Luisa, once a shy child, now enjoys leading worship at the Sunflower of Jesus Student Center.
Each day during Luisa first weeks at the Sunflower of Jesus Student Center (NI-193), she walked into the church, tightly clutching her schoolbooks to her chest. She sat alone in a corner and drew her legs up to her chest, shrinking, disappearing.
A LIFE OF POVERTY
For Luisa, this wasn't simply an awkward, shy stage. As a child living in poverty, Luisa faced a grim future. If her community was any indication, Luisa would drop out of school like 60 percent of her peers. Like her parents, she would never find steady work. Like her friends, she would spend her childhood battling malaria, dehydration and malnutrition. She would live in poverty she would die in poverty.
While Luisa, then 8, had resigned herself to what seemed an inevitable future, Compassion wasn't ready to give up on her. Each day, child development center staff members prayed with Luisa prayed that her mother would find a job, that her four younger sisters would have enough food to eat, that Luisa would understand how much she was loved.
FAITH IN ACTION
Through the support of her sponsor, Luisa also began to receive nutritious meals at the center. After school, tutors helped her with her homework. At church, she learned Bible stories and began to say prayers of her own.
Slowly, Luisa saw those prayers answered. Her mother found a teaching job, and with the help of Compassion she was able to buy food and clothes for her family. Letters from Luisa's sponsor began to arrive, filled with affirmation and praise. The truth overtook the lies of poverty Luisa had long been fed. This child, who once believed she was nothing, now knew that she was, in fact, a child of God.
A BRIGHT FUTURE
Today, Luisa has left behind her spot in the corner. She is a bright, talkative fifth-grader whose favorite classes are literature and science. When she's not playing with her friends at the center, she likes teaching her sisters to read and write.
Luisa doesn't yet know what she wants to be when she grows up. But she does know that whatever her occupation, whether teacher, doctor or lawyer, she will be an example to others that poverty is not the end.
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