In 2010 I spent a period of time in Guatemala fulfilling my practicum requirement for my Masters Degree. I did a language learning practicum, and focused the majority of my time and efforts there to begin learning Spanish. However, while I was there, I was intentional to spend time volunteering in a school for the underprivileged children from the rural villages surrounding the city. I also took the time to intentionally invest in the lives of three boys, Gregorio, Juan Carlos, and Martin who were homeless boys working as shoe-shiners in the central park of the city. These boys have never been afforded the privilege of knowing what it should be like to be a child; adventure, playing, hanging out, and being cared for. Instead, since as young as they could walk, these boys have been working selling candy, memorabilia, and now shoe-shining just to be able to survive.
Education was never something these three boys had afforded to them, though they are quite intelligent. From working, shining shoes of rich tourists who mostly speak English, they each have picked up some English words and phrases. Their minds are prime for learning, but rather than being able to get a solid education they are working for survival. While many children here in the United States have education as an assumed basic aspect and right of their childhood, many of the children of Latin America (and throughout many regions of the world) will never have such a privilege available to them. Survival is and will be their main focus and goal. These three boys remind me of that often, as I remember them in my thoughts and prayers.
These three boys have been a major part of God’s calling me to found and help lead Abogar International Ministries. While, unfortunately, I have not been able to help Gregorio, Juan Carlos, nor Martin in pursuing an education, these three boys are a catalyst and motivational reminder to me of why Abogar exists. These three boys have a story of life that is very common throughout all of Latin America. While we are still in the early stages as an organization, I am excited for the time when we will be able to offer support to enable children to receive a solid education, watching them complete basic levels of education up through college and graduate studies. Though I have only been able to provide some meals for these three boys, their plight and challenge in life also reminds and inspires me to see how Abogar International Ministries can be involved in feeding other children who are malnourished and starving. Gregorio, Juan Carlos, and Martin have no real family to be a part of, as they work in the streets year round. We at Abogar understand that the situation of these three boys is not exclusive to them, and we will work hard and long to see a multitude of children, that are just like these three boys, get to have Christ-centered homes, family, and education.
One thing I, and Abogar, have been able to provide in these three boys lives is the most important and significant thing we could ever share with them… the knowledge of Jesus Christ, His great love for them, and His desire to know them in a personal love relationship. While it will be awesome in 20 years from now, to be able to look back over time and see how many children we will have placed in Christ-centered homes, families, and education, it blesses my heart even more to know that we have already introduced many children, including these three boys, to the precious eternity-changing, life-altering, awesome love of Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior! These three boys remind me that there is an eternal need for this multitude of children; to encounter and personally know the love of Jesus Christ! While homes, family, and education will be high markers for our success as an organization, they pale in comparison to the work we have and will continue to do in sharing the truth, love, and light of Jesus Christ as we invite these children to personal love relationships with Him!!
Join me in thanking God for these three boys… these three boys who have challenged and blessed my life so tremendously. Please pray for these three boys, as well as the more than 40 million children who are homeless and in the streets of Latin America… that God will raise up people to love them with His love and provide for them with His provision! These three boys… how they have touched and blessed me. Thank You, God, for these three boys!!