Just like every morning at dawn, 7-year-old Lizeth slips out of her room quietly, trying not to wake up her sister who sleeps in the same bed. She puts on her brown cloak, collects her work tools and walks alone toward the mountain where she gathers grass to feed her sheep. Despite the cold, Lizeth rolls the grass with her small, experienced hands and cuts it with a knife. She then piles it into small heaps for the sheep to eat. And although Lizeth works to the rhythms of her ordinary routine, today will turn out to be one of the most memorable days of her life.
Heartache on the Hillside
Maria, Lizeth’s mom, later arrives to the mountain with breakfast in hand — a cup of porridge and bread. They sit on the grass and eat together before continuing to feed the hungry sheep. As Lizeth’s tiny fingers wrap around her cup of porridge, she stares into her cup and thinks of her father. “I miss my dad a lot,” says Lizeth. Remembering him causes tears to sting her eyes. One day, he set off for another country looking for work but never returned. Lizeth often climbs this same mountain to see if he is coming back over the hillside. But the truth is, she doesn’t know where he is or if he will ever return.
Despite this family’s tragedy, they haven’t been alone. Their local church has been a comforting presence since January 2020, when Lizeth was registered in the church’s sponsorship program. Pastor Segundo encouraged Lizeth to pray and ask God to fulfill the desires of her heart, maintaining a constant faith and trust in Jesus Christ. One of those desires was for a sponsor of her own.
Hope on the Horizon
After breakfast, Lizeth returns to her work in the cold morning air. Busy with her tasks, she doesn’t see Pastor Segundo as he ascends the hill and smiles at the girl and her mother.
“I bring excellent news!” exclaims the pastor. Lizeth drops a bundle of grass and runs to meet him. Her eyes scan for his hands hidden behind his back, and she spots the edge of a yellow folder.
“What is that, Pastor? What did you bring for me?” Lizeth smiles as she interrogates her pastor friend.
Pastor Segundo bends to his knees until his eyes meet Lizeth’s. “Do you remember that we prayed together and asked Jesus to send you someone special to be your friend and pray for you?” he asks.