Edgar Cedillo, 14, has overcome injury and despair by God's grace and through devoted prayer.
Edgar Sá®£hez Cedillo, it seems, was forced into self-reliance.
Abandoned by his father, Edgar, the oldest male of seven siblings, became the family's breadwinner before he entered high school. Gone were the carefree days the youth spent at the Embajadores del Rey (King's Ambassadors) Project, where he had attended since age 5. Instead, at age 12, Edgar began working on a farm weeding corn to help his mother care for his large family.
It's a familiar story for many Mexican young people. More than three million Mexican youth work in domestic service, factories or on plantations for mere pennies a day. Although they work, these child laborers often remain poor. Their work at low-paying, low-skilled jobs prevents them from receiving the education necessary for higher-skilled, higher-paying occupations. In addition, the work can be dangerous. For Edgar it was life-threatening.
Four weeks into his new job, Edgar was operating a cilar, a corn-cutting machine. The cilar jammed, catching his left foot. Though he was rushed to the hospital, infection had set in and doctors had to amputate the young boy's leg just below the knee.
"Why did this happen to me?" Edgar remembers asking the day of the accident. "What will I do now?"
Recovery and Comfort
Having to care for your family and losing a leg before your teenage years is enough to make some grown men quit. But Edgar didn't give up, thanks to the support he received from the project and his church. King's Ambassadors project gave Edgar a hospital bed, crutches, a wheelchair, blankets, clothes and even pajamas. His pastor brought a Bible to the hospital and they studied together.
"I felt God spoke to me, telling me I had to fight for the things I wanted," Edgar says. "That life did not depend on a leg and that with it or without it I would succeed and overcome."
Edgar says he was not afraid. And within months he was on crutches with a new prosthetic leg, back working at another mill.
And that's where he would have stayed, like so many other Mexican child laborers who remain trapped in low-paying, low-skilled jobs. But his family, school officials and even a friend at the project convinced Edgar to return to school.
Edgar remembers praying, "Lord, please give me the courage to continue forward. I know I am not alone because You are going to help me."
Today, two years since Edgar left school to support his family, the 14-year-old is back in the project, active in his church and attending school. It's difficult at school. Some kids make fun of him because he's lost a leg. But Edgar's fierce independent spirit will not be dampened. He wants to be a doctor and believes it's possible with God's help.
"I like my life as it is," he says. "Sometimes I feel down because people do not understand what happened to me and they do not respect me. But I know that I can succeed."
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