Living in extreme poverty was hard enough for 10-year-old Eduarda. When her mother died suddenly, she found hope in the songs of praise she played on her violin.

Jericó is a town of 7500 people, in north-eastern Brazil. As well as living in poverty, in recent years the isolated community has battled through a long drought.

Through the Compassion Child Sponsorship Program, the child development centre at the First Baptist Church has been sharing God’s love with the children of the town since 2013.

Two years ago, the centre staff decided to introduce an orchestra into the teaching program, to increase the children’s cultural experiences. Children who wanted to participate, first needed to develop their musical talent in the choir.

With three music teachers, eight violins and two violas, 10 children started learning the instruments. They started playing with open strings, to develop their bowing technique before they learned where to put their fingers on the fingerboard.

“Music gives children opportunity,” explains one of the music teachers, Tâmisson Azevedo. “Every step is an educative process. They learn about patience, that things don’t come so easily and if we want something, we must never give up,” she adds.

One student who has shown exceptional musical talent is 10-year-old, Eduarda. She attends the centre three days a week, even when she has no classes to attend. She loves meeting with the other children, eating a healthy meal, and learning to play the violin.

Last December, the community of Jericó was treated to a Christmas concert from the children. The town was buzzing with excitement because the church pastor had also invited accomplished musicians from a nearby city, to play music with the children’s orchestra.

Most of the people in the town had never seen an orchestra perform before. “They watched the children playing with professionals. It was a milestone,” says the church’s pastor, John.

Eduarda’s mother, Maria, was proud to see her daughter playing in the orchestra. “I was thrilled when I saw the Christmas musical,” she told Ana Rafaela in June. Ana is a field communications specialist from Compassion Brazil, who wanted to tell the world about the children’s orchestra in Jericó.

"The violin brought much joy to our home. It is a great joy for a mother to have a daughter like Eduarda," said Maria.

These words of love and encouragement were still echoing in Eduarda’s ears ten days later, when her mother died unexpectedly.

Losing a parent at such a young age is devastating for any child but Eduarda also deals with the consequences of living in poverty. Without the love and support from her Compassion sponsor and the staff at the child development centre, she could have lost hope completely.

However, one week later Eduarda sat at the child development centre, with her violin in hand, waiting for the orchestra practice. Knowing that she was still grieving the loss of her mother, the centre staff and other students understood why she wasn’t chatting as usual.

At their teacher’s instruction, the students raise their instruments to their chins and play the Christian ballad, ‘I Will Never Be an Orphan Again’. Eduarda is reminded, yet again, that Jesus loves her. Playing the music gradually starts to bring hope and healing to her broken heart.

“He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear the Lord and put their trust in him.” Psalm 40:3

To bring the hope of Jesus into the life of a child living in poverty, sponsor a child today.

Words by Vivienne Hughes and Ana Rafaela

Photo by Dam Sousa

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