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Sunday, May 6, 2012

It's time to tell

There is a story I have been wanting to tell for weeks.

This story and the people in it are so very dear to me.

I have attempted to write it many times, but felt the strongest feeling that it wasn't time.

I believe now is the time to share.

I have tried to be open and vunerable when blogging. I want to be real, and share my heart.

This is a hard one.

So here it goes...

When I was in Bolivia, I fell in love with a baby. His name is Nestor. He is a sweet baby boy. He has a hole in his heart. He lives at the Nutrition Center. He needs surgery to live.

His mom visits every day to feed her baby. She holds him and talks with him. She is exhausted, but the love for her baby is evident.

I met them both my fourth or fifth week in Cochabamba. I immediately fell in love. My heart broke when I realized how old he was, and how tiny he was. I heard his mother explain how expensive his surgery is, and how she didn't know how it was going to work out. They were instantly tattooed onto my heart.

The same week, I was really studying God's word, and discovering how we are commanded to love and care for the poor.

I was so convicted one day while praying outside, I went inside and grabbed money from my "fun budget" and came downstairs. I gave the money to my roommate Kathryn. She had been praying about how to provide for this baby at that same moment. We cried and talked as we realized this was just the beginning of an amazing story.

At any given time, we both could've logged onto our blogs and begged for the money needed for his surgery. But we never felt peace. I wanted to do this myself. But the Lord was telling me He had it under control.

So I waited.

What comes next is awful.

I received an email from my mom a few mornings later telling me in one short line that a baby in our family had gone to be with Jesus via sids.

I am thankful there was no one at the house when I read that email. I was devastated. My heart had been broken caring for the broken in Bolivia. And now God had taken away my cousin's baby???

I was furious. I layed on the floor of my living room and wept. I was mad. I wish in that moment I was with my family. I didn't understand. Maybe I misread those awful words. How could this happen? Where was my God? I am serving Him and his people, and He devastates my family back home? It wasn't fair. Not only was this beyond awful, I was in a totally different continent, left to figure and sort it out myself.

I was a mess.

I couldn't even begin to imagine how family was back home.

I pushed harder into loving people in Bolivia. But in my heart, I was angry. I was angry at God.

I remember in those darkest hours, I would say over and over, "Jesus, You have to be everything You said You are. If You're not, nothing makes sense."

Well, He is everything He claimed to be. He conquered sin, death, hell, the grave, and Satan himself.

He comforts in the darkest moments, and His love is deeper and wider than anyone could ever begin to imagine.

I had just been studying about anguish and how He can turn our weeping into dancing. It didn't mean much when I was reading it days before. But right then, I was daring God to do what He claimed He could.

The following morning, I sat down to check my email with my coffee in hand.

I had received an email from someone my family. The email explained a little bit more than the one liner the day before, and it shares something bigger. He had remembered a few blogs back when I had mentioned a baby needed surgery, but needed the money. He then shared about how God had put it on his heart to give the money. So out of obedience in a devastating time, the money was given in remembrance of the baby our family lost.

No longer was Nestor a baby I had held and loved.

He was our baby.

I visited him the day before I left Bolivia. I held him. I prayed over him. I sobbed reflecting on the loss my family was experiencing back home. I told him, "God has big plans for you. You are going to grow up. You are going to be strong. You are going to run. You are going to get married and have your own babies one day. I know God has big plans for you." I cuddled him close. I gave him kisses.

And then it was time to leave.

I hated it. I ran out of the building, and as soon as the warm air hit my face, I lost it. Bent over and weeping, my friends found me.

Nestor wasn't just some baby I loved. He was my baby.

So I came home. The whole trip holding him in my heart. Life went back to normal. I carried him in my mind. Wherever I went, whatever I did, baby Nestor was on my lips before my God.

I shared this story with a few close friends. I was excited to see what was next for him. I urged many people to be in prayer for him. He was on my heart.

I hated being in the United States, because I wanted to hold my baby.

A week or two after being home, I received an email from my dear friend and roommate, Kathryn.

She loves baby Nestor as I do. And she has been the most incredible contact person to help be my eyes, ears, and arms while I am here.

She had met with his mother, social worker, Nutrition Center administer, and doctors. She became very involved in their lives.

The email stated the dad (who works in the jungle because he doesn't like to be around Nestor so sick) was supposed to get a pay advance to pay for their part of the surgery costs. The dad had lost his job. The email continued with more back story of awfulness. Nestor's mom became an orphan at age 14. When she became pregnant with Nestor, everyone told her to just get an abortion. She cares for her cousin because there is abuse in that home. Story after story that would make your stomach churn.

One of the last things in the email was saying if his mom couldn't find a way to pay for the surgery, he would be taken away from his parents forever.

Kathryn heard the backstory. She heard the details. But more importantly, she heard a need for more than money, she heard a desperate need for Jesus to step in and be all He says He is. She later told me, this is so much more about just handing over money.

This is about being present, and being Jesus in their lives. A real tangible Jesus. Not a thing we say or do or a place we visit. We need to care about people fully, and without care to how it will make us look or if it will ask us to do more than we are comfortable with.

We are called to more.

So, we began praying for provision.

Once again I knew I could make a couple calls, or blog and the money would be there. I was in the wealthiest country with connections. I could make it happen. But again, that still voice told me to wait. So I did....

Kathryn then had a very scary week. She had emergency surgery to remove a mass on her ovary. (Same surgery my roommate had days before in Michigan) There was high suspicion it was cancerous. Her dad flew down to Bolivia to be with her. It was an awful few days of uncertainty. We are now praising God it was found benign!

I hadn't heard much from her since she has been healing.

But I did get a snippet of information. Nestor will be having surgery May 14th.

I don't know how or why or any details. That was all I received.

Please be praying for Nestor and his mom as they prepare for surgery.

Pray also for a full and quick recovery for Kathryn.

Please also be praying for my family as we still are struggling with our own tragedy.

I know my God is sovereign.

Thank you for listening to my heart. This has been the hardest blog to compose. But I hope your heart will be touched, and you will be encouraged that my God is in control.

I have more exciting things to share about me and what I'm doing next. But for now, that is all.

Love, M


  1. Thanks for posting Michelle. I am thankful that your heart is out there for Nestor. I ask that you continue to pray for him and his family. i think this journey is more than about a baby with a hole in his heart that needs to be medically closed but a family that needs to have the love of Jesus fill the holes in all their hearts...... and i can see the Spirit moving.

  2. The baby is beautiful and one day it will grow up strong and live for the Lord. Nestor has amazing people in his life. Amazing people to guide him and help him. I will pray for baby Nestor and Kathryn.