Have you ever met someone whose story stops you in your tracks?
For me, this is Nataly. A girl who spent her first months as a new-born in a cardboard box in a glass factory at her mother‚Äôs side. Then a young lady who beat 500 applicants for one of three roles at the local prosecutor‚Äôs office on the outskirts of Lima, Peru. And now a woman who refuses to be defined by poverty.
The oldest of three children, Nataly‚Äôs father was a drug addict who abandoned her mother while she was still pregnant. Forced to work 14 hour days as a factory worker for little income, Nataly‚Äôs mum would leave her baby girl with the family across the road.
But at the age of seven, Nataly was sponsored through Compassion and her life changed.
At the Compassion project, Nataly was given meals, a place to study and facilities to do her homework including a library. ‚ÄúThis help made me become the best student in class, which continued until I finished high school,‚ÄĚ says Nataly. She spoke up on behalf of her fellow students when they were bullied and was elected as the student body president at her junior school.
Nataly shares, ‚ÄúMost of the children in my community think no-one loves them but when I went to the Compassion project and learnt about God and His love, it changed my life. I remember I felt lonely and without anyone, but at the Compassion project I felt happy.‚ÄĚ
Life was still hard and every day Nataly had to fight. She was able to get a university scholarship to study to become a lawyer but still had to get a job to support her family and cover the costs of her books. She struggled with loneliness, her father unexpectedly appearing in her life and helping with her younger sister who was born with Down‚Äôs syndrome and a heart condition.
Fighting for justice
But nothing stopped this remarkable lady. Passionate about justice, Nataly applied for a role at the local prosecutor‚Äôs office along with 500 applicants. After four rounds of interviews and despite being inexperienced, Nataly was chosen along with two experienced attorneys.
The support of a sponsor helps children to be better and stronger than they could ever imagine. I never thought I could achieve all of this. And I am still fighting. I provide for my family and I teach my brother to face obstacles and I feel proud because he has learnt a lot from me. I will always help my mum and sister. If I have the chance to help others, I do it so I can reach justice.
Today Nataly is a force to be reckoned with. She gives speeches at local Compassion projects on children‚Äôs rights, preventing family violence and sexual abuse as well as advice for single mothers. She helps her mum provide for their family. And the day I met her, she had come straight from the court room where she had helped to secure justice in a murder case.
‚ÄúI thank Compassion as I can achieve all of this because of the love God put in the heart of my sponsor. The role a sponsor has in the life of a child is simple - my sponsor made a difference in my life so if people are thinking of sponsoring a child, don‚Äôt stop.
Make a decision and change a life. Because if you are able to invest in the life of a child, you cannot imagine the change that can be made or how far that child can go.‚ÄĚ
Pray for children like Nataly
Father God, we praise you for the love and care Nataly received from her local church and Compassion sponsor. We give you the glory that you were at work in her life, providing for her in the midst of challenging times.¬†
Lord, we thank you that Nataly has come to know the truth about your love for her. We thank you that she knows she is a precious creation.
We pray for Nataly in her work as she seeks justice for others, advocating on behalf of the vulnerable and marginalised in her community.¬†
Father, we lift up other children around the world who were born into brokenness. We pray that, like Nataly, they would be given love and encouragement from those around them, including their local church.¬† We pray that no child would be left feeling worthless or uncared for.
In Jesus' precious name, amen.