The day Kelly died was one of the hardest days of David and Carol Loveland’s life.
No parent plans to bury his or her child. So when David and Carol’s daughter passed away at the age of 38, they both were at a loss of how to move forward.
The grief was too much for David to carry.
“After Kelly died, my husband was a mess,” Carol said.
They were already grieving another loss. Passionate about caring for children around the world, the couple had spent years pouring into a ministry that worked with children in Romania. In fact, David visited that project three or four times every year. When the ministry ended shortly before Kelly passed away, David and Carol lost their sense of purpose … and then they lost their daughter.
“The kids [in Romania] were like our kids,” said Carol. “We were reeling from that, reeling from Kelly’s death, and then we met Vernon.”
A friend gently reminded the Lovelands that sometimes helping others is just what we need to begin the process of healing.
“Our friend was very honest and said, ‘You need to get involved in something and turn your grief around,’” Carol recalled.
That same friend introduced the Lovelands to Vernon Brewer, World Help’s founder and CEO. He shared with the Lovelands about the need for a special needs home in Guatemala. David and Carol knew they had to be involved.
“We have four kids and 10 grandkids, and we just love kids,” said Carol. “Our heart was always drawn to orphans and children in need.”
And so, the idea for Kelly’s House — a home for children with special needs, dedicated to the memory of their daughter — was born. They hoped that this home would prevent other parents from experiencing the devastating loss of a child.
David and Carol began making regular trips to Guatemala, visiting the site of the future home. Back in Florida, the Lovelands shared the needs they saw with family and friends. Raising money for Kelly’s House allowed them to talk about their daughter’s loss in a way that brought hope … and that changed everything.
“When your life is all hunky dory, you don’t have to think about the difficult things around the world,” said Carol.
But the couple quickly found that their grief and pain allowed them to feel an even deeper level of compassion for suffering families in Guatemala.
In many countries around the world, children with disabilities are often neglected. Families living in poverty do not have the resources to afford basic medical care, much less specialized treatment. But through the ministry of Kelly’s House, parents in Guatemala have a place to bring their children — a place where they can learn how to properly care for their precious little ones.
Kelly’s House and the Lovelands’ partnership with World Help gave David and Carol a chance to begin healing. It saved them both, Carol said, allowing them to look to the future with joy and a renewed sense of purpose
But then tragedy struck again.
After a battle with cancer, David died in 2017. He left behind a legacy of hope that has impacted hundreds of people around the world.
Right now, people are continuing to find healing and joy through Kelly’s House and the countless other World Help projects that David and Carol were involved in.
When it came time for David’s funeral, Carol chose to have her husband buried in his World Help shirt, rather than a suit. She knew her husband was passionate about those in need, right up until the end.
And they both realized that when you help others, you receive more blessings than you give.
Even though David’s work on earth is done, Carol is now finding her own way — alone. Read our blog next week to learn how she is stepping outside her comfort zone to create her own legacy.
Emily Towns writes for World Help, a Christian humanitarian organization serving the physical and spiritual needs of people in impoverished communities around the world. To learn more about religious persecution around the world, click here.