Minerva and her Baby

Five years ago we met a girl. 
She was new to the orphanage.  Her and her brother had recently been dropped off by a Mexican version of child protective services.  She had freshly bobbed hair, and was perpetually sad.  

Somehow she and her brother were absorbed into our family.

She was tiny and beautiful.   She had no idea how old she was or even when she was born.
Eventually her birth record was found and she was thrilled to discover that she was 13.

After a while she and her brother returned home to their mother and younger siblings.

This little girl has grown up a lot in the past five years.

A couple years ago we celebrated her Quinceanera.  Her 15th birthday.  

Minerva is resilient.  
She lives this life with poise and strength. 

Life doesn't slow down.
In her Triqui culture it isn't uncommon for young women to become wives and mothers very young.  
The demands of adult life begins early, if childhood ever existed in the first place. 
Work in the fields, have babies, scrub clothes, make tortillas....repeat.
None of those things are wrong, just different.  Sometimes I have to remind myself of that.  
They just are. 
but it's not an easy life.

There are other patterns at play in this corner of the world that I cringe when I think about. 
Things like absentee fathers, abused children, mistreated wives, addictions, hopelessness, desperate physical and spiritual poverty...
those things are wrong, and they are way too common here.  
Like writing on the wall that I desperately wish I could wipe clean. 

On this trip we met Minerva's first child.
Beautiful little Luz Maria.

Her and her husband (who is even younger than she is) rent a tiny room.
It has plywood walls, a functional roof, and a dirt floor.
It's new construction and quite adequate (for local standards).  
She keeps it immaculately tidy with every scarce possession perfectly in it's place.  
I know she enjoys the independence of keeping her own house, and caring for her own baby. After all, she has been keeping house and caring for her mothers babies her whole life.

She is such a sweet and nurturing mama. 
She beams with pride as she shows us her daughter. 

"Tio" looking like a proud grandpa. Minerva was abandoned by her own father as a little girl, but God brought another man into her life to give her a glimpse of what it is to be loved like a daughter. 

Little Luz Maria, as your name suggests, you are a bright light to your family, to your community, and to this world.  We pray that you will someday know the Savior and be a beacon of His light in the dark places.

You are precious.
You are loved.
You matter.

"In the dark of the night, I have seen His face and I have known His promises to be true,
and I know the Light is coming.
And I want to be brave enough to hold out the hope of the Gospel To a world that is hurting and alone and afraid.
Not a hope that is the absence of pain or heartache or suffering, not optimism disguised as hope that waits for the best-case scenario or happy ending, but a Hope that is the knowledge and full assurance that our Savior is on His way.
It's not light yet, but I know Him, the One who is the Light.
and so in the dark, I will sing"
Katie Davis

Soli Deo Gloria,

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