When I look around, what I see in my community are gangs, thieves, drug trafficking, hopelessness. I see girls in prostitution and cannot avoid thinking that one of those girls could have been me. I grew up in that context, but I had an opportunity that changed my entire life.
One of those girls could have been me.
I was five years old when a church member came to visit my mom and tell her about the Compassion Center “Formando Nuevas Vidas” and I was registered. As my mom says, and I agree: that registration became a great blessing for our family.
Since I was a child, I heard about God’s love and learned good values at the center. One of the reasons why my mom is proud of me is because I am an excellent student. Even though I do my best in my studies, my secret is that before doing any homework, exam, or project, I pray for God’s guidance and support. That is what I learned at the Center.
I remember when my mom used to go to work, I spent a lot of time alone. However, rather than attending parties or using drugs, like other teenagers, I spent my free time at the Center, attending classes, and participating in every activity: dance, drama, and sports. I enjoyed being there.
I was a teenager when I accepted Jesus as my Savior.
I started to serve Him as a leader at church and participated in different activities there. At the Center, my tutors encouraged me to dream — to think that I was worthy enough to have a better future than the options my context offered. After graduating with honors from high school, I studied a technology career in Project Formulation in the National Public Service of Learning SENA. The Center was there to provide me with transportation to go to study. I won a contest in the university and invested the prize money to start a store called “African Roots.”
I am currently 21 years old. People in my community recognize me as a leader, as a respectable woman.
Because of Compassion and my sponsor, I have been provided food, medical and educational help, and most importantly, Christian values and principles that allowed me to be a woman with goals and vision in life. The Center was God’s lifesaver to keep me safe from my context of poverty and death.
Sometimes I reflect and tell my mom that without Compassion, I could have been lost in drugs and destructive behaviors. That is a reflection I regularly made to remember God’s grace and continue fighting for my future. When I feel discouraged because of the issues in my life, I always look for God’s presence.
I also like to think about my sponsor, someone who cares for and loves me. There is a letter from my sponsor that makes me feel stronger. It says,
“You were born to be loved. You are a girl with infinite potential. I pray for you and your future.”
At the Center, I am now teaching entrepreneurship workshops for girls aged 16-18 years old. It is a way for me to give back a little of what Compassion has done for me. My dreams for the future include becoming a professional. I am in the sixth semester of sociology at a public university.
I thank God every day for allowing me to join the Compassion program. There I acquired knowledge and skills that enable me to improve my family’s quality of life and to be helpful in my community. I’m so grateful for the tutors, directors, sponsors, and pastors whose support has been very significant in my life. I was the first one in my family to go to the university.
They have not just changed my life, but my generation. The generation that comes after me will be of people who will serve others and, most importantly, serve God.
Visit www.compassion.com/slc today to sponsor a vulnerable girl like Wendy.