Friend to everyone, giggly, good student, hard worker…these are all pretty good descriptions of Teresa. Not to say that she doesn’t have problems (who doesn’t?), however, she is one of those students that rarely needs reprimanding or correcting. Her general happy-go-lucky attitude, despite everything she goes through, is a testimony to the power of God in whom she confides.
Teresa was born in 2000 as the last addition to a family of seven other siblings born to her parents (she has more half-siblings). Of the eight children in this family, six are deaf! Three of her deaf siblings have also come to school here, including Manuel, Verónica (currently a volunteer), and Ana. Her two oldest deaf brothers were never able to go to school, and therefore cannot read or write. These deaf children are more fortunate than some, however. At least they have the ability to communicate among themselves. Children that are the only deaf child in a family are, in general, more isolated and less able to communicate.
As is the case in many of these students’ stories, Teresa’s father was, and still is, somewhat of a drunkard. Earning a small living as a farmer, he spent the majority of his money on liquor without much to spare for vital necessities. Sometimes in drunken rages he beat his wife, until finally after a particularly violent episode where the eldest son tried to intervene, the mother had enough and moved away with the children.
Some time later, after promising that he wouldn’t drink anymore, Teresa’s mom moved back, and peace was restored for a while. Her father’s drinking never stopped permanently, though, so even now her mother and the children need to work hard taking vegetables to market in order to have enough to eat. A lot of Teresa’s time, when school is not in session, is spent gathering vegetables and helping mom. She almost never complains, though and usually does her work willingly and thoroughly. Sometimes she wasn’t even able to come to school because of the work she needed to do. One year, her mom decided to keep her at home instead of going to school, and it was only after many prayers, that Teresa was able to come to school after all.
But there always a bright to side to every story, and such is certainly the case with Teresa. As you’ve already read, she’s gone through many hard times, and would have more right than most to complain and wallow in self-pity. Certainly more than I!
However, she doesn’t complain about her past life and a lot of that is due to her relationship with the Savior. Teresa became a Christian about two years ago. Her life reflects that as well, which is exciting and invigorating! What a great God we serve! Afterwards, Teresa decided of her own volition to wear a head covering. No one told her to. However, once she made that step, several people explained to her exactly what it means and she hasn’t taken it off! God has great plans for this young lady, I’m sure, and it’s an encouragement to see her grow in the Christian life.
As for her life now, she still comes to school pretty much every day. She learns fast in school and likes to compete with her sister Ana in the thrice-annual spelling competition. She loves teasing and playing around. She often does things with Beatriz, one of her best friends and companion-in-crime.
So, as you think about Teresa, don’t feel pity for her. Rather, rejoice in what God has doing and will do in her life! It is not my desire to have you focusing on the admittedly rough life she has had, but instead thank God that you had godly parents that got along, and thank God for all the material (blessings??) that you have. She lives with less, but many times she’s happier and has less to worry about, too! Of course, I’m in the same boat with my laptop, phone, car, and nice house to live in, and money in the bank, but it’s just something that’s good to think about. “For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall much be required…”
Pray that Teresa could continue to show the Light of Jesus to others. Pray that she could continue to grow in her Christian life. Pray that God would touch others in her family that are unbelievers. Only God knows, but maybe someday Teresa will be able to go to church with her whole family! Pray for Teresa…