Abandoned, neglected, malnourished, paralyzed from cerebral palsy and mentally disabled, Susi Palacios had no hope for the future. Her mother passed away and her father began to sell drugs on the streets of Quito, Ecuador. Eventually, he was put into prison. Since there was no other family member or relative who could take care of Susi, she had to live in the jail with her father. Prison is no place for a 7-year-old; and Susi was left vulnerable to physical and emotional abuse.
A social worker felt compassion for Susi and took her to the loving staff at the Camp Hope Orphanage, a Cross International ministry partner. Camp Hope, located in Quito, is an orphanage especially for mentally and physically disabled children. In Ecuador, people with disabilities are often considered second-class citizens and of no value to society. But at Camp Hope, these children are taught that they are complete and whole in the eyes of God. They are provided with healthy meals, education, therapy, medical attention and the love and affection these kids have been longing to experience.
Fifteen years after she arrived at Camp Hope, Susi is thriving! She can eat by herself, has a fantastic sense of humor, loves listening to Bible stories and praying to her Heavenly Father. When you look at Susi, it’s easy to see that her heart is full of hope. She is no longer feels abandoned, but knows that she is an important part of God’s Kingdom.
When I hear a story like Susi’s, I can’t help but smile. Isn’t it amazing that God can take a situation that is completely devoid of hope and breathe new life into it? Susi knows her life has immeasurable value to her Heavenly Father. What a wonderful and amazing gift!