27 Oct Day 19
Convergent Paths Pt. 2
By Philip Smith
Continued from yesterday…..
In yesterday’s prayer, social workers had finally located Edimar’s older brother Carlos, who was begging on the streets of Sao Paulo. They had been separated six years earlier. Edimar was now almost eighteen years old, months away from graduating.
There are a thousand reasons not to admit youth as old as 18, like Carlos, The habits of the streets are too ingrained by that age, they can pose a risk to the other children, and there’s not enough time to prepare them before they have to be on their own. Not to mention the legal issues.
But given the unique circumstances—and Carlos’s heart-rending appeal to “Mr. Hope”—with some trepidation we decided to let Carlos live on the campus and enroll in a professional job training course. Not surprisingly he opted for the cooking course—often a top choice for children who grew up worrying about when they would eat next. For the first time in his life, Carlos got to sleep in a cozy bed, surrounded by folks who loved him. After attending his morning culinary class, he spent the afternoons learning to read and write with a tutor.
A few weeks later, Carlos insisted on speaking with the director. Pastor Derli says, “I was disappointed, but not too surprised, when he asked to speak with me. I assumed he would complain about a staff member, say the discipline was too constraining, and inform me that he was returning to the streets.”
But Carlos surprised him. “Uncle Pastor, I have classes every morning and afternoon. But I am free after dinner. Can you give me some work to do, so I can pay back everything you are doing for me?”
Pastor Derli explained to Carlos that his new life was a gift given by God. It was given to him through the hands and feet of people who had themselves received a gift from God. As Carlos listened eagerly, Pr. Derli explained more about this gift, and how Carlos could receive it.
The following Sunday in chapel, Carlos accepted Christ. Within days, he asked for special permission to be admitted – two weeks late – into the ongoing baptism preparation class. He could barely read, but with the help of others, diligently studied the Word of God for the next three months. Soon after that, Carlos stepped into the waters to be baptized.
A few months later, Carlos put on his cap and gown, and proudly graduated alongside his brother Edimar. We’d never had a student graduate so soon after he arrived! Both brothers went on to get jobs, join churches, and get married.
Carlos’ story is exceptional, but shares one element in common with thousands of other children who have accepted Christ at Hope – miraculous transformation. The full story of Carlos’ life remains to be written. It will be composed over time, as this once-beggar-boy passes along his faith to ensure that his future generations are secure in their eternity.
Today, we want to say a very special prayer of thanksgiving for all those who have lovingly, faithfully and sacrificially invested in the children of Hope through the years. The seeds you have sown have born much fruit. You are all “Mr. and Mrs. Hope” – the hands and feet of Jesus.