Step-by-Step

A few days ago I opened my email and thought to myself, “Today is a good day. A good, good day.”

Why? Because when I opened my email and I saw the picture to the right and I had a hard time not crying tears of joy. We had been working for this moment for the past 6 years. SIX YEARS!! And now I can officially announce that Guiselle has graduated from primary school!!!!

We have invested countless hours, phone calls, visits, excursions, and lots and lots of prayers into this little girl. We have cried tears of sorrow, tears of joy, and tears of frustration – sometimes on our own and sometimes as she and her sister cried on our shoulders.

This little girl, her sister, and her family have become our family as we have fought together for their future. And it has left a mark on us all.

So when I look at this picture I can’t help but think of everything it represents.

And when I do that, it makes me smile.

Who are they?

If you read our blog, you know who Guiselle and Lupita are. If you don’t, let’s do a quick catch up!

In 2010 I met two little girls, 7 and 5, that lived in a shack made out of broken pieces of wood and plastic. They were locked in their house – sometimes for days at a time – where water would drip on them, they slept on a wet mattress with mold growing on it, and never had enough food.They were both at least 10 pounds underweight and neither attended school.

When we met I see the hurt, the fear, the shame, and the hunger in their eyes. Hope wasn’t something that existed for these two little ones (the picture to the right was from the day I met them).

But that was going to change.

Hope Enters

We quickly included them into our family support program with the understanding that the girls had to go to school and could never be locked in their house again. It wasn’t an option. The mother agreed, we started providing food, and the girls were quickly enrolled in school.

As our organization got more and more involved in their lives, we saw huge changes that started simple – getting to a healthy weight, starting to attend school – and grew into more complex, life-changing beliefs – they starting believing someone loved them, that they weren’t alone, and that there was someone they could trust.

As the years passed by we watched as the Lord brought blessing upon blessing on their family, even in the most difficult of moments. We watched as Guiselle went from being multiple years behind her fellow students to being the number one student in her entire grade! We watched as both little girls grew in confidence and understanding of who they are.

So why does today matter? Take a look at the pics below and then continue reading to learn the rest!

Why This Picture Means So Much

The reason this picture means so much to me is because so few children reach this point in Nicaragua. Here in the USA, it is shocking when a child doesn’t graduate from primary school. But Nicaragua is different.

On average Nicaraguan children complete less than 5 years of education and that number decreases to 3 or fewer for children living in extreme poverty (like these two girls were). Not graduating is the norm in Nicaragua, and making it to graduation – especially if very poor – is what causes shock because to graduate from primary school you have to complete at last 6 years of school.

That means Guiselle has not only beat the statistics, but she won’t become one. Her life and her family’s life will also forever be different. Why? Because she didn’t just graduate, she graduated #1 in her class! And she did it with the knowledge that the Lord loves her, died for her, and will forever love her.

Her future is bright and she is just getting started. Secondary school is next, then college, and then she’ll conquer the world!

Thankful

There are multiple things I have learned from Nicaragua. One is it truly does take a village to raise a child. So I want to say thank you. Thank you for loving Guiselle even if you never met her. Thank you for supporting them with your finances, your prayers, your time, and your love.

Thank you for enabling us to share the gospel, restore hope, help them get an education, and break the cycle of poverty.

I will never have enough words to express how grateful we are.

Chris & the With One Hope Team

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