Sponsor letters gave hope, not only to Edwin, but to his entire family, who had all but given up on escaping poverty.
Edwin fondly remembers "letter days" at the Adonay Student Center (ES-763). On those days he couldn't get to the center fast enough. The 9-year-old darted through the busy streets of El Transito, dodging piles of garbage and leaping over muddy canals.
At the center he fidgeted impatiently, waiting for his name to be called. When it was, he carefully took the letter, and while some of his friends quickly ripped open their envelopes, Edwin retreated to a drooping avocado tree a few yards from the center to savor the words from his sponsors.
"Those letters were a gate to another world," recalls Edwin. Edwin lived in a world where nearly half of his peers would never graduate from high school. A world where fathers left their children, and families struggled to survive on less than U.S.$2 a day.
But his sponsors told him of a world where little boys like Edwin could do anything. They could go to college, and earn enough money to build houses, and never be hungry. As a child Edwin chose to believe in that world.
A Mother's Pain
At first, it was difficult for Edwin's mother, Leticia, to see her son dream. He told of his dreams to be a worship pastor. But Leticia couldn't realistically envision her son being anything other than a day laborer.
When her son came home with his letters and his dreams, she fought back tears. As a single mother without a steady job, Leticia struggled to raise Edwin and his siblings. She had escaped from Edwin's father, who was abusive, but she had no way to provide for her family. The ramshackle house she constructed out of plastic and palm leaves was painfully inadequate, and her children often went to bed hungry.
Someone to Believe
But Edwin's enthusiasm was contagious. And the words of his sponsors began to penetrate Leticia's heart. She believed in their words to her son: "Edwin, we are praying for your life. We know God is going to use you powerfully. You are going to be a leader of your country and a great leader at your church."
The staff at Adonay Student Center also believed in Edwin. When they listened to him play the guitar and lead his peers in worship, they arranged for Edwin to take music lessons at a local school a dream that would have been impossible without sponsor support.
Words of Gold
Now 24, Edwin is an accomplished worship pastor at the Bible Tabernacle Church in El Transito. He has recorded two worship CDs, and he is a well-known singer on El Salvadoran Christian radio. But Edwin never forgets his roots. He is also the music teacher at the Adonay Student Center, where he teaches his students to dream big.
"I tell them that I was a child like them, a child with an abusive father, with an unemployed mother, and with no hope for the future," Edwin says. "But I had a blessing. I had someone who prayed for me, someone who made me believe I was important to Jesus, and I could do anything through Him."
Edwin still has his letters from his sponsors. He reads them often, thanking God for the gift of support and encouragement. "I know my sponsors were a key partner of God in my life. Each one of their words were like gold for me. I still cherish their letters like jewels ... everything they said I could do, it is happening right now. They prayed for me, they gave me direction, and God used them to guide me into His marvelous purpose for my life."
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