14 Oct Day 6

Celso – Hard Soil


By: City of Youth Head Counselor 

“. . . and some seeds fell on shallow soil.” Matthew 13:4


Celso was turning 18 in September. Three years of time and effort invested in him seemed to have been in vain. We’d done everything we could – psychological appointments, a special program for teens with drug addictions, Bible studies, small groups. But Celso never showed any signs of gratitude, respect, or a desire to change. Once we counted how many times he had run away: 68, undoubtedly a record.

Celso was a true street kid. Abandoned by his mother as a baby, he had been living a life of crime, violence, and drugs. Whenever we overhear aggrieved local citizens say that street children are beyond redemption, we are indignant. In Celso’s case, however, we were running out of things to try.

On one occasion a group of children ran screaming to my door, saying that Celso was threatening his instructor with a knife. I went into the classroom slowly, and finally convinced him to put it down. A few days later, somebody broke into my office and stole my laptop. Security cameras showed it was Celso. He ran away for a few days, undoubtedly to exchange it for drugs.

Celso only had a few months left in the program, but I refused to give up. One day we were having yet another talk about his future. I told him he was facing a spiritual battle, and that Jesus was the only solution. Without saying a word, he stormed out of my office, angry that I had not told him what he wanted to hear.

The next day, I ran into a smiling Celso, and was immediately suspicious. He said, “Ask Uncle Edson what happened last night!” (Edson is his house parent). “What?” I asked. But he mysteriously refused to say more.

Expecting the worst, I went over to Edson’s house. He said, “I was sitting in the living room when Celso suddenly walked in and asked me to pray for him. I thought I was dreaming, but he asked me again. As we prayed, he started sobbing. I asked if he wanted to accept Jesus into his life, and after asking me some questions, he knelt and accepted Jesus!”

I could hardly believe my ears. The next day, I asked Celso to come to my office. He immediately asked about baptism. I explained about the need to grow in the faith, and asked if he would like to start discipleship classes.

This all happened in late June of 2020. Since then, we’ve been meeting twice a week for discipleship classes. During our times together, he stares intently, paying close attention to every single thing I say.

God used this episode with Celso to remind me, once again, that we can never lose hope for these children. Even when our words seem to bounce off, some seeds are penetrating their hearts. It may take years for them to sprout, but then they not only grow, but bear fruit. This encourages us to keep going.


It’s hard to not give up. As you pray for Celso, pray that we will always see people with our Father’s eyes, and love them to Jesus.