When I saw Brigido, he was happily coloring alongside his peers at the Cruz Blanca Learning Center. Bright-eyed and sweet-natured, his smile just lit up the room, and he seemed at ease and pleased to be in class. Yet, when I learned this little boy’s story, I could not believe what he and his family had been through over the last year.
Brigido is the third youngest in a family of nine, and many of his siblings have participated in the Learning Center over the years. Brigido’s father works in agriculture and his mother is a weaver, and because of the nature of their work, income is inconsistent. All of Brigido’s siblings have been small for their age due to improper nutrition. However, Brigido started receiving care from the Learning Center as a toddler, and because of this early intervention, he is at a healthy height and weight for his age. Brigido’s older sister, Lourdes, is faithful in her attendance to the Learning Center, and she also attends the local public school. Though Brigido is still too young to attend public school, he has followed his sister’s example, attending the Cruz Blanca Learning Center on a regular basis.
For Brigido and his family, 2015 was a year of incredible hardship. In May, his five-month-old sibling passed away. Around the same time, Brigido’s oldest sister became pregnant out of wedlock and her relationship with the baby’s father was an unhappy one. Despite the circumstances, the hope of new life dulled the pain of their most recent loss, and everyone was excited for the baby’s arrival in mid-December. When the time came, the baby was large, and Brigido’s sister struggled greatly during her labor. She finally delivered, but sadly, the baby passed away right after birth. Days before Christmas, the family buried the child and went into a time of deep mourning. Within six months, the mother of the family lost a baby and a grandbaby. Brigido, his siblings and his parents were heartbroken. His father turned to drinking. The grief was just too much to bear.
In early January, a few members of the Cruz Blanca Learning Center staff visited Brigido’s family to see how they were doing. During the visit, Bridigo’s mother broke down in sorrow, and the Learning Center staff was able to pray over her and the whole family. Brigido and his siblings are trying to process the whole situation. His brother Frank told the Learning Center staff that he just can’t understand why his first nephew had to die. While God didn’t provide an answer, what He did send was His presence and His comfort in the form of His followers who staff the Cruz Blanca Learning Center. Though the pain of such loss will never completely go away, Brigido’s family is being cared for and prayed over by a group of men and women who personally know the God of all comfort and are dedicated to sharing His love and compassion with those who need it most.
In this broken world, there are so many stories of heartache, sorrow and despair. Generational poverty, abuse, discrimination, lack of access to proper medical care, teenage pregnancy and a host of other challenges are the everyday realities of so many children who attend VisionTrust programs across the globe. However, in the midst of all of this, children like Brigido have a place they can go where they can experience the love and grace of Jesus Christ. And for that, we praise God.
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. II Corinthians 1:3