Then one evening, Norma told me that she didn't always have money to buy her snack during recess at school. And sometimes her brother isn't very nice to her when her mom is working.
I told her she could come over and "work" for us. Basically, she could do chores like my kids...washing dishes, sweeping and mopping, etc. And I'd pay her. I was thinking an hour or two a day. She showed up the next day and announced that she had talked it over with her mom. She could come over from 11am to 7pm. (It was still summer.) And so it began.
She didn't work 8 hours a day for us. Unless you consider playing with 4 kids to be work. She would wash the dishes and do any other chore that was asked of her. And then she would play Legos or a game on the Wii. It was great for the kids to have someone to play with everyday. And they had to speak Spanish a lot more too. What we didn't plan was how much English this girl would learn just through play.
Before long, Norma was part of the family. Like a big sister for Ellie.
She finished the sixth grade this year and that means she moves from the elementary school to the secondary school. In our village, the nuns run a private elementary school with the best education, if you don't mind the doctrinal differences. After sixth grade, most kids go to the public secondary school. Sadly, it's where many start using drugs and alcohol. Dating isn't an issue really, because the culture is to "get married" at age 14 or 15.
Norma's parents didn't want her to go to public school so they sought the best option for her. Through the Catholic school, they arranged for her to move to Tuxtla, three hours away. She now lives in an orphanage run by the nuns and attends a private Catholic school.
Our heart aches for Norma. At 12 years old, she's one of the youngest girls in the orphanage. And although her parents desire to protect her from the ways of the world, she is quickly losing her innocence as the girls around her talk about worldly things. Aside from that, we pray for her eternal salvation.
Will you pray for Norma?
For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.