Aregash’s world shook when she discovered her daughter—who was still a 10th grade student—was four months pregnant. Aregash’s one and only purpose in life had been to give her two children, whom she’d raised alone, more opportunities than she’d had herself. She felt shattered by this news, and worried that the dreams she’d had for her daughter’s future would now be impossible.
When the shock of the unplanned pregnancy had passed, Aregash focused on getting her daughter proper prenatal care. As the arrival of the baby approached, Aregash started seeking support from various places because her monthly salary wasn’t enough to support the family. Wonderfully, one of her neighbours told her about the Compassion Survival project at their nearby church in eastern Ethiopia.
“I still remember the joy and hope on my daughter’s face when she told me how the staff welcomed her at the centre,” says Aregash.
A month later, the Compassion staff called to let her know she was accepted onto the Survival programme. Sadly, however, they learnt some tragic news …
Devastated by tragedy
Just a few days after she’d returned from the church, Aregash’s daughter had started having excruciating headaches that caused her to faint. The doctors put her on medication for pre-eclampsia and infection. However, rather than showing any sign of improvement, her condition worsened.
Aregash says, “I still can’t understand how a healthy person could quickly become unresponsive in just a few days. I prayed and prayed. I blamed the pregnancy and demanded God to give me my healthy daughter back. After a while, the doctors said they had to now focus on saving the baby.
“I didn’t want anything to do with the baby,” she recalls. “I didn’t want any reminder of the anguish of losing my daughter. I didn’t want to raise the baby without its mother. Besides, I didn’t have the means to raise a baby.”
The tiny newborn stayed under the care of the hospital staff for almost two weeks, waiting to find out if Aregash would take her home or put her up for adoption.
Accepted and loved
When the church staff phoned to speak to her daughter about starting the Child Survival project, Aregash had to tell them of her unexpected death.
Abebaye, the Survival Implementer says, “It was news that shattered our hearts. We approached Aregash to offer her counselling and prayer.” The project staff promised they would stand by Aregash and provide everything the baby needed if she decided to take her home.
The day Aregash returned to the hospital to take her granddaughter home was when her healing began. She named her Letarik, which means “You live to testify.”
Aregash says, “I wish my daughter was alive to experience the care and attention the centre staff give to Letarik. I’m so happy they helped me to believe I could be a good caregiver to her.
“I feared my granddaughter would remind me of what I had lost—but instead, I have seen the goodness of God and how He brings joy out of what seems like unending sorrow.”
Letarik has received medical care, clothing, and food support through the Survival project. She’s treasured at the centre, and her grandmother, Aregash, has found a community that uplifts her whenever the loss of her daughter weighs her down.
“Aregash and Letarik are inseparable. The little girl is joyful, and healthy,” says Survival Implementer Abebaye. “They are one of our blessings. It’s a miracle that the baby survived.” Moreover, Aregash, who never had the opportunity to attend formal school, attends literacy classes at the project. She can now read to her granddaughter and help her with her alphabet and numbers.
“God prepared a home for us,” says Aregash. “We have a family who cares so much for us at the centre. I never worry about how I would provide for Letarik—they take care of everything. All that is expected of me is to shower the little girl with love. She has made my life bright. God changed my sorrow into joy through her and the Compassion centre.”
Pray for Aregash, Letarik and the Compassion staff:
- Give thanks for the comfort God has brought to Aregash in raising her granddaughter. Pray He will bless their relationship so that despite her great loss, Aregash will know deep joy as she raises Letarik.
- Pray that Letarik will flourish through the love of her grandmother, and with the love and support she receives at her Compassion project.
- Give thanks for the staff at the church where Letarik is supported, and for their sensitivity in counselling and supporting Aregash. Ask for God to continue to uphold and encourage them in their work.
- Please pray for Aregash to find a job that is less tiring. She works as a janitor, which is becoming increasingly difficult because of her age.