A Project in God’s Hands
We as Christians have eternal security, as our hope is found in Christ. But consider this: What if your only hope in life was to become a guerilla fighter and harvest cocaine? This may seem a bit drastic, but to Mario, this was reality not too long ago. When Mario was eight years old, he was trained by guerrilla fighters. At this age, due to the guerrilla’s domination in the Meta region where he lived, he began to work in the fields harvesting and processing cocaine. They used money to win his heart, and when he was eleven years old, he decided to run away from his home to join their ranks and become one of the 18,000 Colombian children in the illegal armed groups. During that time, the guerrillas took advantage of the people living in this region, resulting in much of population being displaced. Colombia ranks as the country with the most displaced people in the world. Mario’s family lived in Vistahermosa, and he knew about the FARC because his two older sisters were part of this armed group. He was thinking of doing the same thing, but God used his family’s displacement to changes Mario’s life. They moved to Granada where the pastor of the church gave them refuge and shared the gospel with them. In Granada, Mario and his young siblings continued to be at risk of being recruited. Their mother began to pray for them, she wanted to prevent her three little children from following the example of her oldest girls. The pastor told them of a new home for persecuted children that was located nearby. Mario and his two brothers were the first kids who came to the Open Doors’ Children’s Center, on June 6th, 2001. This was five days after the Children’s Center opened to provide refuge and education to children and adolescents facing persecution in Colombia. Coming to the Children’s Center changed the lives of Mario and his brothers. There they met Jesus, and felt the love of the Father. At the Children’s Center, they were educated, and learned to work and be good men. Today, at 25 years old, Mario is married with two little children. He has held jobs which use the skills he received at the Children’s Center, including working as a driver, farm manager and geotechnical official at an oil company. “During the six years that I was there, I learned to live the values for living the life according to what God wants. The best of my time spent there was getting to know God as a Father. There I was transformed into a better person. I was a rebel child when I came, but when I left the Children’s Center, I was noble thanks to support of tutors, teachers and companions” he said. Since its foundation, 170 children from 31 departments in Colombia have lived there. This project began with 4 children, and by the end of that first year, there were 17. Twelve years ago, the home was moved to its current location, and in 2010, seven children graduated as the first graduates. This year, fifteen children will be finishing as the first class of graduates with specializations in systems technical training. The Children’s Center now provides refuge, protection, education and food to 49 internal kids, as well as education to 21 external kids, who are there to accomplish Ministry of Education requirements. Four of the children who have graduated in recent years are part of the continued education program, and they receive a scholarship to pay for college. *Names changed for security reasons. Please pray for:
- Kids who had been at the Children’s Center- for their lives, families and ministries. May the Lord continue to strengthen them and guide their lives every day.
- For teachers, tutors and staff. May the Lord give them wisdom and renew their strength, so they might continue helping these kids.
- We ask for your prayers that God would bring a revival in this country and in these people’s hearts