When two children receive life-saving surgery through Children’s Heart Project, their mothers commit to serve God fully in their lives
Brenda had been sick for 10 years. Her mother knew there was something wrong with her from the time she was 2 months old. Since then, her heart defect had gotten progressively worse. She didn’t walk. She sat in a stroller, which might have been difficult for a normal sized 10-year-old, but tiny Brenda fit perfectly.
The doctors at Brenda’s local hospital in Honduras knew what was wrong with her, but they didn’t have the expertise to fix the hole in her heart. All they could do was give her medicine that would ease her symptoms.
Caring for a sick child took a tremendous toll on Brenda’s family, emotionally and in other ways.
“I have four kids, and we don’t have much income,” said Brenda’s mother, Rosa. “Mostly everything would go to buy Brenda’s medicine. There was a lot of tension in the family.”
People had said for years that Brenda was going to die. Rosa lived in constant anguish. So when a doctor saw Brenda and recommended her to Children’s Heart Project, the news was difficult to believe. She was nervous about making the trip to the United States for surgery, but she knew it was the only option for her daughter.
To Rosa’s relief, she didn’t have to take the trip entirely by herself. An interpreter, Jenny, and another mother of a child with a heart defect accompanied her.Seven-year-old Ronaldo had similar experiences to Brenda. His mother, Martha, had found out about his heart defect when he was a newborn, but the doctors could do nothing for him. He had lived in pain for years and, like Brenda, had never been able to attend school.
The group met their host family, the Barbers, and their doctors when they arrived in North Carolina. After a few appointments, the doctors were ready to do surgery on the children. During the operations, Rosa and Martha nervously waited to hear news.
Finally, the doctors told the mothers that the surgeries were successful.
“We get to know the depth of concern they have before the surgery, and then just the joy and relief and the smiles and the happy feet after the surgery,” said Chuck Barber, the host father.
Jenny held Bible studies with Rosa and Martha as their children recovered. Both mothers said they were Christians, but their faith in Jesus Christ changed and strengthened during the trip.
“Back home, everybody will say, ‘I’m a Christian,’” Jenny said. “But one of the moms would come up to me and say, ‘How can people love us without knowing us?’ And that’s what they’ve experienced more.”Martha made a commitment to Christ to live in the way that her host family has shown her. She was impressed with their unity, love, and service, and she feels forever thankful to them.
Rosa also decided to live out her faith more fully.
“Before I came here, I asked God to take care of my little girl and fix her heart, and if that happened, I was going to give my life to Him and to serve Him,” she said. “I made that promise, and I will do it. I am going to tell [my community] that because of the grace of God and through Him alone, she is healthy now.”
Brenda and Ronaldo will return home to Honduras this week, no longer as children limited by their heart defects.
“Now I’m going to go to school,” Brenda said. “I will be able to walk more, run, and go on trips. It feels good, and I’m happy.”
As they return, Chuck said he is grateful to know that he and his family are a small piece in their stories.
“When they leave, we’re a small part of them taking the Gospel back to their community,” he said. “It’s a little humbling to think that we have a part in that.”
Please pray for the children as they make the journey home and as they get to live normally for the first time in their lives. And please pray that the many children on the Children’s Heart Project waiting list will be able to receive the life-saving operations they so desperately need.