In a tiny clay hut in an impoverished village in South India, a couple is faced with a daily struggle to make ends meet and raise their two young daughters. As a maid, the mother makes only a fraction of what is owed for her hard work. The father works odd jobs and due to an intense battle with alcoholism, the fruit of his labour rarely makes it home. Many days, there was nothing to eat. There was no one they could turn to for help or support.
One day, the youngest daughter developed a dangerously high fever. There was no doctor or medical aid in her village or the surrounding area to help. There was no one to assess or treat the little girl’s condition in time. She quickly succumbed to the illness.
Overcome with grief over the loss of her only sibling to a curable illness, the now only daughter was determined to become a nurse to help her village with medical needs. Beyond the financial need for her family’s basic necessities and her education, there was a deep yearning in this young girl’s heart for someone to talk with; someone she could call friend.
This is Latha’s story. Latha is Quinton’s sister through sponsorship.
As his family experienced tough times during the civil war in Sri Lanka and their early years in Canada, Quinton made a commitment to help other families who faced hardships as much as possible. As the youngest of four boys, Quinton longed to have a little sister since his childhood, and he was surprised when God granted his heart’s desire. When he received his student loan for university in 1995, Quinton became a sponsor through Christian Childcare International that connected him with Latha. She was 9 years old at the time.
They quickly became the best of friends and enjoyed the flurry of letters and photos that they received from one another. As they supported each other through love and prayer, they never felt the physical distance of half the globe that separated them. They were there for each other through the best and worst of times, including the tragic loss of Latha’s sister, Saranya, who was 9 years old at the time of her death in 2000.
While on a trip to India with his best friend in 2002, Quinton met Latha and her family. He cherishes that moment, which felt more like a reunion than a first meeting. During our honeymoon trip in 2005, I also had the privilege of meeting Latha. She is a lovely girl with a beautiful heart overflowing with hope and determination to succeed and support her family and community.
We took the opportunity to take her family and the local organization representatives along with us on a trip to Kodaikanal, India. It was their first time at the popular tourist destination filled with serene hills that is only a few hours away from their home. What an unforgettable time it was filled with fun and roars of laughter.
In 2007, just over 12 years from the day that Quinton connected with Latha, we received a letter with an incredible update. Latha had graduated from a nursing program in Madurai and she was engaged to be married!
Today, Latha is married and is a practicing nurse! She has also graduated from the sponsorship program as she is now self-sufficient and able to care for her family. God has blessed her and her family. All glory to God!
You can imagine how bittersweet these victories have been for Latha and her family. God has fulfilled their dreams that were seemingly impossible, and Latha has been able to honour the memory of her dear sister, Saranya, through her career.
Sometimes you never know how reaching out to others will change their lives and your own.
I recently read a beautiful and deeply-moving memoir by Naomi Zacharias called The Scent of Water: Grace for every kind of broken. The book awakens readers to global issues that we are so often desensitized to in a 24-hour news world filled with “this-just-in” details for every microsecond. Zacharias is incredibly candid about her life and ministry experiences through Wellspring International in meeting with at-risk women and children who face injustice in the darkest and most unfathomable circumstances.
She directs our gaze beyond their harsh realities in tragically flawed places to the fact that each one carries broken dreams. The stories exude the beauty of souls that are so undeserving of the horrific acts of humanity that treat women and children as commodities. As difficult as it can be to discern the love of God through the filter of pain and suffering, Zacharias presents how the compassion and unconditional love of Jesus has brought hope.
We are all on a journey through life and although our challenges may take various forms, it is there for us to overcome. Why not walk together? Sometimes a listening ear and a shoulder to lean on can truly speak volumes as someone attempts to piece together the shattered pieces of their reality.
People long to know that someone cares about them. They want to know that they matter. They want to know that there is more to them than their circumstances, and that their self-worth is far more precious than the assessment of those who seek to do them harm directly and indirectly. Financial contributions are only one aspect of meeting a need. They are in need of love, hope and compassion just like you and I.
We are presenting Latha’s story in hopes of inspiring you to reach out to someone in need in your neighbourhood, community, nation and world. There is tremendous injustice all around us, but love can conquer all.
Want to help but don’t know how?
Contact a local church or charitable organization, or connect with Wellspring International for more information on how you can help.
The vision of Wellspring International empower donors to make informed decisions about their giving; to financially equip existing organizations around the world who are aiding women and children at risk, as well as to provide individual scholarships to support education, healthcare, and basic living needs.
The need is immense, and there are so many ways that you can help. Will you show someone that you care?