Compassion Project Director Efraí® has a new lease on life.
The sound of gunfire was deafening - then Efraí®§s left leg exploded in pain as a bullet shattered bone and ripped through flesh, throwing him to the ground. Mistaken for a drug dealer, the 18-year-old former gang member who had recently accepted Christ was now a cripple for life.
The amputation of his leg threw Efraí® into self-destructive depression. His wife continued to strengthen her faith in Christ and pray for her husband's emotional healing, but Efraí® sank deeper into alcohol and drugs. After a five-year struggle, Efraí® was convicted by the Holy Spirit to come back to the Lord. He returned to church and began working with children.
At first, working at the church was uncomfortable for Efraí® as children pointed and whispered about his missing leg. Despite the children's comments, however, Efraí® persevered. In 2001, Efrain's church partnered with Compassion to open the student project center. Efraí®§s pastor, Luciano, who was inspired by Efraí®§s love for children and growth in faith, proposed that Efraí® become the student center director. Efraí® graciously accepted.
But tragedy pierced Efraí®§s heart again in 2003, when he discovered that a girl attending the project had been sexually abused by several men. Filled with grief, both Efraí® and Pastor Luciano worked relentlessly on the case, providing counseling for the girl and involving local authorities, despite their own lives being threatened.
Though a bitter experience, Efraí® and Pastor Luciano's efforts to rescue the abused child came to light and earned credibility for the church leaders as child advocates in the community. Efraí® recalls that "Compassion opened the eyes of a community" through the incident.
Today, working as Project Director, Efraí® couldn't be happier. The joy and trust he receives from the children have helped heal Efraí® of the emotional pain of losing his leg. "The children are my psychologists," Efraí® says with a smile, and their love gives him new strength to carry on.
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