Once, there was a 7-year-old girl who had a troubled household complicated with drug abuse, violence and subsequent poverty. Having little food on the table, living in fear and with a very dismal hope for the future, she sat down on her bed and cried.
That little girl was me.
Visiting my Compassion-sponsored child, Edmon who happens to be from the place where I was born is like a travel back in time, leaping to the future and seeing the roads marked with divine hands.
I met Edmon and his mum in the town centre and I decided to take them to my favourite eating place as a child. Whilst enjoying our sweet spaghetti, chicken joy and ice cream sundae, Edmon and I talked about his family life, school and his hopes for the future.
Just as I was 20 years ago, Edmon had daily tasks like fetching water from a pump, sweeping the floors, damp dusting and washing the dishes.
The saying goes that there are only 7 wonders of the world but in the eyes of a child, there are 7 million. I would often sit in the grass and wonder about the other side of the world and imagined how it's like to restart the human heart. Whilst your imagination could take you to the edges of the universe, poverty has its own way of shocking you back into your senses. Like a jug of ice cold water being poured all over you. Poverty makes you feel powerless, with no chance of a good future.
So when Edmon told me that he wanted to be a carpenter or an engineer one day, I knew exactly what he meant and having experienced His tender mercies first hand, I am confident to say to him that God hears the littlest whisper of our hearts and that He is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask for.
Spending the afternoon with Edmon has reminded me of God's hand in my life even as a faceless child mired in poverty and how He helped me through other people. Hence, as an adult, it is a privilege to do the same, in His name.
Seeing Compassion at work in my little hometown has brought hope in my heart. Together, we can take kids out of poverty. The work load is big but trusting in His goodness alone, our future is bright in Christ.
Vanessa Austral grew up in the Philippines but now lives in Essex. She sponsors 12-year-old Edmon who lives north-east of Quezon City, the very same area where she grew up.