I remember my parents telling me stories of how their parents walked to school for hours through the snow with no shoes on, holding baked potatoes in their hands to stay warm, which they then ate for lunch! Yea, right….I used to think. I am now inspired by those stories, like I am inspired by Daniela and Lester, below…..enjoy!
The Story of Daniela Yolibeth & Lester:
Daniel Yolibeth, and her little brother, Lester, walk about one hour from their rural mountain home to our Casa de Luz ministry site located in the small town of Zambrano.
Daniela Yolibeth is ten years old and Lester is seven. They live with their biological mother, a step-father, 2 younger siblings and a one-year old cousin. The family shares a small house made from adobe mud bricks. The step father earns a small monthly income by hand-picking ripe tomatoes for neighboring farmers. The mother, Marbely, cares for the children and makes from scratch the family’s food staple which is corn tortillas made from ground corn kernels that have been boiled and then soaked in water overnight. This humble family doesn’t have much at all for resources. At home, the children play basic games like hide & seek and invent games with tree branches and old barrel rims or old tires.
Daniela Yolibeth and Lester love our Casa de Luz program! They don’t consider it a sacrifice to trek one hour down the rural mountain roads to our program and then to turn around after classes and do it again back up the mountain. This year they are attending our program into the afternoon, so part of their hike back up the mountain is after dark. Their mom accompanies them each way on foot for part of their journey. She considers the benefits of her children being in our program greater than any hardship the long walk presents. She is grateful for the educational helps, the provision of hot meals, the creative learning environment and the positive spiritual environment that her children enjoy.
During class time, Lester runs for the toy car box, anxious to make them “vroom” around the room. He also enjoys the craft time our program offers. He likes working with his hands to make the final craft project come together. His favorite color is red because his favorite soccer team, Olympia, is represented by red, blue and white.
Daniela Yolibeth has a shy but striking smile. She “mothers” after her little brother, making sure his needs are taken care of first. She loves to play with the baby dolls and the toy doll house. She told me that she takes joy in being challenged to memorize scripture verse and to do the Bible lessons that are sent home as home devotionals each week. When Daniela Yolibeth first entered our program she was very shy and didn’t smile very much. She still has a quiet manner about her, but she has definitely begun to flourish, grow and mature; becoming more sure of herself and her abilities.
We consider it a privilege and honor to be able to minister to this humble family. Having the knowledge of how far these two young children walk just to participate in Casa de Luz, humbles us and motivates us to serve them with a higher desire for excellence and joy!