We first saw her as these precious women of the Child Survival Program shared a drama with us. We met her again in the cosmetology classroom giving another mom a fresh new do. When time for our lunch/home visits, she had invited us into her home. This is where we learned much more about this Godly woman.
A gang member for 15 years, she spent her time on the streets being the lookout. Her uncle (not a believer at the time) was very concerned about her two young boys being left home alone. He enrolled them in the local Compassion Child Development Sponsorship Program – Amiguitos del Rey (King’s Little Friends) in the Santa Ana area of El Salvador. Curious as any parent would be to know where and how her children were spending their time, she visited the project. Her children were being fed nutritious meals, provided medical care, participating in pre-school programs and tutoring, being loved on by a caring staff, and hearing about Jesus every time they were there.
This particular project is also home to a Compassion Child Survival Program for expectant and new moms. When she became pregnant with her third child, she took advantage of the services offered at the project. She received pre-natal care, and they helped her learn to better care for herself, her unborn baby, and learn skills that would serve her well vocationally. She learned about Jesus, too. He’s at the core of everything Compassion does. She gave her life to Christ, and then needed out of the gang. You have to have a mighty good reason. Guess what? The only mighty good reason those gangs respect is having given your life to Christ. She was out. Now the really tough part. Those gangs are watching to see a transformed life. If you’re not walking the walk, your future prospects are really dismal. We wondered how well our lives could stand up to the scrutiny.
They saw a life being lived for Christ! Her obedience to The Lord led to some amazing blessings. Her mom gave her a home. She believed she would never have one of her own. Through the Compassion program she received Captial Seed money (small loan) to begin a bakery in her home. We helped prepare donuts while we visited with her. She would be selling those the next day in the markets. That would be El Salvador’s Independence Day, and she would have lots of customers. She’s looking forward to being able to market her cosmetology skills as well.
Her three boys are doing well. The oldest one had to leave us to study with a friend for a school project. School work including a handmade periodic chart of the elements were pinned to the walls. The younger two were happy to spend more time with us (and play a video game or two — yes, that is universal!)
She and her sister who helps her with the baking, can’t praise and thank God enough for the church and the Compassion project. Without them her life and future would still be quite bleak. Today she has freedom in Christ and from the gang. Her income has improved. Her boys have an opportunity to attend school. They attend the Compassion project regularly where they continue to grow in their love for Jesus, and are encouraged to stay in school so that too can have a better life.
Look closely, and you will see the gang symbol tattooed on her hand — now a reminder of what she’s been delivered from. Without looking that closely at all, though, you will see the light of Jesus shining through her eyes. We never learned her name, but we certainly saw a beautiful story of redemption. (She’s on the right, her sister in red, and two of the boys in the photo above.)