Ricardo is lying over her on the one bed in their tiny home holding a lizard. Dalsys jars awake. He collapses in a fit of giggles.
"Ricardo! I told you to let her sleep! Get that lizard out of the house." 11 year old Mirna scolds from their little gas stove.
Ricardo rolls his eyes and waves the lizard in Dalsys' face while she continues to shriek helpless.
"Ricardo Juan, obey this instant! Mama says you have to obey me when she's not here." Ricardo sulks out the open door making faces at Mirna's turned back.
Dalsys feel simultaneously relieved and disappointed. Relieved that Mirna stood up for her. Disappointed that Mama was already gone. It was Dalsys' sixth birthday.
Mirna pulled a steaming plate over to the bed. "Feliz cumpleanos, Dalsys." She whispered kindly. "Mama, had me make your favorite for breakfast: eggs and potatoes. Senor Alvarez needed help harvesting cocoa; he was paying a $1 for the whole day. Mama said she loved you and she'll wake you when she gets home." Dalsys sighed.
"Eat up Dalsys. You'll need to walk to
Ingelsia Evangelica Apostoles y Profetas soon. It is a school day." Mirna gave Delsys a little squeeze and stood up. "Now where has Ricardo gone off to..." Mirna muttered as she pursued her 9 year old brother and the lizard she could hear him crooning to outside.
Dalsys ate her eggs and potatoes, hardly tasting them and wishing that Mama could be home for her birthday. She dressed hurriedly in her uniform and started walking to school early. She didn't want to walk with Mirna, Ricardo, and his new pet Mr. Curly Tongue. Not on her birthday.
Arriving at Ingelsia Evangelica Apostoles y Profetas, Dalsys was surprised to see a letter, a couple pieces of candy, and a box at her seat.
"Feliz compleanos, Dalsys." Senora Marguerite greeted her. "You have a gift from your sponsor, and a letter too." Dalsys smiled and unwrapped the candy. She had never tasted something so sweet. In the box she found a pretty little doll handmade locally by one of the other students mothers. She had never had a doll before. She squeezed it tight.
Senora Marguerite smiled. "We'll read the letter together at recess. The other students are beginning to arrive."
"Why do you think my sponsor sent this? Why do you think they chose me?"
"Oh, Dalsys. It's because of Jesus. Because He died for them too. And His love motivates them to love more, too. Because they know that you can do great things when you love Jesus, too."
Dalsys looked down at the other piece of candy. Could she really do great things for Jesus? She heard Ricardo out in the school yard showing his friend Andres Mr. Curly Tongue. She smiled at her remaining candy: she really could do great things for Jesus. Even forgiveness.
*Blogging here for Compassion International. The prompt was the write as if you were your sponsored child. Dalsys birthday is coming up: in her honor, won't you consider telling another child in poverty that they can do great things for Jesus?