When I came here to the Dominican Republic the first time I never knew what I was getting myself into. In fact, there was a boy that was in the Children’s Home that, to be honest, I saw as just a punk who did not want anything to do with anyone.
Now, five years later that boy lives with me. His name is Jean Carlos de Peña.
Jean Carlos grew up in a very hard situation. His mother was not able to take care of him and had no other family that was able to. His grandfather is a minister and was one of the initial people to bring the Church of Christ to Santiago. At one point in his life he was living on the street with his mom and some of his siblings. His grandfather knew of the Children’s Home here and had him put in, along with two of his brothers and his sister. While here, the three boys rarely got to visit their family were normally left behind here when the other kids left for vacation.
When I came back as an intern, Jean Carlos was the only one of his siblings left here in the Home. Jenifer had left shortly after she arrived, Alberto left and went to the States to live, and Antonio left the Home shortly after Alberto had gone.
As I said before, he was usually left
behind when most of the kids had gone home. For this, he was here in the summers when there were not that many kids here.
It was that first summer that I got to know that punk kid who I had many two years back. He opened up his rock hard outer shell to show me a broken but huge heart inside. He was someone dying for attention and love.
God used this boy to open my heart to a new world. I am forever gra
teful to him and the way he allowed God to use him, even though he had no idea.
I have many stories of the time I have spent with him but a new development in our relationship has come up in the last month or so.
His brother, Antonio, was kicked out of the Children’s Home shortly after Alberto had left for the states. He was quite a terror from all that I hear. But even thru that, he was also someone who was looking for love and attention.
Thru my relationship with Jean Carlos I have been able to get back in touch with Antonio and create a new friendship with him.
Antonio is someone who needs prayers, like the rest of us. He is someone looking for God. He knows what the world has to offer him, but has realized that the worlds offerings will not fill his needs. To be honest, I did nothing. He came running, like the prodigal son, a few weeks back and God did the rest. He worked thru my amazing cousin, Weston, to be able to talk to him and help him find direction for his life. He is still working, as we all are, but making the right steps toward his Savior.
Thru Antonio we were able to go on this retreat this past weekend. God used Antonio to talk to Jean Carlos and something beautiful happened.
The last night of the retreat we had a beautiful devotional. Many people responded and as we were singing Antonio said he felt the urge to talk to Jean Carlos. They talked for a little bit and Jean Carlos responded to the gospel of Jesus Christ and was baptized. He could not even wait until Sunday and went right then with three other people to a very cold river and was baptized. It was beautiful.
I can not say that I did anything. God used me as a very small piece in the puzzle of many pieces.
I can not even begin to mention all the pieces of this puzzle, but I am so very thankful for everything that has been done for his boy and am so proud and excited to be able to say that he is now a brother in Christ.
Please pray for him in his new walk with Christ. He will fail, as we all do but help him to know that even when he falls or even runs away, he will always be welcome back into the family of God and will be right there for him to embrace him.
I could not be more happy. You have had in plans something very special for this boy named Jean Carlos. There have been so many pieces to this puzzle that have helped him to make the decision to give his life to you. I was a very small one, but I am grateful for the privilege to be one. Antonio was one, and for him I am grateful. Brian and Tammie were huge instruments in getting him here to the Home.
LORD, thank you so much for the decision Jean Carlos has made. Be with him in his walk with you. Hold his hand and help him to know that you are holding him even when he is turned the other way.
I love you everyday!