Recently, I had the amazing opportunity to travel to South America and visit a few of the orphanages we help to support. My first stop was at Bless the Children Home in Guyana. While I was there, I heard many of the childrens’ stories, but the story of Raul and Natalya was one that truly captured my heart. I hope that it captures yours as well.
Bless the Children Home lies on the outskirts of Georgetown, Guyana just beyond reach of the nosiy capital city. The home is quiet, except for the sound of laughing children playing cricket in the courtyard and climbing cherry trees in the garden. Like brothers and sisters, they all play together. The big kids holding the hands of the little ones, protecting them and guiding them along. They are more than just the children of the home; they are a family.
But for Raul and his sister Natalya, the sacrifices they have made for each other strengthen their family ties beyond that of the others.
Before coming to the safe haven of Bless the Children Home, Raul and Natalya lived with their mother on the streets of Guyana in severe poverty. Out of desperation and fear, their mother finally did the unthinkable and sold Natalya into forced labor to a local rice farmer.
But even at 7 years old, Raul knew what he must do. He had to protect the life of his sister at all costs.
He sacrificially took Natalya’s place and went into forced labor on the rice plantation. However, by the grace of God, Raul was rescued from his forced labor and both he and his sister were finally brought to live at Bless the Children Home in Georgetown.
Because of the nomadic lifestyle the siblings lived with their mother during their early years, the two were not able to attend public school regularly before they came to the home. Upon arrival to the home, their core learning development was severely hindered. And since they were not born in a local hospital, the children did not have proper birth certificates to allow them to recieve all of the proper education and training they needed for their futures.
It has been a long road to recovery for the two siblings. But since they came to Bless the Children Home, Raul and Natalya have thrived under the love and care of Mrs. Sheila and her husband Pastor Surujpaul, who advocated on their behalf that they recieve proper education and training. Raul, now 17, is almost ready to begin trade school and preparing to enter the work force, as 16-year-old Natalya continues her education at the local high school with the rest of her peers.
It is selfless sacrifice like Raul’s that makes a difference in the world. It’s Christ-like sacrifice, to lay down our lives for one another, that we are called to as Christians. And Raul’s story is the perfect illustration of this sacrificial love. It’s inspiring. 7-year-old Raul understood a principle so simple, yet profound, that it takes a lifetime for some to ever understand.
Join Raul today, and make a sacrifice on behalf of our brothers and sisters in Guyana. When you invest in the life of a child through SOW, you are giving more than mere survival; you giving each child the chance to abundant life.
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Story by Bri Bentley