Dirty clothes hugged her body; drops of perspiration stood out on her face. Julia* is sixteen years old. Tia* and Marina,* her younger sisters, sat close to her; one on a chair beside her and one on her lap. Her face was expressionless, but her story was achingly bitter. Her father is dead, her mother sick. The eldest child, she dropped out of school to try to provide for her family, but in Bulgaria work is only available to those aged eighteen and older. I was told her story, a typical one in these gypsy villages. A few minutes later she and her sisters quietly slipped from the room.
How can I write this and express it to a world desensitized in the mass accumulation of human suffering? Julia’s story is not just another story, one evoking short-term pity and casual compassion. We can romanticize this story. We can overlook it. We can let our hearts be momentarily moved. But this is her life. She does not see herself as a story, but feels every moment, every ache. There is no reprieve from the responsibility, the filth, the grief. Her heart is numb. It is broken. How can we do anything less than pour out our hearts and our lives to Julia and those like her?
Her life will not be changed by anything she can do. She is at the mercy of grace, which is where she will find the relief and solutions her heart yearns for. By God’s grace, she is in the path of hope because of her exposure to the program in Sofia. She knows to Whom to run with her aching heart.
May we never stop fighting for her; may we never stop pouring out our resources and prayers and love to Julia and countless others who have and are today experiencing the same pain.
>> Blog article written by Sara Scott - Editor and writer for Changing a Generation. These are true stories written during Sara’s summer missions trip to Bulgaria.
* Names of children are changed for protection purposes.