“My favorite story in the Bible is the story of David. I think that David is strong, and I admire his faith in God, especially when he faced a giant,” shares Carmel.
Young as she is, Carmel faces many giants in life. She lives in a mountainous area, in a Teduray indigenous community, far from the city and surrounded by wildlife rarely seen in a suburban backyard. When Carmel was four years old, a cobra bit her leg! Cobras are highly venomous, which is why it only took a few minutes for the infection to spread. Left without a choice, the healthcare providers in their local hospital decided to have her leg amputated. Since that incident, Carmel hasn’t been able to move about like other children. She had to adapt by hopping from one place to another because she did not have a crutch. However, Carmel’s condition did not stop her from dreaming of a better life. She hops to her school, two hours away, to learn how to read and write.
Carmel wants to become a teacher when she grows up to help with her family’s needs. She’s the firstborn of six children; two of her siblings also have disabilities – Jerome with cleft lip and Trisha with clubfoot. Many people around their family are not able to lend a hand, and some even bully her. Carmel responds with grace and often just ignores these bullies.
Through a pastor in their hometown, Carmel was referred to Seeds of Dignity, which presently takes care of her and her mother’s housing needs while she receives treatment at CURE Philippines. She had stump revision surgery, and she could finally walk again after many years. Needless to say, she couldn’t hide her excitement when she heard that she will be getting a prosthetic. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there are some delays to her getting the prosthetic, and her wait has been prolonged. Likewise, King David in the Bible had to wait before taking his seat on a throne. During the waiting period, David’s heart grew for God. We don’t doubt that the same is happening for Carmel as she waits to claim her promised leg.
As Carmel waits, she is learning more about God each day. It is hard for her to stop asking when she will finally get to walk with her new leg, but she is eager to use this time to learn more from the Bible. Carmel’s mom, Rochelle, testifies to a deeper growth in their faith. No matter what giants Carmel may face, we hope and pray that she’ll continue to face it with a child-like but royal faith.