Praying for Her Heart to Heal

Story and photos by Babylene Bocayes, Philippines Field Communications Specialist

A young girl in the Philippines lives with a medical condition as well as the conviction to live her best life. With help from her Child Champions, she receives medical assistance and encouragement that help her face every day with hope.

Mae poses with her Child Champion from her Hope Center.

Behind her bright eyes and beautiful smile, healthy-looking Mae, 11, needs to take three different medicines daily to help her survive and heal from a heart condition.

Just a few years ago, she was fragile, undernourished, and underweight. It was a difficult time for Mae and her family who live in an impoverished community in Quezon City, Philippines.

“She had a fever for two weeks until she could not walk anymore, and she was vomiting blood,” Nene, Mae’s mother, says, remembering how painful it was to see her daughter so sick.

Her family took her to the doctor hoping that it was not a serious condition.

“We were crying because she was in so much pain,” says Ate Nene.

A Heart Problem Detected

At first, Mae was treated for an infection, then for a lung problem. But she was not getting better.

So, the doctor advised that Mae undergo an echocardiogram to look at her heart. The echocardiogram showed she has congenital heart disease resulting in a hole in her heart.

Mae and her mother Nene share a hug.

Some such holes close on their own, and larger holes can damage the heart and lungs over time.

This news came as a shock to the whole family.

Upon hearing it, Mae got scared because she thought she would need heart surgery, which her family could not afford.

So, they endured the long lines and waited patiently for an appointment at the Philippine Heart Center, a government hospital specializing in heart ailments. There they found a doctor who helped Mae get the medical attention she needed.

The doctor said she did not need surgery, which was a huge relief to Mae and her family. But her long journey to healing had just begun.

A Sacrifice to Make

Mae has four siblings. Her eldest sister is married and has her own family; three of her siblings are in school and the youngest is a 2-year-old sister.

This is outside of Mae’s home in the Philippines.

Nene, 39, used to sell food around the community to earn an income. But since Mae got sick, she had to stop selling food to take care of Mae and her other kids.

The family also has to pay a high price for their water, since there is no water line in their neighborhood, and they are forced to buy water from a delivery truck.

Mae’s father is a carpenter, and he makes less than the equivalent of $50 a week. With such little income, he sometimes sacrifices doses of his own glaucoma medication so he can provide for the daily needs of his family.

Mae sits in her living room with her mom, right, and her Child Champion.

Every day is a struggle for survival for this family. With every day comes the courage to hope and pray that things will get better.

“When I can’t take it anymore, I just pray. Then God provides unexpectedly,” says Ate Nene.

Provisions for Mae’s Medication

Mae and her younger brother are both registered in a Hope Center. They enjoy being in the program where they experience love and care from Child Champions. They learn important lessons from the Bible, play, dance, sing with their friends and also receive food packs that include milk, rice, oatmeal, and biscuits. They also receive birthday and Christmas gifts and have engaging relationships with their sponsors.

The kids feel blessed to experience all these things that make them happy at their Hope Center.

“I learn about the Bible and how Jesus heals the sick,” Mae says. “And I am happy when I receive a letter from my sponsor.”

Kids at the Hope Center know that they have someone to run to for help, especially when they get sick. And it has been proven in Mae’s situation.

Mae and her mother hold hands.

Mae’s Hope Center is assisting the family with supplemental food and with part of the cost of her medicine. And the family qualified for a government subsidy that covers her monthly checkups and injections.

“It’s good that there is somebody helping my daughter with her medicines,” Ate Nene says, adding that she is grateful for all the help they are receiving.

Says Hope Center Director Ghie, “I would not want to experience losing a child in our Hope Center from sickness. It’s our ministry. There’s a reason why we were entrusted with their lives. It will be too painful for us if ever we lose one. And so, we prayed, ‘Lord, please don’t allow it (for us to lose Mae), provide a miracle.’ So, when she grows up, she will also tell her story.”

And Ghie’s husband Joseph, pastor of God’s Glorious Church, has a story similar to Mae’s.

A Story Close to the Heart

Ministering to Mae is close to Pastor Joseph’s heart because he had congenital heart disease as a child. He was 9 when his family learned about it.

“They told me that I have a hole in my heart and that I needed surgery,” Pastor Joseph recalls.

Mae retrieves some water for her family.

Because his family could not afford the surgery and they were too scared for him to undergo such a risky option, he never had the surgery.

Growing up, Joseph came to know God and learned that nothing is impossible for Him. So, he prayed to God to heal him, and his prayers were answered. When he was 30, he underwent an echocardiogram, and doctors discovered that the hole in his heart had closed. His doctor was in disbelief.

“Whenever I hear someone has a heart problem, it’s my personal testimony that God really heals,” Pastor Joseph told Mae. “That’s my hope for you, Mae. As long as God has a purpose in your life, nothing is hard for the Lord, no matter what illnesses you have. I believe God still has a purpose in your life, Mae.”

Staying Positive and Continuing to Dream

Mae loves to play with her friends. Their favorite place to play is at a parked backhoe truck, a massive machine that sparks a lot of imagination and dreams for kids like her.

Being able to play is a gift she enjoys every day even though she knows has a heart condition.

Mae dreams of becoming a teacher. And while she is young, she continues to persevere in her studies. Her favorite subject in school is learning about character development and moral values. In her free time, Mae helps around the house by washing the dishes and sweeping the floor.

And in those daily routines, she includes praying for her heart to heal and for others who are sick to heal.

Mae is learning to face each day with courage and hope that someday she will not have to worry about her heart condition anymore. She puts her trust in her doctors — and in God.

Many kids at the Hope Centers are waiting to be sponsored. Be bold and sponsor one today!



Help this story grow:

We are accountable to the children we serve AND to our donors.

Our accountability to our donors is one of our highest priorities. Our goal is to use the funds entrusted to us as wise stewards. To do this requires continued monitoring of our fund distribution. OneChild is also a member in good standing with the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (ECFA)