Seeing the possibility of a different way of life
As children, twins, Daniel and Daniela, used to wake every morning to sunlight streaming through the holes in their roof. Life was tough for them as a family. Their father, Jose, struggled to get consistent work because he battled addictions that affected his physical and mental health.
Even so, there were glimmers of hope for the children when they started to attend a Compassion project run by their local church. “The people at the project were very kind and loving to us. We’re sure that our dad knew there was a different atmosphere at the project to our life at home, and that’s why he let us go,” says Daniela.
Like many children, at first Daniel and Daniela mainly liked going to the project for all snacks and meals. But it wasn’t long before the project became a second home for the twins—they received not just food, but clothes, medicine, and care for all their needs. And as they interacted with the staff and volunteers, they began to see a different way of life could be theirs through faith in Jesus Christ.
Struggling through dark days of addiction
Jose was a hardworking man by nature, but his struggle with alcohol and drug addiction made getting work very difficult.
“He had strange habits like going out in the yard unusually often,” says Daniel. “And there was always loud music in the house when he was drinking with his friends.”
Daniel and Daniela found their time at the Compassion project drew a stark contrast with the atmosphere at home. Even though they knew their father loved them, they could feel how oppressive his life was and how he couldn’t really be present for them.
“I don’t think we ever told our dad back then,” says Daniel, “but one day, my sister and I followed him into the backyard. We were about 10 years old at the time. That’s when we saw he was going outside to use drugs.”
Faith that leads to transformation
“At the project, the tutors and volunteers taught us about Jesus and about how it’s possible to live in ways that are pleasing to God. We came to see how real God was and how much truth there is in the Bible’s teaching. We each decided to follow Jesus and to obey Him,” says Daniel.
Daniel and Daniela were baptised and began attending church regularly. However, they felt even more keenly the contrast between the choices they were making compared to their dad’s and longed for him to know Jesus too.
One particular day, Daniel and Daniela came home to find a house party going on with loud music, alcohol everywhere, and their dad dancing and drinking.
Daniela says, “I looked my dad in the eye and said, ‘Dad, we are Christians, and you shouldn’t be listening to that kind of music.’ After that, we never heard that kind of music at home again! I never imagined that that would be the phrase God would use to start an extraordinary change in our dad’s life!”
Jose started going along to church with his children. Daniel and Daniela began to see how, little by little, he was changing; he became less argumentative and less grumpy.
“We realised that he’d accepted Jesus one Sunday when he came home smiling after church. He looked so different, so happy! He hugged us and told us the news and we understood that all these years of praying for our dad hadn’t been in vain,” says Daniel.
From that day on, Jose and his wife gave up drugs and alcohol. They started going to church as a family and soon after, they decided to start holding services outside the front of their house, witnessing to their neighbours and anyone who passed by.
Since Jose was no longer spending money on alcohol and drugs, the family had more for their living costs which helped them significantly. He then began a grocery business, repaired their home, and transformed into a father who was invested in his children, fun to be around and full of encouragement.
The beautiful gift of restoration
“Dad is now our example,” says Daniel. “We read the Bible and pray together. We never thought that going to the project would change our lives this much.”
Daniela agrees. “We’re very grateful to God and the project for all the help they’ve given us throughout our lives. But the greatest and most beautiful gift we’ve ever received has been Jesus and our dad.”
Prayers for children and families struggling with addiction
- Pray for families where addiction is damaging relationships and stifling hope. Pray for the love of God to shine from the ministry of our local church partners as they reach out in love with the power of the gospel to transform lives.
- Pray for children who live in vulnerable circumstances where caregivers struggle to protect or nurture them. Pray that the children receive consistent love and meaningful care at their Compassion projects, providing them with stability and hope, so that they can head towards a brighter future.
- Ask God to watch over every child in our Compassion projects throughout the world, ensuring they are known, loved and protected. Pray that by God’s mercy, they and their families would be empowered to break free from the negative cycles addiction so often causes.
See, I am doing a new thing!
Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the wilderness
and streams in the wasteland.
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