Seven-year-old Brenda rarely speaks. When she does, she uses very few words like “mama” and perhaps a couple other words including her name.
I met Brenda and her mom at a clinic held by a team of Texans at the ASELSI Father’s Heart Clinic a couple weeks ago. As an interpreter for the pediatrician, I helped investigate the back stories of patients and then communicate the correct treatment. Many patients had headaches and pains related not to a physical cause but to the stress of their life situations — financial distress, abandonment, hard labor, and more. It was a reminder that more than medicine is needed here.
Brenda showed up with a hint of worry on her brow. Her pretty face was framed by her jet black, straight hair and she quickly broke into tears as the doctor gently checked her ears.
“There’s nothing wrong with her ear anatomy.” Doctor Roberts said.
At that we started looking for other reasons why Brenda didn’t speak and a tragic story emerged:
Brenda was the third child born to her mother and father and the first to be a girl. Sadly, when her father found out the baby was a girl, he completely rejected her. He claimed that she was illegitimate and in a rage he attempted to kill Brenda’s mother. This angry man obviously had deep issues and a need to love his entire family.
Born into this rejection, Brenda grew up looking, listening, but almost never speaking. I can imagine this little girl doing everything she could to keep out of sight and not arouse the wrath of her father’s rejection.
Brenda’s mother, who’s face bore the wrinkles of sadness and the drooping shoulders of worries too heavy to carry, said Brenda is treated kindly by her older brothers, and she no longer has to face her father’s anger. He was killed during an unexplained incident in the capital of Guatemala.
Whether out of habit, fear, or simply because it just seems safer, Brenda still does not speak.
We don’t know all the reasons, but the rejection she experienced early in life has possibly scared her into silence.
Doctor Roberts prescribed a hearing test and the best medicine we could give to this family — prayer.
As Brenda and her mother went to the prayer room, Chepé, our resident pastor, met them and presented Christ and the peace they can have through Him no matter what worries, storms or stresses they have to face.
While translating for another patient, I saw Brenda and her mother walk by on their way out of the clinic. I noticed a smile on her mom’s face and a lightness to her step.
I excused myself from the exam table and quickly went to ask Chepé what happened. He said Brenda’s mother accepted Christ right there in the clinic!
We found out that Brenda and her family live not too far from the ASELSI clinic and within easy distance for checking up and even doing a home visit to help encourage and disciple this family.
We’re still praying for Brenda’s voice, but I have seen hope light up the face of a brokenhearted mother and I see a new life for this family!
We’ll keep you updated as we know more about Brenda and her voice!
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