Our Sweet Marileisy – Miracles Do Happen
We got off the bus and went through the routine of the day. We saw the centre, spent some time in worship with the kids, and had lunch together. We were able to hear some of the stories of the children and see the joy that lit up their faces as they talked about their sponsors.
Then came the moment. Some children from around the community came to join the centre in the afternoon. These were children that weren’t quite old enough to be in the program. But the centre being a church, were allowed to participate in some of the activities.
Michael and I brought gifts down from some family that wanted to bless children that weren’t in the program. We had the honour of handing them out. I was in my glory having little children come up for hugs and snuggle on my lap.
But my heart instantly filled with immense compassion and sadness when I finally saw the girl. Her name was Marileisy and she looked terrified. She approached to receive her gift then quickly went to stand near the doorway of the church. Tears were running down her face, even though the workers at the Centre and us were showing kindness to her. I looked and her tiny arms were filled with scabies. She was such a beautiful child.
I managed, with God’s strength, to leave the centre that day and head back to the hotel. All of me wanted to take that little girl with us. I think I would have instantly adopted her had she no parents. But, thankfully, she did have both a mother and father at home.
I told Michael what I was feeling that night. We prayed about it and told our friend that we would like to be her sponsors. We had to stay connected to this girl and help in any way we could.
Unfortunately, our other sponsor boy was sick the day we were supposed to meet with him. But something beautiful came out of it. Because we signed up to sponsor Marileisy, she was able to join us instead. We stopped by a store and bought her a bathing suit, along with some food and gifts to give her. She arrived at Compassion’s headquarters with one of the workers from the centre. We took a bus to the water park where we would spend the morning together.
We took some time on the bus to ask the worker a bit more about Marileisy. She said that she didn’t know a whole lot about her. She was always quiet. That lady had never heard her speak before. She had never even seen her smile.
I couldn’t take it. This poor child. I pleaded with the Lord on her behalf. We prayed all morning for a miracle, that the Lord would help us to bring a smile to her face that day.
Marileisy was not a fan of the water at first. She seemed afraid of it. So, we spent some time on the swings instead. Eventually she decided she would go in when she saw all the other kids having fun. Though she didn’t say a word. She would only point or wander off towards what she wanted.
Michael and I got changed and headed into the pool with her. We brought a little sponge football along to throw around. As Michael was playing with her, I watched her little face change. It went from looking terrified to relaxed. Then, the longer the morning went on, it happened. She smiled!
My heart leapt for joy. I did all I could to resist squealing, in concern that I would scare her. We were thrilled! Many of the people around us witnessed it as well.
One of the workers came to me and challenged me. She said, “Okay, God’s answered that, now what are you going to pray for?” I hadn’t even thought about it. I was so caught up and satisfied with a smile that I wondered if I should ask God for more. But I knew God could do more and wanted to for this sweet girl. So, I prayed that she would talk.
Having food allergies in a foreign country doesn’t always mix well. What I thought had been oatmeal was actually Cream of Wheat. After a few days of eating it, my body had enough and I was completely ill. I was holding Marileisy waiting to get our lunches. I instantly felt weak, passed her off to Michael and headed for the public washrooms.
I was down for the count. Completely weak and sick, Michael came in and sat on the cement floor in the women’s washroom and held me since I was too weak to move. I questioned God why it had to happen then. Why not any other time of the week? Why did it have to happen at such a special moment?
While we were camped out in the washroom, Marileisy was spending time with the two workers we had for the day. We had purchased some colouring books for her to enjoy, so they spent some time doing that.
I finally made it out of the washroom just in time for us to spend a few minutes saying goodbye. Marileisy’s smile left her when she saw that I was sick. She was nervous to come to me, so we sat and played with her little tea set for a bit. Then the workers, beaming with a smile, showed me a video.
A miracle had happened while we were in the washroom. The workers were asking Marileisy questions in Spanish while colouring. They sat there videotaping her, when all of a sudden, she spoke!! She started answering their questions in a quiet voice.
To say I was excited was an understatement! Michael and I sat there with tears of joy and praise to God for the miracles He did that day. We watched a scared, saddened little girl come to life. She was full of smiles. She spoke! Something started in her heart that day, and we were privileged to be a witness of it.
Sometimes things in our lives don’t make sense. I didn’t understand at the time why I had to be so sick that day. But, after seeing the video of her speaking, I realized that the workers needed time alone with her. She needed to feel comfortable and communicate in her own language.
Sometimes, we need to step aside for God to do His greatest work. He gave us the immense privilege to be there when she smiled. He needed us to pray and step aside for the miracle to come for her to speak.
Now Marileisy is thriving. We love getting letters from her, hearing how many friends she has, how life is going, what she’s learning, and seeing all her lovely drawings. She still loves art to this day. I continue to pray that the Lord will protect her and do might things in this precious girl’s life. We’re honoured to have the privilege of being a small part of it.
Though she has her own family and our communication is limited, Marileisy will always be my sweet girl. I’ll always cherish the miracles the Lord allowed me to witness on that special trip. A trip where my vulnerability and sensitivity to Marileisy’s picture ushered a life-changing experience.