Mary’s story

  • *written by Rachel Spoelstra, 12 years old
  • *parents – read ahead before reading to your child as some of the circumstances of Mary’s life include being sexually abused by her father
  • *Mary’s name has been changed to protect her identity


Mary is a 15 year old girl from the Dominican Republic. When Mary was born, there were five people living in her house including her mom, dad, and three brothers. When she was two years old, she fell and lost her hearing. Then something terrible happened to Mary when she was seven years old. Her father behaved inappropriately toward her and hurt her. He was caught and was sentenced to 30 years in prison for his crime against his deaf daughter.

Now, Mary lives with her mom and brothers. Her mother sells food on the street to help the family have enough money to survive. Whily studying at the public school, the leaders told Mary’s mom she would have to find a special school because she was deaf. They weren’t equipped to help her.  Her family could not find a school that would take her until they heard about the VisionTrust school for the deaf in Sabana Perdida.  Now Mary attends this school.

She has seen God in the eyes of the people who have helped her recover from the hardships of deafness and abuse in her life. Mary has received both spiritual and psychological attention at the school. She has much to overcome from her past, but she is making progress and learning to forgive her father.

Mary is also getting help with sign language. At her previous school, she wasn’t taught to sign, but now at the VisionTrust deaf school, she is beginning to learn. Before she found this new school, she didn’t have any hopes and dreams. She was just trying to cope from one day to the next. Now, Mary is interested in volleyball and wants to go to college one day.

After hearing about God, Mary decided she wanted to follow Jesus too. She is sad when she can’t come to school and learn about God as well as get healthy food and the special attention that she needs.

Discussion Questions:

  • Who have you had to forgive recently?
  • Was it easy or hard?
  • How does what Jesus did on the cross forgiving us for all our sin help us to forgive others?


“The Lord is a refuge to the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble.” Psalm 9:9

Fun Fact:

The Dominican Republic is the oldest country of the Americas. It was discovered by Christopher Columbus on his first trip in 1492.

Ways You can Get Involved:

As Christmas approaches, find a way to serve as a family those who are in need or who have suffered abuse. Look into local opportunies to help those in need.

Prayer Requests:

  • Pray for Mary to grow stronger and learn sign language well.
  • Pray for Mary’s mother to get a better job opportunity.
  • Pray for Mary’s father to turn from his sin and turn to God.
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