Thousands of miles away from my little corner of Canada, God has blessed me with a sister named Sonia. Sonia's daughter, Lizbeth, is our Compassion daughter from Bolivia. Lizbeth and her twin sister were born on March 25th. It was their birth date that God used to connect me to Lizbeth and her family -- we lost a baby girl on March 25th years ago, and celebrating Lizbeth and her sister's birthday on March 25th has helped my heart heal.
Lizbeth and her sister are idential, inseparable, and ridiculously adorable... see for yourself!! (Sonia and her two precious daughters -- just don't ask me which one Lizbeth is!)
Sonia and I have not yet met, but through the letters she lovingly writes on behalf of her daughter Lizbeth, the connection has been instant and very strong. We are family in every sense that ever mattered, and in ways that weren't expected...
The letter we received from Lizbeth today, written by Sonia, began as most of their letters do... sharing greetings in the name of the Lord Jesus, offering their prayers to our family and to our Africa mission trip.
Then, I noticed something that stuck me as unusual... "Lizbeth is in good health, along [with] her sister and my husband."
What about Sonia's health? She hasn't mentioned it... so I made a mental note to ask in my response letter, and kept reading.
She spoke of the girls' schooling, her remembrance of March 25th, how their holidays were... she answered some of my questions about her marriage and relationship with her husband.
Then, the unexpected. "I ask your prayers... I have problems in the heart, I had tests done and have "Chagas", there is no cure in our country for this sickness."
Such a simple, quiet, heartfelt prayer request, followed by shared scripture, gratitude for our letters they received, and affectionate goodbyes and blessings to our family from theirs.
I never imagined that I would have this in common with Lizbeth and her sister... my mother also has a life-threatening heart condition.
Unlike Sonia, my mother has access to great doctors and treatment, and they are able to keep her healthy and doing well.
Sonia does not have that "luxury".
Chagas is an infection transmitted to humans by insect carriers of the disease. Initially, it is an acute infection which can be treated by anti-parasitic medication. Even with treatment, after 4-8 weeks of acute infection, it becomes a chronic situation which in 20-40% of individuals eventually develop life-threatening heart, nervous system and digestive system disorders. This is the case with Lizbeth's mother, Sonia.
The prognosis is not good. Without treatment, she could face sudden death. Without treatment, she may not get to see her daughters grow up... the thought makes my heart hurt alongside of hers.
Over the years with Compassion, I have seen the importance of correspondence in building relationships; relationships not only with our Compassion children, but with their families. Through these letters, we develop trust in one another, and through that trust, our hearts -- and our heart problems -- are shared.
Without that relationship, we may not have been told about this serious issue, and perhaps we would have missed on the opportunity to help.
My relationship with Lizbeth and her mother has brought healing to my heart. What if...
What if somehow, this sponsorship can bring healing to Sonia's heart as well?
What if, by sharing this prayer request with you and our other Compassion kids, God answers our outpouring of prayers and helps bring healing to Sonia's heart?
What if, by contacting Compassion tomorrow morning and explaining the situation, a field inquiry can be initiated, and a potential solution can be found?
What if... every sponsor saw the impact that letters can have on Compassion relationships and began a change reaction that reached into every corner of the world for Him?