Sylah (pictured with her father and mother) never had to quit school, despite a series of tragedies that befell her family.
The book of Job tells a difficult story, a story of a man who faces unspeakable trials. In a few short weeks, Job lost everything. His livelihood ruined. His health devastated. His children gone.
For Sylah and her family, the story of Job has been manifest in their lives both the joy and the tragedy. Like Job, Sylah's father, Allan, lost his livelihood, health and even one of his children. But still, God provided, and through Sylah's sponsorship with Compassion, their family found hope.
A Struggle to Survive
Allan says his family had always struggled to survive. He drove a three-wheeled motorcycle taxi, but the fares he collected amounted to just a few dollars a day. His oldest son had severe mental and physical delays, likely caused by malnutrition and disease. And as a young child, his daughter Sylah showed signs of similar delays. Her body was shrunken by malnutrition and her bones bulged out sharply underneath her skin. Hunger left her tired and listless.
When Sylah was still little, Allan's wife gave birth to a third child, a daughter named Anmar. Allan and his wife couldn't bear the thought of another child slowly starving to death. So they gave away Anmar, hoping someone else could give her the things they couldn't.
"We never saw her again," says Allan. Allan says he doesn't like to think about what would have happened to Sylah were it not for the Kairos Child Development Center (PH-814).
After Sylah was registered her parents no longer had to worry about providing her the most basic necessities. At the center the young girl received nutritious meals, and her health improved. She enrolled in school. There was hope.
Soon Sylah learned to read and write. Her parents, encouraged by their daughter's progress, celebrated when they found they were pregnant again. Happiness had entered their home.
One spring afternoon, Sylah's family, including her 6-months-pregnant mother, climbed onto her father's motorcycle taxi to go to an afternoon picnic. As they turned onto a busy street, two buses barreled toward them. Allan avoided a collision but crashed into a deep ditch on the side of the road. Although Sylah and her brother were unhurt, her father's foot was shattered. And a few days later her mother miscarried.
"Because of my crushed foot I cannot find work," says Allan, whose foot never properly healed. No longer able to drive his taxi, he could only find sporadic work. In a year, he brought home just U.S.$3.50. His wife began working at the market. On a good week, she would make just U.S.$7.
The Hands of Christ
Through the tragedy, the Kairos Child Development Center continued to minister to Sylah and her family. When her father developed gangrene in his foot, Compassion helped to pay for his medical care through the ministry's Complementary Interventions program.
Workers often visited the home, bringing food for the desperate family. And through it all, Sylah's sponsorship ensured that she never had to drop out of school.
Like Job, Allan and his family found healing through tragedy. Sylah is now enrolled in Compassion's Leadership Development Program and attends a local college to study education. She visits her father often and is encouraged by his continued healing. He now works a few days each week as an electrician's assistant.
"Just like Job, we lost everything," says Allan. "But God is very loving and faithful. God's greatest gift to our family is for Sylah to be in Compassion. She has taught all of us to have faith in God."
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