Most of our endeavors aim to serve as many people in a community as possible. On a few occasions, however, the needs of a particular family are so great that we make a special effort to help them. We met one family that touched our hearts when we were doing relief efforts after Hurricane Noel (2007-8). The family had six children, and the oldest four boys were all suffering from various stages of Muscular Dystrophy. The father was drastically under-employed, and the mother had to stay home to take care of the boys, so the family’s income is often as little as a few dollars a day. Their small home was completely destroyed in the hurricane, so, when we met them, they were living in a very crowded house with several other families. Helping Hands Unlimited has developed a relationship with this family. We have already provided them with some of their basic needs, but we need your help to continue to share God’s love with this very special family.
Editor’s Note (7-16-16): The Muscular Dystrophy disease is progressive until death. That is the sad part of this story. Within the past several years, three of these boys lost their battle with the disease. The last remaining one, Richard went to be with the Lord on July 16, 2016. We are grateful for the opportunity to get to know them and to be able to make their lives a little easier by providing them with food and with other needs over the past 5 years. We rejoice in knowing that all of these boys and their parents have accepted Christ as their personal savior. We also know after leaving this earth, they will have new bodies. They can now do all of the things they could not do during the progression of their disease.
Thank you to all of you who have helped with assisting this family. Please continue to pray for their family.
The Rest of the Story
Once in a great while, God brings a very special need to us and drops it in our lap. This is another story from Tropical Storm Noel in late 2007.
About two months after the storm, I had the opportunity to take a medical team to some of the communities that were flooded by Tropical Storm Noel. One of the challenges was finding a safe place for the teams to stay while they were there. After talking with one of our pastor friends, we decided on an old resort along the ocean that was run by a Christian lady from his church. This was the very first trip there. The trip got off to a great start but one of the things I did not expect was to have someone wash my truck early that very first morning. That is nothing too unusual. Normally you pay them 50 peso ($1.50 US) and go on your way. And that is what we did. We went off to the first community we were going to help. When we returned to the resort later in the day, the lady at the front desk had a note for me. It said “I am the guy who washed your truck. I noticed you have a medical team and I have several children who are sick. I was wondering if you could bring a doctor over to check them out.” He then added his address to the note.
My heart was touched!
Over the next few months, I brought more teams to the Barahona area and I made it a point to have my truck washed every day. The only work their father had was to wash vehicles at the old resort and he hoped he would be paid for his work. Many nights there were only one or two cars at the resort, so he could not earn much money to take care of his family. Their mother tried to take on extra jobs but she was pretty much tied up at home taking care of the children. Food for them was an issue and I began paying for all of my washes with bags of rice and beans and a few other surprises. The teams that came with me helped out as well with medicine, clothing and money for food.
It was probably my third or fourth trip to see the family and I was just getting ready to leave when the father told me he wanted to take me out to the backyard to see something. I was aware there was some construction going on but I did not know what was being built. Once outside, I saw a partially built house up to about chest height. The father explained that this was where their house was. During Tropical Storm Noel, a huge tree came down and smashed their house to bits. They were now living with several families who lived in front of their smashed house. I asked more about the new house. It was small. There were two bedrooms and one other small room. It was being built by a poor church in the barrio that decided to reach out to this family. I told the father that I wanted to meet the pastor of that church.
The next morning we went to visit the pastor. He told about how his church had been raising money to build the house and they had come to the point that its members had given until they had nothing left to give and the construction of the house had stopped because there was no money. The church had been praying that God would provide funds to complete the house for the family. I almost broke down and cried. I had some funds with me that were given for the relief effort and I was not sure where they would be used. I knew now. I told the pastor we would provide the money for material if the church would still provide the labor. And I added that one more room needed to be built on the house and their outside bathroom needed to be repaired. I then handed the pastor the money and my next trip, I was able to visit the family in their new house. The church even bought some furniture and provided the boys with a small 12 inch TV to entertain them since they were pretty much housebound.
I have had the opportunity to take several teams there to visit with the boys. Some have been able to provide medicine or physical therapy for them. Others have given me money to purchase food. Recently we visited the house and the father pulled me off to the side to tell me the TV was broken and the boys would appreciate getting another one to help them pass their time. That week I had the group from Clinton, SC. I told them the story and they came up with the money to purchase a new TV.
The disease has run its course. Three of the boys have passed away over the past year and a half. There is one remaining. HHU still holds firm to its pledge to help the last child by providing funding every month for food and needed medicine. We know it is just a matter of time before he loses his battle and joins his brothers in heaven.
One of concerns was where they were at spiritually. I asked the pastor and he told me the mother and the children had all accepted Christ into their hearts. The father had not. I told the pastor we needed to talk to the father that day and we did. We shared why we were doing the things we were doing. It was because of God’s love for his family. We invited him to accept Jesus into his heart. Right there in the middle of his living room, surrounded by his family, he did just that.
That did not end the struggle the family is having. They are still having a tough time making ends meet. There is still a need and hopefully this family and their story have touched your heart. Gifts to purchase food for the family can be sent to HHU and please mention it is for the MD Family in the memo line. Please also remember to pray for this family. They are special!