Bertico runs his own woodworking shop. He learned practical skills and met his future wife, Nancy, in the Evangelic Jacagua School (DR-300). He is pictured (third from the left) with Nancy, their son and staff.
José Alberto De Leon Peñ¡ ·as born in Jacagua in the province of Santiago, Dominican Republic. At the age of four he entered the Compassion program at the Evangelic Jacagua School (DR-300) where he participated until finishing high school.
When José Alberto was six, his father was killed in a traffic accident. The situation became too difficult for his mother, who didn't have a way to support her two children. The church that administered Compassion's program through the school was sensitive to the hardship and began to find ways to help the family.
At the age of nine, Bertico (José Alberto's nickname) accepted Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior at the Evangelic Jacagua School. There he developed the painting skills that became the base for the job he mastered years later. Working as a painter, Bertico saved enough money to buy the tools and machines necessary to set up his own shop.
Now, Bertico runs his own well-equipped cabinetmaking shop. His wife works with him. They met at the Evangelic Jacagua School and were later married.
Bertico and Nancy have six employees. Every Monday morning they get together to read the Bible and pray that God will help and protect them in the new week. The employees are not Christians but one of them testifies, "Now I know how to pray and I can sing some songs I have learned."
Bertico and Nancy are grateful to Compassion and their sponsors. Two years ago Bertico and Nancy became sponsors themselves when they helped seven-year-old Luis Nando Feliz through a local church project (not affiliated with Compassion) in the town of Barahona. Their sponsorship made it possible for Luis to attend primary school.
"I felt so happy to sponsor Luis for one year," Bertico says. "I'd like to sponsor another child." Bertico helps out in the Compassion project by teaching crafts and painting to the children. He is also an elder at the Biblical Christian Church of Jacagua where he helps with the youth. Nancy teaches Sunday school there.
Bertico has not forgotten where he came from or who helped him get to where he is today. His pastor, Víe´or Parra, says, "Bertico is a very hardworking young man and he takes good care of his mother." He has discovered firsthand that "it is more blessed to give than receive."
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