03 Nov Day 26
He is Always There for Us
By: Pastor Flavio, City of Youth House Parent
Put into practice whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me, and the God of peace will be with you. Philippians 4:9
Stopping at the main entrance to the City of Youth, I felt goosebumps rising on my skin. The gate, the dirt road, the white fence – everything reminded me of a dream I had a few days after my wedding. I never forgot it, even after fourteen years, because when I told my wife Nivia, she said she had had a similar dream.
And there it was in front of us: the fence and gate from our dreams. It felt like the confirmation we were seeking about where we should serve God. That was back in 2008. After serving for four years as house parents on the main campus, we transferred to one of Hope’s six community-based homes. These homes were started to bring together groups of siblings, some very young, that had been separated because of age or gender restrictions in different shelters. Here we hoped to strengthen family bonds.
When Veronica first arrived with her siblings, she was 10. She had grown up neglected and abused in a household destroyed by drugs. After neighbors alerted the authorities, they were removed for their own protection and sent to different shelters. Our new home allowed the siblings to be united under one roof.
I remember one Sunday morning, the Hope bus stopped in front of our house to take the children to church. The other children told us Veronica was not feeling well, so my wife and I decided to take her with us in the car.
When we got to her room, we found her squirming in pain and decided to take her to the hospital right away. By the time we arrived, she was very weak. She told the doctor that she had been experiencing stomach pain for several days. After running some tests, he started treatment for a stomach virus, saying it was fortunate we brought her in when we did.
Later on, puzzled, we asked Veronica why she had waited so long to tell us she was in pain? She said quietly, “I didn’t want to bother you.”
My mind raced back to my own difficult childhood and all the times I’d been ashamed or afraid to share my own problems and pains, knowing I would be ridiculed, scolded or punished if I did.
I then remembered the message I heard the day I was converted. The scripture that morning was from Matthew: “Come to me, all who are tired and overwhelmed, and I will give you rest.” On that day, it finally clicked for me that God is always there for us, and never turns His face away. His Word says, “Those who look to him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame.” (Psalm 34:5)
In the coming weeks and months, we talked to Veronica. We were able to win her confidence, and help her to understand this truth, as I had. Today, her faith is in Jesus! She understands that she can always trust Him, share her pains, and receive His protection, knowing her Heavenly Father will always be there for her.
Today, pray for all those suffering alone, with nobody to turn to. We are thankful for missionaries like Pastor Flavio and Nivia, who allow children like Veronica to experience God’s love. Pray that God will alert each one of us to these situations, so that we can be instruments of His love.