The ALA delegation visited the Betania Home for Handicapped Children early in the day, so we had the opportunity to observe many parents bringing their children to this place. We were deeply touched to meet a young father carrying three beautiful, very lovely daughters on the moped scooter. Only after he set up the moped and started to carry each child into the house do we realize that they all had paralyzed legs.
We asked the father of three girls that after finding out the disability of his first born, how did he feel when his wife was pregnant with the second child? He answered that he had surrendered to God and obeyed his will, “Whatever is the Will of God, I obey.” The young father declared.
The three little girls were sweet, pretty and lovable. It was sad to see that they cannot walk. Their father loved them deeply and took great care for each of them. Each day, he dropped them off at the Betania Home and proceeded to his job. In the evening, he came by to pick them up and took them home. I asked him why he would not leave them here for long term care, rather than keep bringing them and picking them up every day. The young father answered that he wanted to be close to his children. He said, “I want them to feel love. It is hard enough on each of them being born disabled. Their lives were predestined for hardship; they need the loving care from their parents.” I was profoundly moved by his faith and the love he has for his children. Looking at the old moped and the clothes he wore, I guessed he was working manual labor and poor. Yet he did not feel sorry for himself. There was no hint of self-pity. He did not feel unfortunate having all three of his girls being disabled, irrespective of undoubtedly many comments from other people about his family.
In him, a simple manual labor worker and perhaps illiterate, we have learned a valuable lesson about faith and obedience. We cried when we learned that the youngest of the three sisters had passed away. Submitting to tradition, we wished him a healthy baby boy in her place.
Ho Nai is a densely populated area that was founded in 1954. Most of the folks living in Ho Nai are Catholics, so there are many churches throughout the town. In this area, the Betania Home for Handicapped Children is run by the Sisters of the Holy Cross. Betania Home is a facility supported by ALA every year since 2006. The Betania Home has a tailor shop for sewing and embroidering. The shop doubles as an electronic repair shop for repairing televisions and telephones. Disabled children growing up at Betania Home have facilities to learn embroidery, sewing, and electronics repair. As a result, this facility is well known and supported by many folks in the region.
The eldest sister is all grown up now; she starts to learn embroidery in the afternoon. With good hands and intelligence, she finds the joy of being useful. Most importantly, she has learned the faith and obedience from her parents who were the first teachers of her school of life. Each year, we are so happy to see her, when we visit the Betania Home for Handicapped Children.