Loved by the Heavenly Father

September 6, 2016 • Bolivia
Children's Heart Project Michell

A mother finds comfort in Christ when her daughter receives life-saving heart surgery

Monica Aguayo is the mother of Michell Castro, who had heart surgery through Children’s Heart Project earlier this year.

I grew up in Bolivia in a family where I was not taught about Christ, the commandments of God, or the love of Jesus. From my childhood to my youth, I felt I was less for being a woman and my brother was worth more as a man. He hit me several times when we were kids, and no one defended me. We didn’t spend time together as a family, but I don’t blame my parents. They also grew up without their parents.

During my adolescence, I didn’t know how to behave. My mom didn’t teach me what was good or bad. I wish she had taught me about preventing problems or how to take care of my heart. I only remember her once saying, “Take care of yourself. Do not walk with men.” But she never explained what she meant.

I met a boy at school, and I felt that I needed a friend. So I fell in love with him and got pregnant. I thought about aborting my baby. I was afraid. But I didn’t actually try to do it. Although it was an unwanted pregnancy, I loved my baby.

I also thought about my mom. She didn’t deny my right to live and I couldn’t deny my baby’s, although that would have been the easiest choice for me. I was afraid to bring her into a world so full of suffering and without a father, but she deserved to live.

I wanted to be a good mother for my daughter, and wanted her to learn good from bad. That’s why I searched for a church. At the one that I found, I was taught that it wasn’t necessary to bring a Bible because only the preacher could interpret Scriptures.

In that church, there was a man from Argentina who said he was the Christ. His word was law. He said that if we did not obey, we would not see the kingdom of heaven. The church taught me I would earn heaven by works and efforts.

From Doubt to Faith

When my daughter was almost 2 years old, I noticed that something was wrong with her. She tired easily while walking; coughed a lot; and had blue hands, lips, and feet. The doctor told me that she had a heart defect.

When I met Samaritan’s Purse, they said their Children’s Heart Project could provide a way for Michell to receive free treatment. But I wasn’t sure. It seemed suspicious that everything was free, and my church didn’t approve the trip. They told me not to give medicine to her and that if I disobeyed, my daughter would die.

Despite my doubts, I accepted the help of Samaritan’s Purse. When I arrive in Texas, I saw that the people were friendly and made me feel loved. The family that hosted us was nice, and I could see how much they loved us and desired to help.

Thanks to my interpreter’s support and knowledge, I accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior. For the first time, I understood that I am saved by grace because none of my acts will ever be enough to have an eternal life. We receive forgiveness, but eternal life has a price: the blood of Christ.

In my early days as a child of God, I learned to trust in God and that my peace doesn’t depend on the circumstances. Our host families experienced bad situations, but they always accepted God’s will with joy.

We had no money to pay a hospital for heart surgery for my daughter, and her biological father ignored this. But I discovered that Michell and I have a Father who is in heaven. I shall not fear because God takes care of me. I know I’m not alone. I thank God for saving me from death. I thank Him for changing my sadness into hope and for changing my doubt into faith. He will never let go of my hand.

“And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love” (1 Corinthians 13:13, NKJV).