We would like to introduce you to a young man name Edwin, who lives in the Dominican Republic. The Dominican Republic is bordered by Haiti, the Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea. The official language of the Dominican Republic is Spanish.
Edwin is 20 years old. By the age of 20, most young men would be on their own. However, Edwin’s story is a little different. Up until about the age of 14 Edwin and his siblings lived with their grandmother. Edwin’s father was not around for the family and his mother could not care for them. His mother was addicted to drugs and his grandmother took him and his siblings into her home. When Edwin was 14, his mother came and took the children from their grandmother. However, she did not have a safe place for them to live. She took them to live on the streets with her. God provided protection for Edwin and his siblings. They were picked up by Conani, which is similar to Child Protective Services here in the U.S., and placed in the care of some nuns for a short time before they moved on to a Vision Trust orphanage.
Edwin and his brother Alex still live at the orphanage. Both Edwin and Alex have a disease called Duchenne. This disease only affects boys, so their sisters are fine. Duchenne is a disease in the muscular dystrophy family, which affects their mobility to the point where eventually they will be unable to breath. When Edwin and Alex both came to the orphanage they could walk and run. Now both boys are in wheelchairs.
As difficult as life is for Edwin, there is still much joy. God provided a safe place for Edwin to live. When he first arrived at the orphanage he was malnourished, which means that he had not been getting enough food. As Edwin’s condition has gotten worse because of his disease, the Vision Trust workers have cared for him. Others have provided wheel chairs for him. The workers there tell us that Edwin is a very nice young man. He often will feel sad because he cannot play with everyone else, but he also feels very loved by the children at the orphanage who care for him. They will play with him, bring him food, wheel him around and give him lots of hugs!
Although Edwin has had a tough childhood, he still is able to find joy. God provided food and a loving, safe environment for Edwin to live. Are there things in your life that are hard for you? Can you think of ways that God has provided for you?
Do you know anyone at your school or church who is in a wheelchair or has some special needs? They want to feel loved like other children. They want to laugh and play. Sometimes they can’t play in the same way you do. Can you think of some ways that you could include those around you with special needs?
Fun Facts about the Dominican Republic:
The Dominican Republic is home to a semi-precious stone called Larimar that cannot be found anywhere else in the world. It is a rare blue stone found in the mountainous region of the Dominican Republic.
From 1916-1924 the US Marines occupied the Dominican Republic. Baseball is widely believed to have been introduced to the American during their time in the Dominican Republic. We have the Dominican Republic to thank for this great American past time!
Pray for God’s comfort to be on Edwin and his brother as their disease progresses.
Pray that God would continue to provide a loving, safe place to live for Edwin and his brother.
Ways you can get involved:
When God places someone with special needs in your life, go out of your way to get to know them and make them included. Look for organizations that do work with special needs children and see if you can volunteer.
“Lord, you know the hopes of the helpless. Surely you will hear their cries and comfort them.” Psalm 10:17