I grew up with my stepfather and his children. Being the oldest child, I was entrusted with the food preparation and housework responsibilities. One day, because I didn’t want to take care of my stepfather’s children anymore, my mother told me to leave the house. I was only 15 years old. I packed my clothes in two plastic bags and looked for my friends to help me, but they all turned their backs on me.
I thought of ending my life. Everything seemed absurd, and I planned to throw myself down a cliff. Along the way, I met an elderly friend who told me, “Just remember the good things.” The day passed, and I climbed a nearby mountain, still intending to end my life, but then I remembered my friend’s words. In that moment, I realized that I was not alone, that God was with me and had always been by my side.
For two weeks I slept in the parks of Villa de Leyva. Eventually I found work in a fast food restaurant and saved enough money to pay rent. For a month I slept in an apartment without furniture. God then gave me a good-paying job as a security guard. I managed to save up enough to start studying gastronomy to be a chef and one day set up my own restaurant.
Although I was persecuted by problems and difficulties, I have been able to recover, and I trust that God has given me a second chance and purpose to serve humanity and achieve my goals. I want to be useful to society and help others.
I was always different from others. I never smoked and was never in heavy environments. I thought I was weird, but now I’ve realized this was God’s way of freeing me from troubles and making me a better person.
After finishing my studies, I met Loma Linda Campestre ministry,* who have been like a family to me. They have given me love, and I have managed to improve my self-esteem and make better decisions. I have learned again what family is all about, and how to work as a team.
I have learned to face crises, and I feel strengthened, full of joy, because God is with me and never abandons me. God has great purposes for my life and for all those who believe in Him.
*Loma Linda Campestre is a ministry operated by Freddy and Connie Castro, and supported through Hartland’s Lord, Send Me program. Freddy Castro is an alumnus of Hartland College.