It was a quiet, intimate dinner with Peruvian child sponsorship program graduates. To my right sat Claudio. This young man was very excited to be at this dinner and was fidgety to share his story.
His father died of alcohol abuse when Claudio was only 2. His mother, scared and drunk, soon left her four children abandoned in a one-room tin shack. At age 2, Claudio was an orphan, desperate for love and daily care yet without food, electricity, or hope.
A neighbor opened her home, and for a brief moment, someone cared. Claudio’s bed was a straw mattress soaked in urine that he shared with his sibling. Daily he scrounged to find food. Claudio was relentless. He became a survivor.
During his childhood years, he was bullied. Deep shame set into his soul. His playground was a rock pile cluttered with glass shards. His little body was cut up and bruised. Pus oozed from infected head wounds. As he tells his story, his excitement wanes; his head drops in shame.
“No one touched me,” Claudio whispered. “I was untouchable.”
When he was 4, his surrogate mother heard about a program at a local church. Though not a church-goer, she went to check it out. We smiled. The local church—the light in a dark community—rained hope into this struggling child. Claudio was registered. A new day dawned!
A loving tutor reached out to him. “She knew me, understood my struggles, honestly cared for me. Until now, no one touched me—but she did.”
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The tutor bought a bottle of shampoo and washed his hair for the first time. She tended to his head wounds. Claudio cried, “She touched me, she washed my hair! She loved me.”
Now known, loved, and protected, Claudio grew up to know and love Jesus. Today, this child sponsorship program graduate named Claudio is a pastor studying to be a missionary.
Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. —Romans 12:10–11, NIV
Prayer: Our Father, help each of us today recognize in a fresh new way the impact our lives have on others through the work of Compassion. Thank you for choosing us to be part of your holy work.
Read all the One in Spirit devotionals.