Marí¡ José ³tanding beside some of the furniture her 60-year-old father makes to support the family.
"I want to study and become a manager. This is how I will be able to help more people." This is the firm purpose of Marí¡ José¬ an 18-year-old sponsored girl from Ecuador. In spite of scarce resources, Marí¡ José §raduated from high school and is currently studying in her first semester at the local university. Her father, who is more than 60 years old, works temporarily as a carpenter and can barely support his family. Marí¡ José§³ mother is a housewife and takes care of her two other daughters and a baby grandchild.
Marí¡ José ©s aware of the results of poverty: "Many times I saw my father desperate for not having money for food or to pay for our education. He had to work very hard and even take loans to be able to support us."
However, her family's desperation and hopelessness have become an inspiration for Marí¡ José® "Sometimes we didn't have new clothes or shoes. Many times we only ate lunch and not dinner. But God never abandoned us, and this motivated me to continue studying." Marí¡ José ¨as continued her studies and says, "I want to become a commercial engineer to help support my family. In the future, I would like to establish a company and help other children like me."
Marí¡ José ¨asn't been alone in her endeavor. From the time she was young, her parents have taught her biblical principles, and she reaffirmed these principles in a Compassion International project. She accepted Jesus Christ as her Savior in the project when she was 14 years old, and since then has been more involved in the work of her local church. She serves as a Sunday school teacher and collaborates enthusiastically with the praise ministry during the services. "The church's leaders invited me to participate in a musical group and I accepted because I like singing, but especially because music is a way of attracting more youngsters for Jesus Christ."
Her strong motivation has resulted from the years in which Compassion has helped her family: "Many times, my father didn't have money to register me in high school and now at the university. Nevertheless, (Compassion) has always helped me through my sponsor, and that has been the tool used by God for me to go on."
This resolve has not been easy for Marí¡ José¬ as she comes from a poor social and economic background in a heavily populated neighborhood. In this area - as in other extremely poor neighborhoods - delinquency and gangs have increased considerably, jeopardizing the security of families like Marí¡ José§³, and robbing hope from the youngsters in her neighborhood.
However, Marí¡ José§³ determination seems unbreakable, and she is confident her dreams will become reality. ". I intend to graduate even though I must work to do it. When I was little, I thought I would become someone in life, but I didn't imagine I would go so far."
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