When a Father Loves His Daughters {Nicaragua, Day 2}

Compassion trip to Nicaragua 2013

Diana is her name. She hasn’t left my mind much for the past few weeks. Her name means “divine.”

I met her on a little dirt road in the middle of nowhere and didn’t want to let her go.  She smiled a nervous smile and held tight to my neck.

Compassion trip to Nicaragua 2013

I’ve known for a week that today would be the magical day.  I felt like I’ve been waiting for Christmas.  And love comes in the flesh in ways we can’t always understand.

We walked to her house, hand in hand, and met the rest of her family.   Despite the prayers and the imagining what it would be like,  I couldn’t have known what was just beyond those pieced together curtains.  I ducked low and nearly  fell trying to climb down into the what they call the kitchen.
Compassion trip to Nicaragua 2013

Claudia, Diana’s big sister, was bathing the 2 year old in a wash tub.  The little mama dried Mary Cruz off just like a pro, careful to wipe her little eyes and wrap her up tight.

Compassion trip to Nicaragua 2013

We sat on her cardboard bed and made fast friends over Hello Kitty and hair bows and hand games.  Time stood still for me today.  Those two hours will feed me for years to come.

Compassion trip to Nicaragua 2013

 Little sissy sat shy behind us and finally decided that maybe the hair bows were worth the risk to meet the crazy woman with the yellow hair.  There’s something about Southern women and babies that you just can’t come between.  I may not speak Spanish but I’m fluent in hair accessories and they are love in any language.

Compassion trip to Nicaragua 2013

We spent an hour getting to know each other—playing legos and  baby dolls, braiding hair, and painting nails.  Southern girls, in training, I tell you!

Compassion trip to Nicaragua 2013

Diana’s father Roberto peeped around the corner from the back side of the house, where he had been working.

He had kind eyes and spoke gentle when he talked of his family.

Compassion trip to Nicaragua 2013

From the moment I met him, I adored him.  She is the first child I’ve met with a father in the house.  And her father loves her.  That does something permanent to a little girl’s heart. He works everyday, collecting and selling recycled trash, doing his best to support his wife and three daughters.  He pilfers through junk and waste and brings it back to their home to clean it up and see what can be salvaged.  I told him that I was so proud of him— for taking such good care of his family, for loving them enough to go to work for them everyday, for walking his daughters to school, and for saying yes when Compassion offered to enroll his daughters in the program. I thanked him for not giving up and for having the courage to stay.

And that’s when the dams broke.

I could barely talk.  My eyes are full of tears as I write about him now because I want to hug him again and tell him he’s brave for standing up for his family in a culture where most men would have left.  I told him that I grew up in a house without my dad and that I hoped he knew what a gift he was giving his girls. Diana looked up at me with love in her eyes, not sure why I was crying, but wanting to comfort somehow.  I wasn’t the one bringing the gifts that mattered today.  His grace always turns things upside down.

Compassion trip to Nicaragua 2013

 

I just knew that I would visit her and want to bring her home with me.  But what I learned today is that she is home.  She lives in ramshackle lean-to with no indoor plumbing and cardboard for a bed.  But she is home.  She is surrounded by parents who love her and who are giving all they have, day in, day out, against all odds.  Their little shanty isn’t water proof and they hope that someday they will be able to do some repairs so that the girls don’t get wet when it rains.   They have hopes and dreams, that it won’t always be like this.  They want a better life for their girls but they are a family and we were so blessed by their commitment to each other.

Compassion trip to Nicaragua 2013

 My little amiga, Diana.  

I can’t wait to see what grows from the fertile ground of a Father’s love, planted firmly in her heart.

Compassion trip to Nicaragua 2013

I’ve often wondered whether it really makes a difference.  What can $38 do for a child a half a world away?  It won’t even fill up my gas tank.

Today, I know the answer.

A few hours after my heart was wrenched from my chest at Diana’s home, I spent the afternoon with her at the Compassion Center.

I haven’t been at a place more full of joy in a long time.

I saw her as she sat and listened to the story of the woman at the well.

I saw her eat a bowlful of nourishing rice and chicken.

I visited her class and did the hokey pokey with her in Spanish.

I boogied with her at a traditional dance festival.  (Don’t worry, mamacita’s still got moves and they may well be even better in Nicaragua!)

I read her file and saw the picture of her when she graduated from kindergarten.

I looked at her medical papers and saw the free care she received when she was sick.

I saw a list of things she’s been given so far, such as school supplies, birthday gifts, and a school uniform.

I saw that $38 a month changes everything in Diana’s life.

$38 has built a bridge from a man-made lake in Bean Station to a dusty road in Managua.

$38 has broken my heart a hundred ways to Sunday.

But this day will shine  a like a beacon in my memory—the day the Father brought His daughters together, to show them both how much He loves them.

I thought I was bringing the gifts today.

I couldn’t have been more wrong.

**************************

There are 31 of Diana’s  friends who need sponsors. I would be so honored to work and pray alongside you at Center NI-186, Arms of Love. Let’s sponsor all 31 today.  I know we can.  I love you all and I promise you that what may seem like your way of caring for a child in need is really Christ’s way of caring for you. He’s always works crazy like that.

Thank you in advance, for bringing love in the flesh.  You remind me so much of Him.

 

685x85-Nicaragua-LOVE

Compassion Bloggers Nicaragua 2013 - Project 186 - Day 2

My other posts from the trip…….

A Good Place to Start, Nicaragua Day 1

When a Father Loves His Daughters, Nicaragua Day 2

Open My Eyes, Nicaragua Day 3

Obediente, Nicaragua Day 4

I’ve Got You, Nicaragua Day 5

Home

And a video of my favorite memories……

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70 Comments

  • patience says:

    im so moved by the story it reminds me of my dad whom i love so much.with me my mom left me and my brothers when i was in grade 6 and everything was different but my dad did all he could for me to grow up to be the woman i am.one thing that i wish is just to give the best present ever to appreciate him and show him that im grateful for what he has done. pray that all the fathers in the world would do the same,no matter what the sitution is at home.

  • There are no words…………

  • Kerri says:

    A picture is worth a thousand words. And you, my friend, truly are walking in the Lord’s shoes. Diana and her family are beautiful and despite their living conditions seem so happy. Thank you so much for sharing with us! We are truly blessed to have you opening our eyes and hearts to the Lord!

  • Wanda says:

    Love this Edie! I have been following my friend, Ann Voskamp’s trip to Africa as well. Both of you are stirring my heart.

  • Your words are so perfectly, devastatingly beautiful. My tears are streaming, and I’m thanking God for his grace to me, through you, this morning. Love this post!
    “I thought I was bringing the gifts today. It turns out, they were all for me. And they were divine!” <————— AMEN!

  • Amy says:

    Thanks for sharing your experiences with us so beautifully and I pray all your readers will sponsor a child. One of our sponsored children lives in Nicaragua too. Jennifer Ceron is at the Brazos de Amor Student Center. Will you go there as well? If so, please send my love to the sweet nine year old girl and tell her Amy says hello all the way from North Carolina. It’s such a honor to be able to encourage her in God’s love and remind her He has a plan for her live. Praying for your trip! xo

  • Brandy says:

    Absolutely beautiful…loving your stories and insight on this trip. Praying for you and your team!

  • Karen says:

    And she has a dad that loves her……

    THAT left me undone! Fabulous post!

    We sponsor already and will be getting to visit 1, maybe 2 of our kiddos next year! CANNOT WAIT!

  • Edie,
    Thank you for sharing this. I went to Guatemala twice for a similar trip and felt like I never had the words to express or describe to people what it was like. You’ve described it in a perfect way that I never could. Thinking and Praying for ya. xo

  • Jennifer says:

    Beautiful. I am stunned into tearful silence. “I thought I was bringing the gifts today. It turns out, they were all for me.”

  • teresa says:

    I’m a puddled mess, here, Edie! I knew I would before I ever read your post today. SO moving. So real. So heartwrenching, but at the same time heartwarming. I am already praying for Diana and this family. Praying for you and your team as you do this thing! Love you!

  • Southern Gal says:

    I knew you would make me cry. What a beautiful family!

  • So beautiful! It is evident that there is love, hope and true wealth in this family. Thank you for sharing your journey. Praying for you all.

  • Essie says:

    Edie, you shine with God’s love.

  • Leanne says:

    Wow! Thank you for sharing this amazing day with us.

  • Jenn says:

    The tears were welling up at this post. Thank you, thank you, thank you. So very glad you got to meet your little girl and her family and to bless and be blessed!

  • Judy says:

    So moved and touched by your post! It brought back sweet memories of my trip to Bolivia 3 months ago when I met 5 of my Compassion kids, and especially the emotions I felt meeting 17 year old Heiber, who I had sponsored for 12 years! Many God continue to bless your relationship with sweet Diana and her family!

  • Cyndi Spivey says:

    Oh my!! That was beautiful Edie!! God is so good!
    Blessings,
    Cyndi

  • Kitty says:

    CAN. NOT. STOP. CRYING. Your eloquent words have touched me so deeply. I can just see the light of the Lord in your heart. I am honored to be sharing this “virtual” journey with you. Thank you! Continued prayers being sent your way. :)

  • Miranda says:

    Beautiful! Absolutely beautiful! Thank you for thanking her father, as I do not feel that is done enough in our world today. Thank you for sharing this beautiful post with us as well. We are praying for everyone on this trip and that many lives would be forever changed!

  • Jill Foley says:

    What a treasure! I love that you spoke words of encouragement and gratitude to her father. You may never know the impact those words may have, but I’m sure seeds were planted and roots will grow.

  • sheri says:

    I do not even have adequate words to comment – oh my!

  • Betty says:

    Thank you, thank you for this post. I am without words to express how it touched me.

  • Dina Twing says:

    This moved me to tears. I was one of three girls, myself, and I have never doubted the profound impact my amazing father had, and continues to have on my life. I wish every man who creates a daughter could understand the importance of his role in her life.

  • Jolanthe says:

    So wonderful that she has an earthly father who is already modeling her heavenly Father’s love to her. :)

  • Gretchen says:

    Beautiful woman…inside and out! Praying for you and all the lives you will touch! Thanking the Lord for your life today!

  • This story touched my heart! What an intense mingling of joy and tears. Praying for you and the other bloggers on this trip, and praying that your example will move others to get involved.

  • It was so hard to not cry while reading this. Thank you so much for sharing your experience with this beautiful family.

  • Nancy says:

    I first heard of Compassion when I went to Tanzania and we visited a Compassion School in the village where we were privileged to spend a weekend. We now have 3 children in Africa and I pray that someday we will be able to meet them. Your trip makes me long for that even more.

    • BLESS you for sponsoring, Nancy!!
      You heart for your kids is inspiring.
      Thank you so much for following along and for your love and heart for poverty around the world.

  • NOw I’m crying!! What a precious little one and I love how it does make a difference when we do SOMETHING! Love your sweet heart girl.
    Blessings,
    Sasha

  • Kirsten says:

    I’m so moved by your story today. What blessed little girls….a blessed family. You thought you were bringing the gifts….I love that line. Isn’t how that usually is? Something breaks and changes in us when we step out and “go”. God changes us too. That $38 certainly is changing their lives also. Thank you for writing. Love your post. Blessings!

  • Steve Jones says:

    Wow, what a post! Thanks for being willing to go and for letting your heart leak out all through these words. I wish it wasn’t so rare to see dads in these homes. I am so glad your little girl has her dad loving on her.

  • Andrea says:

    “It was like waiting for Christmas…” Almost exactly two years ago I stood in Granada, Nicaragua, anxiously awaiting the arrival of Josué, one of my two sponsored boys. His mom, his teacher, and a Compassion worker journeyed from León where he lives so that I could meet him. What a gift! I remember pacing as I waited and then crying from the intense emotion when I met him. We spent a beautiful morning seeing the sites of Granada. Your words brought me back to that day. Thank you.

  • lindley says:

    Wow! Oh thank you for sharing! And wow–you got it right–how wonderful and brave for her Daddy to stay with his family! If only that could be what’s natural and typical in this world! Love what you are doing—moving lots of people and sharing God’s love! Praying this moves people into action!

  • martha says:

    Beautiful…….thank you for sharing this powerful journey with us. You always touch my heart.

  • Erin in CO says:

    Tears, streaming down my face with you…pure loveliness that Diana’s daddy is there with his girls. So, so thankful you got to see that first hand.

  • Jan says:

    Your post touched me so. I knew, as I was reading it, that God’s hand was at work through your words. My hubby and I are empty-nesters now, with our two sons in college. I have been very emotional lately looking through old pictures and remembering the wonderful days when they were younger. (Don’t get me wrong… I adore the young men that they are now… just missin’ the younger years!) And then… I clicked on the sponsor link, and saw little 5 yr. old Jeffri. He needs me, and I need him. God is giving me another little boy to love and help grow. What a gift! Thank you for sharing your heart… you truly are a servant of our Lord.

    • I’m am DYING over here in Nicaragua, Jan, from your beautiful story!! I can’t tell you how happy I am for you and for Jeffri! This is love. You are a lifeline for him, I’ve seen it first hand. I don’t know how much more my heart can take.

      “The Lord bless you and keep you;
      The Lord make His face shine upon you,
      And be gracious to you;
      The Lord lift up His countenance upon you,
      And give you peace.”

      I am so thankful for you. LOVE to you!!
      xoxo

  • Joyce says:

    There should a disclaimer in all these Compassion trip posts to have tissue nearby in case tears result from reading the stories. :p God is doing an amazing thing! Praying for the team.

  • susan says:

    It’s evident that Diana’s family is wealthy in love and you, who I’m honored to say I know, are fulfilling the Great Commission in a beautiful way!

  • VB says:

    Beautiful! We have so much wealth in the U.S., but so much spiritual poverty. I’ve always wanted to sponsor a child through Compassion, but have never gotten around to it. I love seeing how it REALLY DOES make a difference in the life of a child!

  • oh edie. i want to hug him and thank him too. what a difference this will make in his daughters’ lives. and what a beautiful ray of sunshine you are in those pictures, bringing joy to their home. praise God for you and for that gentle family. praying for them and for you as you minister.

  • Andrea says:

    Thank you for letting us peek into your world and sharing your heart. Your visit with Diana’s family is an incredibly special and God-ordained event! We sponsor kids in Jamaica (Noel) and Venezuela (Nora) and next Spring Break will be taking our family on a missions trip to Jamaica to meet Noel! We are incredibly excited and reading about your experiences makes the anticipation grow more and more. What a gift that you are there to bless ‘your’ child in person!

    • Oh, Andrea, that is just so amazing, that you are willing and able to take your family.
      God’s blessings as you plan and pray. It’s more joy than one heart can hold.
      xoxo

  • $38 is such a small amount of money each month for most of our families, but like you said, $38 goes so far for these Compassion kids. I pray that many people begin their sponsorship journey this week!

  • patty says:

    i am posting this week at PFG about fathers. i hope you don’t mind if i just swipe a pic (if i can ) and lead them here? this one… this one has me crying in talbott. what a beautiful gift you give us in your tender rendering of what you are living, edie. i’m not there, and it fills me up, too. praying for you, your comrades, and your safety.

  • Melanie says:

    Your stories are so full of compassion and love…you are amazing.

  • Becky says:

    I’m sitting in my car in a parking lot with the Ugly Cry. Your words are so beautiful and have moved me so much for the push to sponsor a child.

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  • I LOVE Compassion! My family has contributed to Alexis since he was 9 (and I was 16 and now I’m 22). Such a blessing! THANKS FOR SHARING!

  • You Compassion bloggers are really getting under my skin! I’m unemployed right now, and sponsoring a child seems ridiculous when we’re barely making budget. BUT ISTILL WANT TO! (Thank you for the story and pictures that stir my heart so deeply.) So if you want to pray that God will help us figure out the money piece, that would be great.

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