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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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Heart and soul

John and Dena Williams thought they might be able to give something special to a Mexican missionary clinic — possibly medicine or equipment. They had no idea they'd be asked to mend a heart.

John, a doctor, and his wife, Dena, members of Augustana Lutheran Church, Denver, met 8-year-old Aurora Soto Lozano on a March visit to a clinic in the Juarez, Mexico, city dump. Hundreds of families live in the dump, including Aurora, her parents and four siblings.

Government hospitals couldn't treat Aurora, whose heart condition left her too weak to finish third grade. John Williams arranged for his employer, an HMO, to sponsor a visa for Aurora. A cardiologist at Children's Hospital in Denver donated his services for the May surgery.

Complications required Aurora to have two surgeries, but the procedure was successful. "Compassion is about shared pain, but it is also about shared joy," Dena Williams said. "We could instantly see a difference in her. She was much more animated and energetic."

The Williamses are now planning for Aurora's six-month checkup. A fund has been established to aid Aurora's care. Send contributions to: Mountain States Bank, 1635 E. Colfax, Denver, CO 80218.


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