An unlikely meeting would change the lives of both a father and daughter forever. Ileana Quintanilla was raised by her maternal grandparents in Nicaragua.
She learned about her father who abandoned her many years before. Her mother Doña Patricia, gave birth to her when she was only 16 years old. It was a difficult situation for everyone. Things didn’t work out between her father and Doña.
After years of volunteering at the Christian global development non-profit Food for the Hungry, Ileana became a staff member and traveled from her community of Ameya to various rural communities faced with poverty and conflict.
In 2018, she later would meet a young boy who enrolled in the program. She felt a connection to this boy and later learned that he was in actuality her brother. When she asked the boy about his father, he replied “His name is Ernesto.”
Ileana instructed her brother to find his father. She wrote down her name on his arm. Ileana said, “Show this name to your father, and tell him that I’m here.” About 30 minutes passed and a man arrived on a bicycle asking for her. She met up with him on the road.
He replied, “My daughter,” and at that moment, the dream of her life was in front of her. She simply said, “I am your daughter.”
Ernesto told Food for the Hungry, “The only thing I wanted to ask her… Forgive me.”
Ileana recalls, “In that moment, deep in my heart, I knew I forgave my father.”
She later met her other brothers, and the whole family on her dad’s side, and now believes that, “Everything happens with a plan and a purpose.”