29 Oct Day 21
By Carlos, the head of the City of Youth counseling department
Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; but in all your ways submit to him. Proverbs 3: 5-6
One day a visitor asked me “What makes you come to work every day, knowing the challenges you will face?” The answer is very long: Amanda, Daiane, Cleber, João Guilherme, Pedro Artur, Lara, Vitória ….and so many others.
I believe if we stand before God and say “Here I am, Lord” that He will place in our hands those He wants to reach. And then God involves us so completely we feel Him work through us as we minister to others.
One child that taught me this is Amanda. She came to us when she was 14 and was the victim of many years of neglect and harsh physical abuse. There was also a suspicion that she had been molested by her stepfather.
From the beginning, it was clear that something was not right. She was very skinny and apathetic, and wouldn’t talk, but rather only answered yes or no, with a blank expression. When she finally did talk, it was always disconnected and out of context.
It was so hard for me to see a young woman in that situation, with her whole life still ahead of her. The suffering she carried must have felt like heavy chains draped over her body. I had just one thought: “I don’t know how, but I have to find some way to help her.”
We were all very careful and attentive with her. When we shared with her about God’s unconditional love, there were times when she seemed to grasp it. But at other times, it seemed she was in another world; one impossible to penetrate. But I refused to give up.
One day some of the other girls invited Amanda to participate in a liturgical dance for chapel. I knew she had been practicing with the other girls for several weeks and made sure to sit in the front row on the morning of her presentation.
She walked up on the stage with the other girls, radiant in her dance clothes. She performed beautifully. The joy of being part of that group was visible on her face.
It was something I will never forget. As soon as it was finished, she ran over to me with a big smile and said, “Was it beautiful, Uncle? Did you like it?” And all I could manage to say was, “Yes Amanda, it was beautiful.”
That day, something special happened to Amanda. It was like a light turned on, full of possibilities, as she realized that she could do the same things as the other girls. My joy only increased a few weeks later when she started her baking course and engaging in her classes at school.
It’s been two years since she arrived, and today Amanda behaves no differently from all the other girls. She joins in all the activities, and is extremely cheerful and participatory.
I came here to transform lives, but I find myself transformed instead. Experiencing God’s love flowing through me has opened my eyes, allowing me to know Him in a whole new way. My own transformation enables me to face each challenge with unwavering faith, believing it is possible to reach inside each life and cure it with the Lord’s healing balm.
Lord, make us your instruments. Help us to surrender to you completely each day, knowing that You will direct our paths.