend for herself. Veronica continued to go to school (she was not able to finish) and work to support herself and her brothers. She worked odd jobs doing cleaning, cooking, selling food, she was a security guard. Each day for Veronica has been a struggle to survive, each day has been a struggle to figure out how is she going to feed herself and her brothers. During all this Veronica meets her now husband Agustin. Being the woman of faith that she is, she would witness to Agustin and he eventually came to know the Lord. Eventually she and Agustin welcomed their first born Lupe into their lives with much joy after being told that she would never conceive. Veronica and Agustin continue to struggle each day as many of the Bolivians do. Lupe is now four years old and she has a one year old sister who many of the ladies on our team have been taking turns holding.
Veronica and her family are currently living in an empty house with no electricity or running water. One of her neighbors is kind enough to let her have water. When her one year old daughter was three months old she became very ill. The baby had a high fever, was vomiting and had diarrhea for days. Veronica was so distraught she did not know what to do. All she could do was pray, pray for her child. This is the part that gets me, she said, "Lord there is nothing I can do for her. If it is your will, please take this child. If you are not going to heal her, please take her." Here I am sitting, bawling, thinking, who prays for that? I could never pray for that. I don't think I have that kind of strength or faith to do it. As their child is on the verge of death these young parents are beyond distraught and they finally decide to go seek medical attention. For you see, Veronica and her family don't have any excess resources in case of emergency. Neither do most of the people here. They barely have enough for food. Seeking medical attention is a luxury they cannot afford. It cost $1.80 Bolivianos each way to ride the bus. The hospitals are no where near walking distance. Can you imagine walking for miles upon miles in the middle of the night while carrying a sleeping three year old and the other holding the baby whose life keeps slipping away? It is about 2 am when they finally reach the hospital. The hospital turns them away because they did not have the $50 Bolivianos it would cost to pay for the consultation. (Here I am drinking water from my $14 water bottle) They decide to walk to another hospital on the other side of town only to be rejected again for the lack of money. Defeated and distraught they make it back home around 5 am. The baby by now is foaming at the mouth and Veronica decides to spend what seems to be the last moments of her daughter's life holding her in her arms as she falls asleep. In her dream a very big man in a white suit appeared to her and said, "you came to me for help, why did you doubt me?" At that moment she woke up and her daughter was completely healed.
They continue to take each day as it comes. Living with next to nothing. Each day is a struggle. Here is what gets me, their biggest desire to to be trained to be evangelists and preach the gospel. That's all they want.
Let's break down the numbers:
Bus Ride: 1.80 Bolivianos = about .20 US (less than a gum ball)
Doctor Visit: 50 Bolivianos = about $7 US (a venti iced coffee)
Food for a family of 4 for a day: 140 Bolivianos = about $20 US (in-n-out dinner for 4)
I can't help but see the huge discrepancy in our lives. She is living below the poverty line yet her faith is unwavering. Her story has left me unsettled, seeking for answers, looking for ways to help. What can we do?
Morena & Veronica:
ON DAY 5 WE...
Drove 40 minutes to Pastor Hugo's new church in Montero. We sang to pass the time.
Met new little friends.
Watched as those new little friends belted out songs with hand motions.
Cheered on Eric, Kiko and Evan as they performed 2 songs.
Were moved to tears as we listened to amazing testimonies.
Participated in anointings and prayers from the Pastors. (Personal note: This was a moment I will never forget.)
Left that precious church and it's beautiful people with full, happy hearts.
Went back to the hotel for an hour to "rest". Yes, there's a reason rest is in quotations.
Were on to our next church service: Luz Divina's special anniversary service.
Enjoyed the choreographed dances of the tambourine girls.
Worshipped together. The Bolivians passion cannot be matched.
Listened as Justin told his story of redemption and God's love. He's amazing.
Sat in awe of the talent of the young people and their drama they acted out.
Gave thanks and celebrated the many years of ministry at Luz Divina.
Amen Y Amen.
Sun, July 22, 2012
by Steph Villa Davis filed under