Gabriel is seven years old. He lives in the Dominican Republic. This is his home. He is one of five adults and 10 children living here. We have prayed for and sponsored Gabriel through Compassion International for just over a year, and it was our privilege to meet him and visit his home this week.
Before our visit, I was unsure how I would react to visiting Gabriel's home. Would I be overwhelmed with pity? Compassion? Heart ache for this family living in poverty?
I was quite unprepared for my reaction that day. As strange as it might seem, the word that entered my mind as I walked down the dirt hewn steps into Gabriel's world was...beauty.
I couldn't explain this feeling at first, but after spending the day visiting with his grandmother, great-grandmother, siblings, aunt, and cousins, having lunch together, and throwing a baseball, I understand now why my first impression of Gabriel's home was beauty.
This is the house his family built with their own hands.
This is the yard where he plays with siblings and cousins.
This is where his clothes are diligently hand washed and hung to dry in a beautiful display of color.
This is where his family planted a plantain tree so that they had a reliable source of food.
This is where his grand mother lives a life of faith, prays for Gabriel, and has promised to pray even for us.
This is where his great grandmother joyfully smiles though sick and unable to walk.
This is where his mother and new baby sibling will return when they get out of the hospital.
This is the painting right over where Gabriel sleeps with his mother and brothers.
This is where I saw Gabriel laughing.
This is the place where Gabriel is happy.
This is where I saw him loved.
And I am so thankful.
And because of the life-giving work of Compassion International, I know Gabriel will not fall through the cracks. Through Compassion, he will have regular medical check-ups, needed medicine and food, educational tutoring, social, emotional, and spiritual teaching.
Gabriel's house was beautiful. Because what makes a house beautiful isn't the walls, roof, or floors, the pictures or furnishings. What makes a house beautiful is the love inside, and there was evidence of plenty of that in Gabriel's house.
Lest this post offer too idyllic a picture of Gabriel's life, please allow me to give a few extra facts that I think will help.
Gabriel's house floods whenever it rains, so that family is forced to evacuate when this happens. For a glimpse of the difficulty flooding looks like for a family, I recommend the movie, The Queen of Katwe.
With 15 people living in the house, it feels too small for them.
When we took Gabriel to lunch, he ate so much food so fast, that his grandmother had to warn him to slow down lest he hurt his stomach.
His grandmother is unable to work currently because she is home taking care of Carnella, Gabriel's sick, but joyful great grandmother. Gabriel's family asked us to pray they find a job and source of income.
Gabriel's grandmother told us that his mother does know know the Lord, but she is starting to attending church occasionally, please pray that she comes to know him.
If you would like to sponsor a child through Compassion, click my unique sponsorship link here. For every 10 children sponsored, Gabriel's family will receive a gift from Compassion!