Finding Hope in the Midst of Poverty

For years Jose's family struggled to survive. Jose and his older siblings often went to bed hungry. But a group of Christians at Smirna Church in Coatepec, Mexico helped changed that.

Finding Hope in the Midst of Poverty

By: Brandy Campbell, with Gersom Paredes in Mexico   |   Posted: April 01, 2008

A church and compassion lead a family out of despair
Jose has risen to the top of his class at school, and learning about computers is one of his favorite activities.

Jose's family was lured to Coatepec, Mexico, by the rich smell of coffee and the promise of jobs. But it took only a few weeks for his parents to realize that there were hundreds of jobs for thousands of workers. His father, already retired from the post office, was too old for the back-breaking work of the coffee plantations.

A LIFE OF DESPERATION

For years Jose's family struggled to survive. Occasionally his mother would find an odd job, but his father often spent the few pesos she made on alcohol. There was never much money for food or clothes. Like most families in Coatepec, Jose and his older brothers and sisters often were malnourished and went to bed hungry.

But when Jose was an infant, a neighbor invited the family to visit Smirna Church. His father flat-out refused. But his mother clung to the kindness that the church offered. She began bringing Jose and his siblings with her to church, and Christians quietly ministered to their needs.

Even though the members of the church were equally poor, they shared what little bits of food and support they could. Eventually even the hardened heart of Jose's father began to soften. By the time Jose celebrated his first birthday, his parents had celebrated a spiritual rebirth of their own.

ANSWERED PRAYERS

But even after Jose's parents accepted Christ, they still had to battle poverty. His father's small pension didn't stretch far enough. They prayed God would provide for their needs. They also prayed that Jose would be among the 50 percent of children in their community to graduate from high school. Though uneducated themselves, Jose's parents understood that an education would open doors for their son to one day find a job and provide for his own family.

God answered their prayers when Jose was 9 and he was registered at the Amigos Child Development Center (ME-769) run by Smirna Church. Jose's sponsorship covered the cost of his school fees as well as the books and supplies he needed.

At the Compassion-assisted center, Jose receives tutoring and takes computer classes, which have helped propel him to the top of his class at school. And now, where Jose once spent his afternoons playing soccer in the crowded streets of Coatepec, he reads about and studies plants, nurturing his dreams of becoming a biologist.

FROM POVERTY TO RICHES

Jose's parents, who once prayed their son would graduate from high school, now dare to dream of college for him. Jose may have been born into a life of spiritual and physical poverty, but through the faith of his parents, the support of his sponsor, and the ministry of his church, his life is filled with riches education, salvation and a future of hope.

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