The Dartmouth staff—Josh Smith, Jim Whalen and I—recently had the privilege to deliver furniture to Alisha in Fall River. She and her two children, David, 6, and Isabella, 4, moved to Massachusetts from their home in Puerto Rico.
One of the first things Alisha told us is that Isabella is autistic and mostly non-verbal. It didn’t stop this beautiful little girl, though, from running around the apartment showing her gratitude and enthusiasm.
As we filled their new home with furniture, Alisha’s eyes became wide with awe and disbelief. “You brought me a kitchen table?!” she exclaimed. “I didn’t know I’d be getting a couch too!” Alisha was so focused on getting beds for David and Isabella that she’d forgotten about all the other furniture we were bringing. It was easy to understand why: they’d been sleeping on the floor for four weeks.
I began setting up beds in the kids’ room and Alisha jumped right in to help me. We got to know each other as we worked.
“It was so hard to leave my family in Puerto Rico,” she told me while she tightened the bolts, “but I knew this would be best for Isabella. Where we’re from, there’s no special education for children like her. I can already see improvements since we’ve been here. She’s so much happier and she’s even beginning to talk!”
One thing was clear: Alisha’s love for her children came before everything else, even her own comfort and happiness. She was in awe of the furniture we brought… I was in awe of her.
In about an hour, we filled their once-empty space with beds, a couch, chairs, end tables and a kitchen set so Alisha and her children could finally share a meal together.
As the delivery came to a close, we presented her with the crucifix and let her know that God was the one who made this possible.
In that moment, Alisha fell silent and gazed at the cross held tightly in her hands. When I looked to her children and asked them for a hug, Isabella immediately jumped into my arms with a huge smile and a simple, “Thank you.” Alisha exclaimed, “She never does that! She never hugs anyone!”
Clearly the Love and Hope of Jesus was at work in more ways than one inside this family’s home.