Healing Two Kinds of Heart Problems

February 12, 2018 • Bolivia
After Nico's surgery, he returned to a reunited home where his parents had reconciled. His mother, Marcia, has professed Jesus as her Savior and Lord.
After Nico's surgery, he returned to a reunited home where his parents had reconciled. His mother, Marcia, has professed Jesus as her Savior and Lord.

Nico's surgery repaired holes in his heart. His mother and grandmother had a different kind of heart problem—a spiritual one—that God also healed.

Marcia is thankful for the care and concern that Nico's host family showed to him.

Marcia is thankful for the care and concern that Nico’s host family showed to him.

When Nico and his grandmother, Nancy, traveled from La Paz, Bolivia, to the U.S. this past year, Nico’s parents were planning to divorce. But as the then 3-year-old boy prepared for heart surgery through our Children’s Heart Project, God was working on the spiritual heart problems of Nico’s parents.

By the time the boy and his grandmother returned home to La Paz a little more than a month later, Nico was on the mend, his parents were reconciled, and his grandmother had become a baptized believer in Jesus Christ.

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A Crisis of Faith

About six months after Nico was born, he caught the flu. His inability to breathe properly had turned from a sinus problem into a serious life-threatening condition. His tongue and hands turned blue. Because of these symptoms, doctors discovered a heart defect. By age 3, he was still underweight and his energy level was at an all-time low.

“He couldn’t run. He played just a little bit at a time,” recalled his mother Marcia. “He didn’t eat a lot. He couldn’t talk properly.”

Marcia was wracked with worry, both over Nico’s health and how she and her husband, Juan Carlos, would pay for the mounting medical expenses. Their family of five was struggling.

“I was crying and crying. I was asking God, ‘Why me?'”

The strain and arguments between her and her husband became too much for Marcia, so, after 10 years of marriage, the couple separated.

“In all of this, I was angry at God,” Marcia said. “It was a very hard time. I was crying and crying. I was asking God, ‘Why me?'”

Healing a Family

When Marcia heard about the Samaritan’s Purse Children’s Heart Project, she sought help for Nico. After he was screened and approved for surgery, his grandmother and one of our interpreters accompanied him to the U.S. for the procedure.

Marcia asks Nico questions about the creation story she just read to him from the Bible's book of Genesis.

Marcia asks Nico questions about the creation story she just read to him from the Bible’s book of Genesis.

Marcia and Juan Carlos kept in contact with them through video conversations. The host family in the U.S. also sent the couple videos of Nico’s recovery.

“I was comforted by how much Nico loved his host family,” Marcia said. “I thank them because of their heart to help other children.”

The relief of seeing Nico’s progress eased tensions between Marcia and Juan Carlos. They decided to reconcile.

“Now, I see how God used that time to draw us back together,” Marcia said. “I know that He had a purpose in this. It’s a miracle only God could do. He made it possible for Nico to be healed through Samaritan’s Purse.”

Becoming Part of God’s Family

God also used this time to work in Nancy’s heart through the witness of the host family and church, as well as our interpreter who had traveled to the U.S. with Nancy and Nico. They invited Nancy to Bible studies and read Bible verses to her. In response, she asked Jesus for forgiveness of sin, professed her faith in Him as her Lord and Savior, and was baptized.

Nico's energy to run, eat, and play has returned since the 4-year-old had surgery through our Children's Heart Project this past year.

Nico’s energy to run, eat, and play has returned since the 4-year-old had surgery through our Children’s Heart Project this past year.

Nancy called the time she spent with the family “the best days of my life because now I have a Savior. I’m so hungry and thirsty for the Word of God. I have started to ask a lot of questions and read the Bible a lot.”

With each call Nancy made home, Marcia could detect a change in her mother.

“She began to talk with me more and more about God,” Marcia said, “reading to me from the Bible, such as Proverbs 3:5-6: ‘Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.’

After Nico and Nancy returned home, Nancy and Marcia began going to church—something that they hadn’t done while Marcia was growing up. Marcia’s heart began to change.

“I decided to put my life in the hands of God and follow Jesus,” Marcia said. “I had pain in my soul, but now I have a clean heart.”

Marcia now finds solace and strength in her relationship with Jesus Christ, and meeting with fellow believers has strengthened her knowledge of Him.

“I go to church to know more about Him,” she said. “I want to tell others about God. If a family wants to be OK, they need the presence of God. Without Him, they just are lost and cannot find the way.”

SUPPORT
About one out of every 100 babies has a heart defect that surgeons can routinely repair. Unfortunately, many of them are born in poor or remote places where their families cannot access the cardiac care they urgently need. Through our Children’s Heart Project, Samaritan’s Purse transports boys and girls from places like Bolivia, Mongolia, and Uganda to hospitals in North America. Doctors, hospitals, and host families and churches donate their time and services, but airfare is a major cost—typically $2,200 per person for international flights. For $22, you can share in this cost so that we can offer life-saving surgery and the unsurpassed hope of the Gospel. “But I have trusted in Your mercy; My heart shall rejoice in Your salvation” (Psalm 13:5).
Save a Child's Life About one out of every 100 babies has a heart defect that surgeons can routinely repair. Unfortunately, many of them are born in poor or remote places where their families cannot access the cardiac care they urgently need. Through our Children’s Heart Project, Samaritan’s Purse transports boys and girls from places like Bolivia, Mongolia, and Uganda to hospitals in North America. Doctors, hospitals, and host families and churches donate their time and services, but airfare is a major cost—typically $2,200 per person for international flights. For $22, you can share in this cost so that we can offer life-saving surgery and the unsurpassed hope of the Gospel. “But I have trusted in Your mercy; My heart shall rejoice in Your salvation” (Psalm 13:5).

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