HEARTS DEVOTED TO HOPE
A Bit of Background
At Hearts Devoted to Hope, our mission is inspired by the holy written word of God in Galatians 6:2: Carry one another's burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the requirements of the law of Christ [that is, the law of Christian love]. Through Diego's ministry and the relationships we've created, we desire to bring the peace, joy and hope of the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ to others. Diego's example of hope, trust, and love in Jesus in the midst of his trials has left a lasting legacy in the hearts of those he touched. Our mission is to keep Diego's spirit of hope alive. All for the Glory of God the Father.
DIEGO ROJAS DELACRUZ
Who was Diego?
At a passing glance, he resembled your typical high school valedictorian, the one all the school jocks would go to for help with their homework. It is true, Diego was intellectually smart, but he also possessed a keen sense of discernment, and with an extremely inquisitive mind he would question what he didn't understand... until he did understand it. He wasn't one who would attract the eye of his school's cheerleading captain, yet he was handsome in a unique kind of way. He hadn't developed a bulging muscular frame, yet within him he possessed the heart and courage of a lion, unyielding when it came to giving up, nevertheless gentle in spirit, Christ-like in character. And to ponder - he was just thirteen years old, a godly soul encapsulated in a boy's body.
After twelve long years of awaiting the approval of legal paperwork allowing him to come to America and be reunited with his immediate family, Diego, his mother Miriam Delacruz, and his stepfather José Vera arrived in the United States. It was September 7, 2013. It was a day of joy for the Delacruz family. Diego was now in America, "Land of the Free, Home of the Brave." Endless opportunities awaited him; however, his newfound home in America wasn't without its challenges. There was a language barrier to overcome, and being the "new kid" from Peru, making new friends wouldn't come so easy - especially being shy as Diego was. Diego, Miriam, and José lived with us, my wife Helen (his aunt), our four children (Shanny, Dannely, Thiago, and Elijah), and myself (Todd). Diego seemed to enjoy his new life and new surroundings. He especially enjoyed the outdoors, experiencing new wildlife, fishing, and hunting. He enjoyed the close companionship shared with his seven cousins. To the glory of God, life was good. In his home country of Peru, Diego and his family did not attend church. He knew of God, but didn't know God. He hadn't yet experienced a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. It was then we introduced him to our church, Church of the Living God in Manchester, Connecticut. Experiencing Christ was one of those things Diego didn't quite understand, but he asked questions until he began to understand.
In the ninth month of Diego's new life here in America, the unimaginable came to pass. While running outdoors during gym class, Diego sustained what initially appeared to be a traumatic injury to his right leg just below the kneecap. X-rays confirmed torn, swollen tissue to the upper tibia bone. The diagnosis was not yet confirmed. Further examination at Connecticut Children's Medical Center in Hartford determined Diego's injury was the result of Osteosarcoma Bone Cancer. A diagnosis of cancer for anyone is truly traumatizing, but a diagnosis of cancer in a child breaks the strands of one's heart - and is even more devastating when the child is yours and he is your only child. The very thought takes away every breath of air in your lungs and every ounce of strength that enables your legs to stand.
As I said earlier, Diego possessed the heart and courage of a lion, an inner quality even his mother didn't realize existed within him. Diego placed all his hope and trust in his Savior, and though he began to walk through the valley of the shadow of death, he feared no evil, because Jesus was his comfort. Through each surgical trial, Diego defied the temptation to denounce his God; rather, he praised and sang songs of worship in Christ's name for each stage he overcame. The NIV translation of Matthew 5:5 says: Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. Amplified Bible translates Matthew 5:5 to say: Blessed [inwardly peaceful, spiritually secured, worthy of respect] are the kind and gentle [the kind-hearted, the sweet-spirited, the self-controlled], for they will inherit the earth. Once you truly came to know and understand Diego, you then could clearly see these qualities that ultimately define the boy he was and remains to be in the hearts of all who knew and loved him. Was he a hero? In my mind, certainly - heroically brave in the face of uncertainty and fear; pure in his acceptance of God's will, fully understanding it was well with his soul, the gift of grace assuring his reward of salvation in the Kingdom of God. His inspirational faith spiritually saved the eternal lives of his family by bringing them to Christ. Meek? Yes, but not in the sense that this world views it... Meek as God viewed him - self-controlled, sweet in spirit, worthy of respect. And to think, he was just thirteen years old.
Who was Diego Rojas Delacruz? He was a loving son who adored his mother; a respectful stepson; a witty and playful nephew who teased his aunt; a competitive, patient, and thoughtful cousin; a cherished grandson. He possessed a shy and quiet demeanor. He was always respectful, polite, and courteous to others, intimately cognizant of the well-being of those he came in contact with. He had all the attributes and desires of a boy his age, but they seemed more refined. He was truly a blessing.
WHAT WE OFFER
BASIC NEEDS AND NECESSITIES
A cancer diagnosis can turn a family upside down. It can leave you without the time to complete tasks around the house or without the funds to put food on the table. Sometimes the basics end up falling through the cracks. We want to help. We can provide any services needed, including but not limited to: helping around the house; building something for a child; yard work and clean up; help buying groceries; friendship and camaraderie; and more.
A DAY OF FUN IN THE SUN!
For families of children fighting disease, suffering from muscular disorders, or living with physical disabilities, sometimes the best medicine is a day away from the hustle and bustle of the everyday struggles. Our clean, refreshing in-ground pool can serve as a place of fun and relaxation. Come and enjoy the day with your children and revel in some time away from the fight. It's great to see your children smiling!
We have a small petting zoo on site with several animals, many of which are trained or are being trained to be therapy animals. We have ducks, chickens, rabbits, dogs and goats.