Despite Oscar’s destructive behavior, the Compassion center staff persisted in showing him kindness and love. Whenever a tutor sent Oscar to see Peniel, the center director, after one of the child’s angry outbursts, the director always patiently talked with him, encouraging him to adopt godly behavior.
Additionally, in his center classes, tutors modeled positive values and, most importantly, showed him the love of God. Although Oscar felt empowered by their encouragement that he was a child of God and a natural leader, when he went home he was intensely lonely.
“Neighbors used to tell me that I was going to end up as a drug addict, a thief. They threw stones and yelled at me,” says Oscar.
It wasn’t long until Oscar believed those lies. He and a group of friends formed a gang and began stealing. Oscar says it was all a joke until the day a farm owner from whom Oscar was caught stealing shot at him.
“While I was running away, I saw my entire life flash across my mind. I was so scared. I was only 16 years old,” says Oscar.
Shortly after the frightening incident, Oscar's mentors at the Compassion center invited him to a church youth service. He decided to go, bringing along the members of his gang. That night, Oscar says he decided to change, to be a new person.
“Compassion was the mediator between an evil world and having Jesus in my life,” says Oscar. “Compassion guided me and took me from the bad things I was doing to the man I have become. All the good things I now know, the passion to serve the Lord and the love I have for people, I learned here at the center. If I had not been part of Compassion, my life would still be surrounded by chaos, and I might even be dead by now.”