‘l gave you away so that you could have a better life.’

Everyone had heard bits and pieces of what had happened, but Wes wanted to tell the story while they ate.  That Sunday, Nana Ahlseen decided to bring dinner, choosing a recipe in honor of the country where Wes was born. Kimmy took a bite and asked, “What are we eating? I can see beef, onions, tomatoes and boy is it spicy!  The best part of this dish is that it is mixed up with French fries!”

“It’s Lomo Saltado, one of the best-known dishes from Peru,” Nana said.

“It’s almost as good as when I got to eat it during our trip,” commented Wes. “l always loved it when we would go out to eat at El Serrano in Lancaster. I never thought eating the food in Peru would be even better. Who knew that a trip I was so nervous about, could turn out so great! Mom and Dad, you always told me I was adopted when I was 18 months old, but I don’t remember anything from when I was a baby in Peru.”

Mom asked, “Wes, what did I always tell you about your mother in Peru?”

“She loved me so much she wanted me to have a better life. Mom, what kind of love did you call it?”


“Unconditional love, just like Jesus loves us.” Mom smiled broadly. “Who imagined that we would get the chance to go back to Peru and meet Wes’ relatives? God moved so many people to make it all possible.  Manuel, the owner of El Serrano, was making improvements to the restaurant and brought in a carpenter from Peru. Manuel wanted him to meet Wes, so we took Wes and his birth certificate over to the restaurant. Come to find out that the carpenter had been in Wes’ hometown of Limabamba and knew his birth family. The carpenter was returning to Peru so I sent a letter and pictures with him for Wes’ birth mother. We then found out that his birth mother wanted to see Wes. That’s why we decided we would go to Peru.

“Wes, do you remember the most important part of this story? When we told Manuel about our travel plans. Manuel asked, ‘How did we get to this point? You had no contact with Wes’ birth family and now you are planning a trip to Peru?’ Wes, how did I answer him?”


“Mom, you said that you thought somebody was praying and somebody had questions.”

“That’s right.  And everyone thought that was a crazy idea, didn’t they?” Mom smiled.  “So, Wes, you tell the rest of the story.”


“So, we took a long airplane ride from New Jersey to Lima, Peru. It was so hot! Hey guys, did you know that Lima is a desert? We got there and then went to the hostel, that’s like a hotel here in America. We were eating breakfast the next morning when we heard, ‘Would George or Deb come down to the desk? Manuel is here.’ We didn’t know anyone in Peru. Mom went down and there was Manuel from El Serrano. He decided he just needed to see the end of our story. He was so excited. We all left for the park where we were to meet my birth family.

“We waited a little bit. I think we were afraid that nobody was going to show up. Finally, here came my uncle, aunt, cousins and my birth mother. I was a little afraid, everybody was crying.  What if they wanted me to stay here? My birth mother’s name is Teofina. She was talking Spanish and Manuel was telling us she said, ‘l gave you away so that you could have a better life.’ That was weird. That’s what you always told me Mom.

“Then we all went back to where we were staying, and my Peru mom wanted me to sit with her on the same chair. I called her “mom” ‘cause I didn’t know what else to call her. Mom, you asked me about that, remember? And I said, ‘Teofina is my birth mom, but you are my favorite mom.


“That night we went to my uncle’s house for supper. He asked, ‘How did this happen? How did we all get together?’ Mom told him exactly what she said back in the restaurant: ‘Somebody was praying and somebody wanted answers.’ Mom, you tell them what my uncle said.”

“With tears streaming down his face, he said, ‘l have prayed for 13 years that this boy would come back to us. We wanted to make sure that he was a son and not a servant.’


“Mom said loud really loud, ‘l knew somebody was praying!’”

All the kids looked at each other. Kimmy said, “How come everybody’s crying? It was a really cool adventure!”

Dad spoke up.  “Matthew 21:22 says, ‘If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask in prayer.’ But I think, kids, the one mistake we make is when we decide how and when our prayers should be answered. Wes’ uncle prayed for 13 years, and he got an amazing answer. He got to see Wes with his own eyes! That was probably more than he even prayed for.

“Let’s pray. Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for giving us the opportunity to visit Wes’ family, and Lord, it was so exciting to be a part of a plan to answer his uncle’s prayer. From getting to know Manuel, to the carpenter coming from Peru, to the carpenter carrying a letter back to Wes’ mom and then the meeting in the park. It was not only an adventure, but what an example of answered prayer. Thank you, Lord.”

 “Pass me the box of tissues, please.” Mom sobbed as she then passed around the precious photo of Wes and his birth mom.

 “Mom, are you okay?”

“Just happy tears, Wes.”

Grandma Alseen went to the kitchen and brought out her latest cooking experiment. “Hope everyone has room for dessert. We are having Picarones. They’re sweet, sticky dripping doughnuts topped with honey, cinnamon, and orange.”

Jake said, “Wow, with food like this, maybe we should all go back to Peru.”

And all the family said, “Amen!”


  • What prayers were answered in this story?
  • How many years had Wes’ uncle prayed for Wes?
  • What is “unconditional love”?
  • Who has shown you that type of love?

Suggestion for Prayer: someone thank God for 10 different things or people


Kimmy hung her head and softly said, “He called me ‘Dumbo’ cause my ears stick out so far.”

It was Kimmy’s favorite dessert for Sunday dinner. Grandma Myers made it special, just for her. But Kimmy didn’t touch it.  Mom asked, “Kimmy, something wrong with the pie? I thought banana cream was your favorite.”

“Mom, I’m not hungry.”

“Kimmy, you aren’t still upset by what bigmouth Sam said to you on the bus, are you?”  Jake declared, “He’s just stupid!”

Tears began dripping down Kimmy’s cheeks.

“What did Sam say?” Dad asked.


Kimmy hung her head and softly said, “He called me ‘Dumbo’ cause my ears stick out so far.”


With tears in her eyes, Mom turned and said, “Kimmy, let me tell you what happened to me.  I was in 6th grade and went to school on a bus, just like you. The problem was that my ears stuck out bigtime! My hair was long and my ears stuck out so much that my hair parted around them.  It didn’t look good.  When I got on the bus there were shouts of, ‘Elephant ears!’ which of course led to being called Dumbo, just like Sam called you, Kimmy.  The nastiest boy had started it and soon got the whole bus involved.  

I came home crying and told my mom what happened. So, my mother, your grandmother who died long before you were born, decided to take me to a doctor and get my ears fixed.  Pretty easy operation, but my hair was gross because I couldn’t wash it for 2 weeks.”

“Ewww! That’s yucky!” said Kimmy. “I didn’t know your ears stuck out too! I just want to punch Sam the next time I see him.”


“Oh, honey,” said Mom, “the best way to handle bullies is to ignore them. They just want you to get upset like the boy who yelled things at me. You know Ephesians 4:32 says, ‘Be useful and helpful and kind to one another, tenderhearted (understanding and loving-hearted), forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.’ You might not change the way Sam treats you, but you sure could surprise him by deciding to be kind to him rather than punching him.”


Nana Ahlseen said, “Why don’t we pray for Kimmy? Dear Lord, please help us when people say awful things. Help us to be kind, when they are not. Lord, we ask You to protect Kimmy and we thank You that You created her beautifully, just as she is. And last of all, we ask You to speak to Sam’s heart and let him know that being a bully is an awful way to live.”

Kimmy said, “I think I have room for two pieces of pie today.”

And all the family said, “Double Amen!”


  • What makes a bully a bully?
  • Name a couple of good ways to handle a bully?
  • What does the Book of Ephesians teach us on how to handle unlovable people?
  • What did Nana include in her prayer for Kimmy?


Pray for someone who has been a bully in your life