Marylou Brings Hope to 100 Kids in Bolivia
Oruro, Bolivia – Marylou has worked for the after-school program at Agua Viva de la Roca Church for 3 years. She has served more than 120 children over that time by providing meals, tutoring, basic hygiene education, psychological support and spiritual discipleship. She is a single-mother of 3 daughters, Tati, Ruby, and America; however over the years, she has become a mother to all the children of the program, loving and caring for each of them as her own.
Marylou’s parents died when she was very young. Growing up as an orphan she encountered many challenges, especially as she did not yet know the Lord. She was married as a teenager, but her husband abandoned her and her family when she became pregnant with her fourth child.
At the time, Marylou had very little education or training and could not find work to support her family. Soon she was living on the streets, doing whatever necessary to provide just one meal for her children. When her only son became ill and passed away, Marylou fell into a deep depression, unable to care for her daughters, let alone herself. She felt lost, alone and hopeless.
It was during this time that God worked a miracle in Marylou’s life and she and her daughters were invited to their local church. The pastor found them a place to stay, and his wife, a psychologist, began counseling Marylou. She taught her about God’s grace and forgiveness and helped her repair her relationship with her daughters. She also found Marylou a job as a caretaker of the church property.
Through this church, Marylou and her daughters gave their lives to Christ. They became active members in their community and found the support system they never had before. Marylou began volunteering in the after-school program and received training in teaching and education. Soon she became the director of the program, and all three of her daughters enrolled as well. The program helped them get back on track and return to school.
Today, Marylou glows with pride and joy when she talks about her daughters. Through job training and support from her church, she has learned to value herself and her family. As a result her relationship with her daughters has been completely transformed. She recently shared through tear-filled eyes, “I had a very difficult life and I wasn’t always a good mother to my children. But God has shown me that he can use all our hardships to serve him. He gives me the strength everyday to help the vulnerable and forgotten children in our city, so they don’t have to go through what my family went through. In my right hand I have God’s word, and in my left hand I have food and education, and this is what I can offer to the children of Bolivia.”