See how the remarkable power of love can heal hearts
Rachel Bonnetta learned the value of community while visiting CCFC program areas in India
By Rachel Bonnetta, FOX Sports host and CCFC ambassador
Hi! I’m Rachel, a volunteer ambassador with Christian Children’s Fund of Canada (CCFC), and I recently took an incredible trip to Chennai, India to see how lives are being changed.
India is colourful, busy, joyful, loud, beautiful and bold. I fell in love instantly. During our weeklong visit, we met the kindest, warmest, most welcoming people I’ve ever encountered.
One such meeting was in Udayanampati Village, just outside the city of Madurai — a plane trip and car ride away from Chennai. It was here we saw the long-term positive results of CCFC’s work, even while scars from the past were healing.
One such scar was exposed when we learned a six-year-old — now eight — was raped by an elderly man. The secret was discovered when a friend of the victim wrote a letter about the assault and slipped it into a simple community feedback box CCFC implemented. The perpetrator was immediately ousted from the village. He never returned.
My heart shattered upon hearing this devastating story. I was sitting with the townspeople, searching the children’s eyes, wondering where she was. I couldn’t help but wonder: which child had been dealt this horrible card?
I had to walk away and regain control of my emotions. I cried until my eyes were red and my cheeks were rosy. Once I could breathe steadily, I returned to the group. I sat down and a few women followed, sitting on either side of me. “Why are your eyes red?” they asked through a translator. I told them I was sad. Their response created an incredibly beautiful moment I will never forget.
A 21-year-old mother-of-two I had already met, grabbed my hands. “Do not be sad,” she said in English. “I have a husband and two children. I am happy. If I am happy, you can be happy.” It was that simple. This girl, four years my junior, gave me the best gift I never knew I needed.
This girl and mother showed me the world through her eyes — eyes that have seen so much pain and grief. Her view is not distorted by a Twitter feed; she’s not deciding what photo to post on Instagram. She knows what matters. She knows love is most important. She lives in a village that has borne immense pain, but thanks to the love within her tight-knit community, healing is possible.
Share, spread and fill yourself up with love. I will recount this young mother’s message of love, while CCFC encourages camaraderie in developing countries through the Community Rise program I support.
Happy new year; May you feel love in your life every day of 2017.
About Christian Children's Fund of Canada:
Christian Children's Fund of Canada (CCFC) is a child-focused international development organization and a member of ChildFund Alliance. For more than 50 years, CCFC has been helping children and families of all faiths move from poverty to self-reliance. CCFC supports children and communities in Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Ghana, India, Nicaragua and Paraguay. Currently, CCFC has almost 50,000 children sponsored, benefiting nearly 400,000 people around the world.