Over the last couple of years, we have really enjoyed the opportunities when we have been able to spend time with and mentor several of the graduates from our children’s homes who are now living here in Lima while they work or study. We are passionate about walking alongside them as they transition towards independence and about encouraging them to continue their walk with the Lord.
In 2016, apart from meeting with a few of the young men regularly, we have had the opportunity to celebrate birthdays together, help one of the guys to navigate the confusing Peruvian health system as he needed to receive daily treatment for Tuberculosis, help some of the boys look for jobs, host a few in our apartment as they get accustomed to Lima, and invite many them to attend church with us.
As I think about these interactions from over the past few months, specifically a young man named Julio comes to mind (though I have changed the name to protect his privacy).
Julio left one of our homes in early 2014 under less than ideal circumstances. He had not finished high school yet, but his older brother along with a number of his older friends graduated from the Girasoles program and had moved on from the home. Julio was 16 at the time, and therefore was old enough to make the decision to leave with his brother and move to Lima despite our encouragement for him to stay at the home and at least finish high school. He planned to finish his final two years in Lima, but his plans didn’t really pan out and he needed to find a job to sustain himself. But, finding a decent job at his age without a high school diploma is a steep task — and one that didn’t leave any time for him to continue studying. Eventually he dropped out of school and got involved with the wrong crowd. A string of bad decisions led to some legal troubles that scared him enough to give us a call in July 2016. He felt like he had hit rock bottom.
Since then, we have had some hard conversations, and he has shared many of his personal struggles. The underlying issue is that he just felt very alone. Kate and I have had the opportunity to continually be present in his life. He lived with us for a couple of months while we helped him through some of his legal issues. He has since found a job and a room to rent. We are helping to support him as he works on finishing up his last year of high school (he graduates in April 2017), and he has become active in our church’s youth group. He still has struggles, and he doesn’t always understand God’s plan for him, but he knows he is not alone. We are so proud of Julio, and thankful that the Lord has given us the opportunity to be a part of his life!
Please pray for Julio and all of the other young men who have transitioned or who are getting ready to transition toward independence. Pray that the Lord would direct their path, and pray the He would place people in their lives who can continue to guide them.
– Billy & Kate