Juan David (right), his mom and his brother today.
Editor's note: In 1999, members of Compassion staff interviewed Juan David when he was 8 years old. Five years later, Compassion staff interviewed him. Here's his story - both then and now:
Juan David in 1999
Just before Juan David was registered at the DR-305 Student Center in San Cristobal, his father was killed in a tragic construction accident. Juan David lost his father but gained a newfound faith for Jesus.
"Jesus Christ is like a father to me; He gives me love and joy," Juan, just eight at the time, said.
Juan's mother, Mrs. Galnez, said it was her son's witness that drew her to Christ.
"When Juan David comes home from the project, he tells me about Jesus Christ with so much enthusiasm. Because of him I am now a Christian," she said.
Recalling the havoc wreaked by Hurricane George in their community that year, Mrs. Galnez remembered her boy's response to the tragedy and the family's damaged home: "My son wanted to pray for other people who were suffering more in the storm than we were," she exclaimed!
Five Years of Changes
Today, Juan David is an engaging teenager with a gentle sense of humor.
"Since you visited me, I've grown taller," he says, smiling.
"And thanks to the Lord and my mom's hard work, we've been able to slowly rebuild our home. My brothers and I helped to carry sand and the concrete blocks. We also have electricity and running water," he adds.
A Growing Faith, a New Dream
One thing in Juan's life hasn't changed - his hunger for Christ and his desire to share the Good News.
"I have really grown in my relationship with God," says Juan, now a teenager. "I love to preach to the other kids in my community. I could just shout about my wonderful relationship with God!"
Though he will never stop sharing Christ with others, the compassionate teenager has a career goal.
"I love to help people. And I would love to study general medicine and later become a pediatric specialist - I enjoy children!" he says.
A Sponsor's Legacy
The young teenager has wonderful things to say about his Australian sponsors. "My favorite part about being sponsored," says Juan, "is having somebody who believes in me and sticks with me through difficult times.
"My sponsors have never abandoned me. They've always taken care of me, just like my mother does! I do not have enough words to express my gratitude to them. I wish I could . greet them directly," he says, laughing!
"You know, without Compassion, my life would be a disaster," Juan concludes.
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