On December 15, 2000, a baby girl was born in Mexico. It was a cold night, especially in a house with gaping holes instead of windows or doors. Pneumonia set in and it was not long before this little one was admitted into the hospital in Guadalajara. With two other very young children at home, Maria's mother could not stay at the hospital with her. So, when Maria was released, her mother no longer had milk to nurse her. For several weeks Maria was fed watered-down tea. The first time I met her, I was a brand new missionary in the area and, she was tiny with thick dark hair and deep brown eyes. Three months later she was just as tiny and the spark had disappeared from those eyes. She was very sick and vomiting blood. Her mother allowed us to take her to a doctor who said she was severely malnourished. How could this be? We had been giving her formula for a couple of months.
Her mother agreed for me to take Maria to my home, with my family, to see if we could get her to thrive. The first bottle of formula went down very rapidly and came back up just as quickly. Little by little we were able to feed Maria and thrive she did! It was not long before she was growing and responding as a normal baby would. We had fallen in love!
Maria remained with us for three months before we had to make a trip to the states. She went back home with her family and settled into a new life. Over the next two years Maria came and went in our home. She was accepted as a daughter and sister. Her first words were in English.
Her time with her family was not without incident. At 18 months old she was severely burned on her face and arm. After a time in the hospital, she again came to stay with us until she recovered. Just after she turned two years old our family moved back to Ohio. Leaving Maria in Mexico was, by far, one of the hardest things we have ever done. We returned to Mexico to visit her on a regular basis. She continued to call us Mami and Papi. Over the years she has grown into a beautiful young lady. She is thirteen now and in the sixth grade. She is the only child in her family to continue in school this long and get to grades this high. She wants to be a teacher. She wants to learn English. She has huge potential, as she is very intelligent.
Currently, Maria lives in extreme poverty. The chances of her finishing middle school are slim. The chances of her making it through high school without becoming pregnant: very slim. The chances of her going to college to become a teacher: non-existent.
Maria's Opportunity of a Lifetime
A few weeks ago we learned of an opportunity to gain a student visa for Maria to come to the United States to continue her education. Our daughter, Amanda, and her family have invited Maria to live with them in North Carolina and be part of their family. Maria's parents are in agreement with her coming and Maria is excited about this amazing opportunity. We believe that getting her into a new environment will give her the opportunity to break the cycle of poverty that has been her family's history and encourage hope for a bright future, where her dreams are achievable.
The only schools with the proper accreditation to offer the student visa for her grade level are private schools. We have found a great school, and they have accepted her as a student! They are very excited about having Maria at their school and we believe this will be a great fit for her.
How You Can Help
Our goal is to raise $10,000 to cover the majority of the cost of bringing her to North Carolina and paying for school. Only private schools are qualified to receive students with this visa. In order to finish the visa paper work, we have to be able to pay the school's tuition and fees upfront. The school's tuition, fees, and uniforms for the year alone is over $8,500. Apart from the school expenses, there are other costs as well; legal paperwork fees, Maria's passport, airline tickets, school supplies, and more.
The cost of Maria's education is a lot more than we can support on our own. We need help to make this happen for Maria, and we are asking for your help in this endeavor. We thank you for your support in changing this beautiful girl's life!
Missionary to Mexico
If you are interested in learning more and partnering with us to help Maria get an education, please connect with us.
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