A bitterly sweet time with Sylvia and her family

manuelwalter1I can’t believe they killed her father.

Last summer, April and I had the immense privilege of spending time with a young lady my grandmother sponsors through Latin America Child Care.  Her name is Sylvia.  She attends a school in Santa Ana, El Salvador which is helped by Convoy of Hope.  We met her, her brother Walter, and their parents, spending time in their home and sharing a meal with them.  I blogged about it all, including my grandmother’s connection to her, last summer. http://bit.ly/iBSHr.

While there, among other things, we enjoyed taking Manual, her father and family to Pizza Hut for his 40th birthday.  It was a special day at the restaurant they’d always wanted to try.  Everything changed just one month later when violent gang members uselessly shot and killed her father…the man pictured here.  It happened about a month after I took this photo.  I can’t believe they killed him. 

We reconnected with Sylvia and her family while in El Salvador with our spring interns a few weeks ago.  We shared hugs and tears and prayers and we talked.  We returned to Pizza Hut.  We smiled.

sylviafam“Walter is the man of the house now,” Sylvia told us.  “(Walter) wakes up and asks why people have to be mean,” her mother explains.  They’re grieving but growing through their grief.

200sylvia

The day after we reconnected, the family joined us for an outreach in a village about 30 minutes from their home.  There, Sylvia shared her testimony, starting by quoting Psalm 23.  She sang with our team in ministry for the people of the village and she and her family handed out groceries to those who had gathered.  The woman here is quite happy with what Sylvia shared.

Afterwards, her mother (pictured in yellow in the group photo above) said, “This has been the best thing for helping us heal…serving others.”

I’ll see her and her family again this summer and look forward to keeping in touch with the family for years to come. 

waltertruckOne final note…last summer we asked 9-year-old Walter about his school.  He didn’t attend “we don’t have enough money,” his parents said.  God touched a team member’s heart who decided to work with Latin America Child Care in sponsoring Walter.  He’d never been to school.  He couldn’t read.  It took time for Walter and extra money for his sponsor, but last fall, even as the family went through this tragedy, Walter had a personal tutor.  This January, he was able to start school with his class.  At Pizza Hut, he read me the menu…didn’t struggle with a single word.  God’s got a plan for the young man…who’s now the head of his home.sylviamatt

Convoy of Hope in Sarata Galbena

Today we're about an hour from the capital of Moldova in Sarata Galbena. I'm sitting in the first Pentecostal Church sanctioned by the Soviet Union…a miracle story (blogged it in June).

Tomorrow we'll work with this church to host a Convoy of Hope outreach. We're finishing the bagging of 500 bags of groceries, we'll soon set up and then pass out even more invitations in this village.

Clear and beautiful day.