Meet Veronica. She is 15 years old and shares a birthday with my mama. I want to tell you I met her in the parking lot across the street from Ocean View Baptist Church, but that’s not really true.
That is, though, when I first saw her face on a card marked “priority” at a Compassion International interactive exhibit in Myrtle Beach.
I didn’t know what to expect as my children and I met homeschooling friends for “The Compassion Experience.” We filed in line to enter the large tent with enclosed passageways into foreign cultures and faraway lands.
About five or six of us at a time were given headphones, along with a cell phone. At first we toured the life of Jey. We entered the different “rooms” of his life in Kenya, including those in his grandmother’s home shared by 15 people. The recreation of the jail cell where Jey went when he was a mere 9 years old made a big impression on my son, Graham, just a year younger.
When we stepped back into the light of day after hearing the beautiful transformation of Jey’s life through his Compassion sponsorship, we decided we wanted to meet Yannely.
As we waited in the long line to get to know the girl from the Dominican Republic, my friend Gina and I began texting our husbands asking if they were up for giving $38 a month to give a child a hope and a future. We each got the go ahead. We married good men.
Getting immersed in Yannely’s story led to familiar tears for me. She was unwanted by her father. He abandoned the family because of her birth, even going so far as refusing to answer the door when Yannely would knock. While my own father’s leaving wasn’t nearly this horrendous, the welling up of my eyes and the piercing of my heart caused me to share a bit of her pain. Little girls carry big scars when their fathers leave them behind.
Yannely’s life was changed just like Jey’s. Her unlikely and fought-for dream of becoming a doctor came true. Much of her encouragement came through her sponsor, Dorothy.
When the time came to finally face the wall of faces available for sponsorship, I knew mine had to be a girl...a fatherless girl. I studied the cards. The younger girls seem so sweet...but there were so many teenage girls no one had spoken up for yet.
I’m not sure if Jesus led me directly to Veronica. I can’t say it was that mystic or providentially exact. But when I read that her birthday was April 12, the same as my mama’s, my once again water-welled eyes looked more into her story.
Veronica’s face is no longer available to peruse for the picking. She is taken. She is chosen. I hope I can be her “Dorothy.” I hope to encourage her.
Page will have to introduce you to Fabiola, a 15-year-old Bolivian girl, at another time. You see, my teenage daughter choose to take another girl off the market, using her own hard-earned money.
We’ve sent Veronica a family photo. I hope she likes her American “family.” I hope we can in some small way provide her with a better life through our Compassion sponsorship. Along with our photo, I was asked to send a favorite Bible verse. I chose Ephesians 1:18:
I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling.
I will tell Veronica she is beautiful. I will tell her she is worthy. I will tell her she is loved. I will tell her it’s not her fault.
I will tell her Jesus loves her, chooses her, redeems her, and can absolutely mend broken promises, broken lives, and broken hearts.
Meet Veronica, my daughter-in-Christ.