Peace Amid the Violence

Peace Amid the Violence

By: Brandy Campbell, with Orfa Cerrato in Nicaragua   |   Posted: January 26, 2009

A Mother's Prayers for Her Unruly Son Are Answered
Safety and stability were the things young José £raved the very things he could find at the Compassion student center.

Five-year-old José ·as out of control. His mother, Mariela, scrimped and saved to send José ´o school, but he regularly sneaked out of class to play with his friends in the muddy streets near his home. On the days he actually stayed at school, he usually came home with cuts and bruises from playground fights.

Mariela knew José ¨ad learned much of this violent behavior from his father. "Sometimes my husband would drink and get very angry," says Mariela. "He would hurt us. I would try to stop him, but he was stronger than me." José ®eeded rescue from his growing destructive behavior and his violent home life.

But Mariela felt defenseless. Her husband was a police officer, and as such his connections left Mariela powerless to seek help for her family. Since she didn't make enough money to support herself and her son, she couldn't leave her husband.

So life for Mariela and her children continued to spiral down. The rescue that Mariela prayed for came
the year that Compassion opened the
Linaje Escogido Student Center (NI-206). When Mariela heard about the program, she felt a spark of hope. This would be a safe place for her son. But how would her rebellious son respond?

A Child's Prayers

When he first began attending the center, José ·ould sit in the corner, his arms crossed tightly, refusing to listen to the Bible stories or sing the songs. But then he began to make friends, and slowly he began to trust that his tutors and teachers truly cared for him.

He ran away from school less and started attending church. At church, José ³ays, he learned to pray. And his very first prayers concerned his father. He prayed that he would drink less and stop being so violent.

The answer to Jos駳 prayers was unexpected: His father lost his job and moved to a neighboring town to find work. Although the violence left along with Jos駳 father, so did the family's main income source.

Mariela desperately searched for work until she found a job cleaning houses. But the pay was meager. Even with the help of Jos駳 sponsor, there was rarely enough money for food or clothes. So Jos頰rayed his father would come back.

Six months later, Jos駳 prayers were answered again. His father returned, promising that he would change his life. He told Mariela and the children that he had felt like someone was calling him home. "I told him that those were the prayers Jos頲epeated every day," says Mariela.

A Miraculous Change

In the two years since José ªoined Compassion, life has completely changed for his family. His father has stopped drinking, and although he struggles to find work, he is now a loving father and husband to his family. And José ©s a completely different child.

He makes good grades in school, and recently he received Jesus as his Savior. He can be seen running ahead of his parents every Sunday as they walk to church together.  "If it wasn't for the center, I don't know where my son would be," says a tearful Mariela. "It is so wonderful that the Lord dealt with him."

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