18 Oct Day 10

Ana Belle: In her Words


“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing!  Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? Isaiah 43:18-19


I was 13 when I moved in with an older man who promised to take care of me. I was from a middle-class neighborhood, but my single mom struggled with mental illness and was often harsh with me, so I thought this man was the solution.

It turned out the man, over 30, was addicted to drugs. He changed completely, beating me, and then forcing me to smoke crack to stop the pain. After a year, I couldn’t take it anymore. I was leaving with my bag when he arrived home, completely high. He dragged me by the hair and threw me on the bed, saying he would set me on fire when he finished.

Gathering all my strength, I pushed him away, jumped out the window, and ran down the street screaming for help. A neighbor let me in and called the police. At the police station, they called my mother and grandparents who refused to pick me up, saying they wanted nothing more to do with me. I was so scared. I couldn’t imagine how I got to this point.

The next day, the police took me to Hope’s City of Youth. I remember thinking how beautiful the campus was. At first it was hard, but I was comforted listening to worship songs for the first time in my living room. I started hearing about Jesus, but it was hard to trust anybody. Even though my mother had been cruel, I still missed her. I ran away when I was 17, a decision I really regret. My mother refused to take me back, saying I was dead to her, but my grandparents finally agreed to let me stay with them. When I was 18, I met and married a man from the military and started attending university. But our marriage ended two years later. I was devastated, and started partying with school friends, drinking and using drugs. One night, after coming home drunk, I told God “If you really exist, please get me out of this, I can’t do this by myself.”

A few days later, a Christian girl from school invited me to go on a mission trip. I told her I was not walking with God, but she encouraged me to go anyway. On the third day of the trip, I found myself sobbing. I was feeling God’s love for me for the first time since my days at Hope, remembering how much I was loved by my house parents. That day, I finally started to comprehend Jesus’ plan for my life. I returned a new creature. I started going to church, and was baptized. I transferred to a Christian university called UNASP. My dream is to become a Juvenile Court Judge, to deal with cases like mine. Filled with a passion for Jesus and a dream of helping vulnerable children, I designed a project called “Caring Lives,” and made a presentation to the school board on how our university could help Hope’s graduates go to college. I wanted to give back to Hope all they gave to me. I was amazed when the board said they wanted to visit!

They sent the Director of the Law Department, along with my professor and me, to visit the City of Youth. The visit was very emotional. I had always wanted to go back, but returning with the possibility of helping this organization, the place that took care of me when I was broken and hopeless, meant so much.  We’ll see what happens…

Today, I have forgiven my mother. I have a great group of Christian friends who help me a lot on my new everlasting journey with Jesus. I pray that I may be able to help others like me in the future.


Please pray for me, for all Hope’s graduates, and for Hope’s house parents who are in the front of the battle of this amazing ministry.