I love planning things. At just twelve years old, Sargis Vardanyan (pictured above, right) has already lived through plenty of traumatic events, so it’s no…
Two years ago, Leticia Lozano kissed her husband goodbye before he left to visit his parents in Mexico. Little did she know, this would be the last time she would ever see him.
Leticia and her husband, Sebastian, made a home for themselves in a small town in southern Texas. Fewer than two thousand people live in this town, and many of them work at the local refinery. With four boys ranging in age from two to twelve, Leticia had her hands full raising their children while Sebastian provided an income.
Life carried on for Leticia and the boys while Sebastian was away in Mexico. Then came the phone call that changed everything.
Sebastian was killed in a crossfire shooting between rival cartels while he was walking down the street in Mexico.
Leticia and her boys were devastated. Not only had they lost their husband and father, but they were unable to go to Mexico for the funeral. While the boys were US-born citizens, Leticia was without a green card that would allow her to return to their home in Texas after the service.
In addition to dealing with the grief over losing her husband, Leticia had suddenly become the sole provider for her family. She and her four boys were struggling to cope with their loss in the midst of simply trying to survive. Leticia took a part-time job washing dishes at a local restaurant and took housecleaning jobs when they arose.
Earlier this year, the pastors of the local church learned about their situation. Roughly a decade earlier, Leticia and Sebastian had attended church at Centro de Oracion y Restauracion but stopped attending when life got too busy. Though the church pastors were different from the ones Leticia and Sebastian had met, it didn’t stop them from reaching out to the family.
Dora Garcia and other members of the church began visiting Leticia and the boys with Food Paks. The food was an unexpected blessing that came when it was most needed. In addition to helping to feed her active, growing boys, it also allowed her to stretch her limited budget to cover housing, clothing, and other essentials.
The Food Paks not only provided Leticia with the tangible resources to survive following her husband’s death, it created an opportunity to heal.
The beauty of the Food Pak ministry lies not in the food being delivered but in the hands that deliver it. Relationship has always been at the heart of what we do at Children’s Hunger Fund, and this has been no different for Leticia and her boys.
Regular visits from Dora and other members of the church gave them the opportunity to work through their sorrow and start the process of healing.
“These people have shown us great love,” Leticia shared. “They have not left us alone during the darkest time in our lives. I can see my boys begin to thrive and have a positive outlook for their future, even without a father. I feel encouraged and very hopeful for our future.”
Leticia and the boys have been attending worship services regularly. Her fourteen-year-old, Martin, has started playing drums in the worship team at church. Thirteen-year-old Santino joins him on bass guitar and is learning to play the keyboard. Ten-year-old Oscar wants to be a pastor when he grows up. Four-year-old Camilo enjoys the children’s program. Leticia has also become very involved in whatever activities, fundraisers, and services the church has to offer.
With help from the church and food provided by faithful supporters just like you, Leticia and her sons are finally able to move forward. The older boys are very focused on what they need to do to reach their goals. Leticia continues to wait on her green card that will open the door to job opportunities with benefits.
Life has shifted from the struggle to survive to learning how to thrive, emotionally as well as spiritually. Leticia and her three older boys have all made declarations of faith and been baptized in water.
For the first time in a long while, the family is able to experience hope.
Recipients’ names have been changed to protect their privacy.