Pamela: Eyes and a heart that continue to look forward

Originally posted December 2, 2014


There are many children in Honduras that have to grow up way too quickly. And, unfortunately, the weight of that forced growth can take its toll. Their hearts often become hard as a defense to guard themselves from the pain they have witnessed so often growing up. Even more commonly they fall into the same patterns of violence, drug abuse, or sexual promiscuity that reflect their surroundings. It’s hard to separate oneself from that darkness. That’s why I am continually in awe of Pamela.

At fifteen, Pamela is a teenager to be sure. She absolutely has her fair share of adolescent tantrums, dramatic outcries and general disgust for all things “uncool”. Even more, perhaps, because of all the changes she’s experienced in her young life. But for all that she has gone through, she is indeed remarkable.

By birth order, Pamela falls in the middle of her 11 siblings. But in many ways, she is the oldest. Most of her older siblings had left the house already by the time that Pamela was a pre-teen, leaving her and her single mother to care for her four younger siblings still at home. And often times, due to her mother’s medical illnesses, temper and poor decisions, Pamela was left to care for her brothers and sisters on her own during the day.

Those of you who know the history of our relationship with the Ochoa family know that it has been a bit of a roller coaster. The five children who previously lived in our Breaking Chains building now live in the homes of our missionaries and still visit their mother on the weekends. The situation in which Pamela finds herself now (living with three of her younger siblings in the home of Michael and John), is certainly the most loving and stable environment in which she has lived – but even that comes with growing pains and adjustments.

Pamela has seen a lot in her life. She has witnessed various types of abuse, loss and poverty. She has also witnessed what a loving family looks like and has struggled to adjust to the rules and expected behavior that come along with that type of security.

When I look at Pamela, I don’t see someone who is hardened or damaged, though that tough side does peek its way to the surface every once in a while. I see a girl with a light and a potential. I see a girl who has a hilarious love for scary movies, straightening her hair, and One Direction. I see a girl who jokes easily, loves children and is well-liked by her classmates. I see a girl who is fiercely protective of her family and compassionate to those enduring difficult times. I see a girl who has seen hardship and wants to help others.

I pray that God will continue to use Pamela’s experiences to sculpt a mature, loving wisdom rather than a hardened, cynical soul. I ask that you continue to keep Pamela in your prayers as she continues to grow into a smart and beautiful young woman. She has an amazing spirit and can do incredible things in this life if she continues to keep her eyes fixed forward and above.