I have known and loved Mariel and her family since she was a little girl. She used to be my neighbor, my Sunday school pupil, my friend. In many ways, Mariel and her family are also my family. I watched her grow up into a beautiful young woman, inside and out.
My trust in her and her family is such that when my own daughter was about 8 years old, she used to go once a week to their home to take piano lessons from Mariel’s sister, Carol. Later on, Mariel and I had the opportunity of working together in a Summer Bible School at our local church in the Dominican Republic. I was filled with joy and pride seeing her work with passion and showing so much love to each of the children in our group. At that time, she was already living in the United States and would come back to the D.R. for summer vacation to spend time with her family. Mariel sacrificed that week of her vacation to volunteer with those children.
Years later, I had the opportunity of spending time with her and her children in each of their visits to our country. I saw her interact with her own children when she visited my house. We got the chance to discuss her plans to home school her children until they were old enough to attend primary school. We also talked about her fervent love for the souls of her children and how she had put her career on hold to dedicate to her family 24/7. During her last visit to my house, we spent the afternoon reading stories to her children.
The day in which I found out about the judicial process Mariel was going through, I was in shock. All of us who know Mariel know that she is incapable of harming a child.
I pray to God that His name is glorified during this process, that He sustain Mariel at all times, and that He use these tribulations to bring us all closer to Him. I pray that He shows mercy on her children, and that He allows them to continue being loved, cared for, and instructed by their mother.