Strike one … born into a squatters community. Strike two … alcoholic father.
On the outskirts of San Salvador, El Salvador, a little girl named Beatriz started out life with two strikes against her. Her mother couldn’t read or write. She tried to earn money selling food on the street. Life was hard. Beatriz knew hunger — and the violence associated with alcoholism.
“When an evangelical church near our home began to build a school, my mother saw a way out for me and enrolled me in the first grade,” Beatriz remembers.
“I had a sponsor, so I could study and receive a daily meal … but there was more to this school. I learned stories from the Bible, sang Christian songs, began attending church, and learned about a God who loved me.”
Beatriz’s mother wondered what it was all about, and finally she began to attend church with her daughter. Soon, she and Beatriz’s father both came to new life in Christ. What a radical transformation! Living with his new values as a Christ-follower, Dad began drinking less, thinking of his family more, and working harder. Within a couple of years, he was able to buy a real house in a middle- class neighborhood.
“Although we moved away from my Christian school, it was a move for the better, and the Gospel that had been planted in our lives continued to bless our home,” Beatriz says.
“I only attended my LACC-sponsored school for two years, but it was two years that totally transformed my destiny and that of my entire family.”
Beatriz went on to study at a Christian university in El Salvador, and then to North Central University in Minneapolis. There she met Daniel, now her husband. Today, they are missionaries in Nicaragua, teaching at the Bible school and training ministers.
“Who would have thought — with all those strikes against me back in the squatters town — that I would one day be teaching at a university?” says Beatriz today.
“Daniel and I are now Latin America ChildCare sponsors ourselves, helping a child here in Nicaragua experience the new life and hope that my sponsors once made possible for me.”
The power of God’s love, expressed through Latin America ChildCare, has come full circle in Beatriz’s life. What a legacy!