Mary's aunt Mercy now cares for Mary and her younger brother following the death of Mary's mother, father and grandmother in the span of just two years.
Mercy doesn't consider her daily activities extraordinary. In her community, she is just one among hundreds of mothers who rise before dawn to make sticky balls of rice to sell in the market. No one calls her a hero when she gets up in the middle of the night to comfort a sick child. Mercy simply does what any mother would do she takes care of her family. And when Mercy learned that her 4-year-old niece, Mary, and Mary's younger brother had been orphaned, Mercy knew what she had to do.
Mercy could have said no. When she looked at her four malnourished children sleeping on the dirt floor of their one-room hut, she could have said that she couldn't care for even one more child. But Mary had already suffered through the deaths of her mother, her father and her grandmother, all in a span of two years. And while Mercy knew that she might not be able to provide food or clothes for her niece and nephew, she could provide love.
The first year was a difficult one. Mercy's husband is a fisherman and is gone for more than six months at a time. During those lean months, Mercy sells food in the market. She rarely makes enough to feed the six children in her care. Mary and her cousins constantly suffered from malaria and malnutrition, and Mercy could never afford the medical care her children needed.
"I knew that taking in Mary was the right thing to do, but sometimes I wondered how I could care for her," says Mercy. "There was never enough never enough food, money, clothes. I just had to pray that God would provide for us."
A Life-Changing Announcement
One Sunday, as Mercy tried to settle her active children into a pew at church, the pastor announced a new ministry. Mercy caught snatches of the announcement as she shushed her children something about sponsors and children?
After the service she rushed to the pastor, and he explained that the church was opening a Compassion-assisted child development center. He told her that registered children would receive financial support and would have the opportunity to attend school. Mercy smiled as she watched little Mary play with her cousins. Her own children were too old to begin the program. But it would be perfect for Mary. God had answered her prayers.
"I want her to be happy &"
When the BethelPresby Compassion Assisted Project (GH-401) opened in their community, Mary was one of the first children registered. That fall, she began kindergarten, where her favorite class is math. Already, she is teaching her younger brother to count as she scratches numbers in the dirt in front of their home.
Each Saturday Mary hurriedly sweeps the house then impatiently waits for her aunt Mercy to walk her to the child development center. The once-sad child now has dozens of friends, and her aunt no longer fears for Mary's future.
"Mary is doing very good in the program," says Mercy. "She is very smart, and at the project, she has grown very much. I want her to be happy & to be able to take care of herself when she grows up."
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