Ecuador (MNN) — Through a devastating turn of events, young Mercedes from Ecuador heard about Christ and turned her life over to His power.
Because Mercedes' father had abandoned her when she was very young, Maria, Mercedes' mother, was the family's only provider. However, when Maria grew sick, Mercedes quit school to go door-to-door looking for jobs as a laundress.
One day on her way home, at only 13 years of age, Mercedes was brutally attacked, raped and left bleeding and drugged in a strange place.
"My waist hurt. I was bleeding," Mercedes said. "I got up, and everything was spinning. I could not walk; I had chills and was shivering."
Three months later, Maria became more and more concerned about Mercedes' health. When she took Mercedes into a medical clinic, they learned she was pregnant, and shock rocked their world.
Their financial situation was dire, and Maria did not know how they would make it with a baby on the way. Meanwhile, Mercedes also struggled emotionally.
With the future looking hopeless, someone told her about Compassion International's Child Survival Program (CSP).
CSP accepted her, and life slowly began to turn around.
"Without the Child Survival Program, I would have wondered what to do with my child," Mercedes told Compassion. "I believe they allowed me to become part of it because I was 13 years old and did not know what to do with the baby: whether to get an abortion or to give him away. The project opened doors for me."
As she began the program, Mercedes received therapy for her emotional trauma, training for how to care for her newborn boy, David, and an even greater hope for her future.
While attending a CSP-sponsored retreat, Mercedes publicly committed her life to Christ.
"The CSP is an instrument," said Sandra Vizueta, a CSP promoter. "God provides people to assist those in need … and uses them to fulfill His purpose."
Compassion went on to say, "Lives are saved and transformed through the work of the Child Survival Program. Not only was baby David's life spared, but Mercedes and her mother Maria have accepted Jesus as their Savior.
CSP has projects worldwide, working to provide care for primary caregivers and their children who could otherwise die or suffer because of preventable causes.
The program begam when Compassion realized that nearly 26,000 children under the age of five die of mostly preventable diseases every day. The ministry provides training on prenatal health, childbirth and newborn care for expecting mothers, as well as one-on-one training for mother's to apply the skills they have learned, literacy classes, Bible studies and medical care.
Consider helping Compassion in this endeavor. To do so, visit compassion.com and select a project for just $20 a month.
Or if you want to learn more about the Child Survival Program, click here.