Jenifer looked at the dark, cloudy sky and lifted a simple, but big, prayer to God. “Please God, keep us safe against El Niño.” More than 6,050 miles away in the UK, hundreds of Compassion sponsors joined the courageous 13-year-old in praying for protection for Peru.
“When I heard that El Niño was coming with heavy rains, I felt scared as I thought my house would flood,” Jenifer explains. “The roof of my house had holes and cracks. During the rainy season we used to cover the roof with plastic, but this time I knew we would need more than plastic. I couldn’t sleep well thinking of that. I prayed to God many times: Please, please … help us!”
Last autumn, the Peruvian government declared a state of emergency in more than half the country’s regions. Ordinarily the rainy season is between August and October and the rains are light. However this year, heavy rains started in January and continued to March.
One of the most severely affected cities in the northern coast of Peru was Trujillo, known as the city of the Eternal Spring, where 12 Compassion projects work. All too aware of the poor quality houses children like Jenifer live in, Compassion project teams began a prayer movement asking God to take control of the weather. We joined them, asking our supporters who receive our regular prayer updates to pray for children in Peru.
We prayed and God answered.
God provided a way for the most vulnerable children and families to be protected. Funds from RESPOND enabled Compassion staff to distribute materials to improve the houses of 5,000 children. Shelters were reinforced with corrugated iron roofs, plywood, wooden beams and retaining walls.
“Before hearing about the fund, we were praying for the children and their families,” says project director Sarai. “We knew that some of their houses wouldn’t resist the heavy rains. But when we received confirmation that our children would receive this fund, our hearts were filled with gratitude because the Lord heard our prayers.”
Jenifer’s family were one of the first to benefit. Jenifer lives in a two-bedroomed house made of cardboard, bags and sticks with her mum, Elsa, and her 2-year-old brother, Rodrigo. The door is made of tables wrapped with cardboard. Jenifer’s father recently left the family, leaving her mum struggling to care for her two children alone.
When Jenifer heard they were going to receive roofing material from her Compassion project, her heart exploded with excitement and gratefulness.
“One day I was at the project and the director made us pray for the El Niño phenomenon. It was weird to say, ‘Thank you, God for this season', because I was scared. After praying, sister Sarai told me that Compassion was going to help me with a new roof for my house, then I said, ‘Thank you God!’ with all my heart."
"Seeing the new roof on my house has given us security. Rains came, but my house didn’t flood and that has given us joy. I have been able to sleep well and with no fear. I am thankful to God and to my sponsor who prays and cares about me. I am thankful to the brothers and sisters of the church because of their prayers. I will be always praying for my sponsor and the rest of the sponsors to keep helping children around the world,” says Jenifer with tears in her eyes.
The team from our partner churches in Jenifer’s community testify that not only were children provided for, the impact of El Nino was less significant than expected. There was damage, but not to the extent the experts predicted. We prayed and the rains stopped.
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