Part 2: Casa de Pan

IMG_3602revThis is part 2 of the amazing story of Casa de Pan, a home we visited in Costa Rica last week. You can read Part 1 here. And now for the rest of the story–

With Raymond functioning as her interpreter, Melba first started to tell us the story of Anita, one of her young daughters, who appeared to have a form of Cerebral Palsy. I found out later that my sister-in-law had asked about her and that was the reason for the special invitation into the house for this specific story. She told us that this nine year old girl had been born a normal little girl. But when she was just a toddler, she had been found with a fractured skull, two broken collar bones, broken legs, and infected cigarette burns all over her body. From that point on, she was never normal again.  It was later discovered that her stepfather had done these horrible things to this tiny girl. Who knows what else this evil man had done to her in her short life? I think I may have listened to the story with my mouth open. I cannot fathom the depth of wickedness within a person to cause them to do such things to an innocent child. It moves far beyond my comprehension. The little girl is not only physically disabled, but mentally disabled, as well. She will forever be a child now…and all because she happened to be the unfortunate recipient of an evil man’s anger or perversion (or maybe both). When they brought her to the home of Victor and Melba, they opened up their arms and took her in. She is one of {I think} three special needs children in their home at this time.

As we continued to talk, she told us a few more tragic stories of the children now safely ensconced in their loving home. As she talked, we could feel her love and care for each child. She went on to tell us that they had six biological children and that 95 adopted children had already grown up in their home. I asked her if she was in touch with each one. She smiled and said “of course,” and then went on to tell of one son who had lost touch for awhile, but had recently been back in touch. The couple keeps the weekends free of any extra visitors and reserves those days just for family. That is when their grown children stop by, many of them now bringing along their own kids.

Finally someone asked how all of this had come about. We listened intently to the fascinating story–

Her fourth child, a girl, was extremely ill. They had made the decision to take her to the hospital, where they had been given the devastating news that she was dying. They visited often and did all they could to make their sweet baby comfortable. In the next bed, a young boy lay dying from cancer. But no one visited him. In fact, they later found out that his family had abandoned him. And so they started showing him some attention, trying to show him that someone cared whether he lived or died.

As the doctor watched the couple’s reactions to the tragic news of their daughter’s impending death, he was amazed at the peace and strength with which they accepted the news. He had never seen anyone react like this. The couple made it clear that God was the source of their strength and they gave Him all of the credit.

As they prepared to take their daughter home to die, the doctor approached them with an unusual request. Would they be willing to take the abandoned boy home with them, as well? There wasn’t really much of a discussion, as they knew they couldn’t let the boy die alone in the hospital and so they bundled the two young children up–a small girl much loved by her biological family and a small boy completely and utterly abandoned by his — and took them both home to die.

But, unbelievably, both children did not die. Instead they grew stronger and stronger, until both were declared well again (in fact, the beautiful lady on the far left of the photo above is this daughter all grown up!)

After that incident (or should I say miracle?), Melba told us of her and Victor’s decision to give all they had and owned to the Lord completely. I am not sure if they knew what that meant at the time, but they were soon to find out.

Unfortunately, we did not have enough time to get all the details of how they went from one to 142 adopted children, but, needless to say, in the last 35 years, they have become a valuable resource for the Costa Rican government. They will often drop their most hopeless cases there. In fact, because they know and trust the couple, they will actually do the paperwork, pay any fees, and hire the lawyer to see the entire adoption process through.

She went on to tell of some of the amazing ways God had provided for them through the years. While she talked, I couldn’t help but stare at the picture of the family hanging on the mantle. My eyes then strayed to their wedding picture on a little round table nearby. They couldn’t have possibly realized that day so long ago just how mightily God would use them in the future — and all because they gave everything to Him.

After hearing her story, I felt so many things.

deeper faith — in hearing how God had cared for this family in so many big and small ways.

thankfulness — for a couple who would give up their own comfort to meet the needs of all of these beautiful children.

shame — for being far too worried about my own comfort and convenience in my own small world.

and thoughtfulness — what would happen if we Americans gave our all, instead of being busy with inconsequential things? How could God use us and the abundant resources we have available to us?

And I knew that I would never be quite the same person after hearing her story. I will always thank the Lord for allowing me to listen in on that testimony of faith and to see an example of how the Lord works when we submit everything to Him.

 

 

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9 thoughts on “Part 2: Casa de Pan

  1. Hi Leslie!
    Thank you for sharing that amazing testimony and story! It has definitely left an impact on me.

  2. Thank you so much for sharing this story. I kept telling Maribeth if she saw you to ask you to write this story. Great job!

  3. Leslie,
    This is awesome thank you so much for sharing this story. My husband read the first part yesterday and “said he can’t wait to read the second part today” Great Job!

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