Catherine is active in her church, leading worship and Bible studies, despite the persecution she faces from her father.
"Fool! You are a FOOL!" Catherine's father stood over her, his head brushing the ceiling of the small wooden hovel the two called home. His dark eyes flashed angrily as his voice grew louder. Catherine tried to ignore her father's shouts. The teenager continued to do the very act that made him so angry she worshiped the Lord.
"Lord, I lift Your name on high. Lord, I love to sing Your praises," Catherine sang softly, tears falling down her face.
"You're insane!" her father bellowed. "Why do you cry and sing at the same time?"
"I'm so glad You're in my life. I'm so glad You came to save us &"
"You're insane! All of you born-again Christians will end up in a mental hospital!" Humming, Catherine looked down at her hands they were shaking. But her resolve was steady. She wanted to shout back. She longed to lash out at her father's contempt for her love of God. But she couldn't.
In her shaking hands was a tangible example of God's love. It was a letter from her sponsor. One that reminded her that God loves her. That a world away, her sponsor was praying for her. Praying about a moment like this.
Instead of shouting, Catherine prayed aloud. "I know, Lord, that I am not losing my mind," her voice, calm and steady, lifted above her father's shouts. "I know Lord, that You will take care of me, and that it is worth serving You no matter what." And thus ended another prayer session at Catherine's house.
Like thousands of Compassion-assisted children, Catherine faces daily ridicule and persecution for her belief in Christ. The discordant sounds of worship and shouts are common in homes where Christians aren't welcome.
While becoming a Christian seems a rite of passage for many Westerners, in some countries professing your faith could result in abandonment and ostracism. But still Catherine worships. Because she knows God hears her prayers.
Dangers All Around
"Almost every night I sit here, cross my legs and begin worshiping Jesus," says Catherine, 16, who accepted Christ into her heart last year while attending the Shekinah Student Center (PH-600). "And almost every night, too, my father is drunk and ridicules me, shouting, making sure the neighbors hear his mocking."
Catherine lives with her parents and three siblings in a one-room shack made of thin plywood. She must stoop to enter her home, and once inside she and her family have to squat or crawl across the floor. Outside, the busy streets of Pasay City are filled with criminals, prostitutes and drug dealers.
"This is a dangerous neighborhood," says Catherine. "But sometimes I am more afraid of what goes on inside our house." Catherine needed a shelter from her father's violent rages. Through her Compassion sponsor, she found a protector.
Escape and a Blessing
Catherine's sponsor, Leanne, is more than a provider for Catherine's physical needs. Her letters have served as a lifeline for the teen. In a world of violence and danger, Leanne provides peace and love. Catherine often shares Leanna's letters with her family, and a few months ago, her mother also accepted Christ.
"If not for my sponsorship," says Catherine, "I would not have faith in God. My mother would not have faith in God."
Trust in Her Heavenly Father
Catherine says she will not quit telling her father about Jesus, despite his harassment. She prays for him daily, that God will change his heart.
While she used to argue with her father, matching his angry words with her own, she now raises her voice in prayer, asking blessings for her father.
"My father does not like our faith. He attacks my faith. But I know that I can trust my heavenly Father. He is in my heart. He is the only one I can truly count on. He is the only one who can help my family."
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