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How This Teenager Found Hope Amidst Drugs, Gangs and Prostitution

Drug dealing was part of life in Angelica’s family. But when this little girl met Christ, everything changed.


Hope in Lorega

Drug dealing was part of life in Angelica’s family. But when this little girl met Christ, everything changed.

There was a time when no one dared enter Lorega, a neighbourhood of Cebu City in the Philippines.

“Say the name ‘Lorega’, people will associate you with drug addiction and prostitution,” explains Beth Tabasa, director of a Compassion project called ‘Loving My Neighbour’ which is run in partnership with Cebu City Alliance Church.

The reputation of this community weighed heavily on those who lived there. Children who grew up in Lorega, like Angelica, believed their future had been preordained for them.

Angelica’s father worked for a local drug lord. Her family’s survival was dependent on the underworld of crime and gang warfare.

“I was exposed to drug selling, drug abuse and drug running. Even in our home,” says the young woman. “I used to think, ‘Angelica, you are not good enough.’”

Angelica didn’t dare dream that life could be different. That was until a Compassion sponsor stepped into her life.

More than just material poverty

Many of Lorega’s problems are underpinned by poverty. Within the narrow maze of dark alleyways and ramshackle homes, the need is clear.

But poverty goes much deeper than a lack of material possessions.

It’s a lack of hope.

“I remember asking a group of parents from this community, ‘what are your dreams?’ Most of the mothers cried,” recalls pastor Davis, who leads Cebu City Alliance Church.

Pastor Davis was determined to change their outlook.

“One of my mentors said, ‘love the people and God will supply all your needs,’” he continues. “Our partnership with Compassion is part of this. It instils into children there is hope, in spite of poverty.”

Partnering with Compassion

In a community where education is sporadic and children often go hungry – Compassion’s provision of healthcare, nutritious meals and education was warmly received.

But transformation with Compassion goes even further.

“Finding faith in God gave me hope. The most important thing was that I became free,” says Angelica – beaming with delight.

Support from Compassion project staff was supplemented by Angelica’s sponsor who wrote letters of encouragement to the young girl and prayed fervently for her and her family.

Through them, Angelica learnt of a God who loved her deeply and had wonderful plans for her future.

Slowly, she began to imagine a different future; one where drugs and gangs didn’t feature. It sparked a significant change in her outlook and her attitude.

“My sponsor used to encourage me and say I could be a great impact to this nation. I am so thankful for her prayers for my family. My family saw me change and now they are changed,” says Angelica, with tears of joy.

“If I had not been part of the [Compassion] programme, I don’t know where I would be today. Maybe I would have become a drug addict or prostitute.”

Hope reflecting in Lorega

A living testimony

Angelica spent much of her childhood believing she had no power to shape the course of her future. Now this young woman is impacting lives across her community.

“I really thank God for my sponsor because through her, I graduated Bible school. I am now a teacher,” she says with a smile.

“I want to use my life as a living testimony for those people that don’t know Christ yet.”

Children in Angelica’s classes don’t just hear about the transforming power of God’s love – they see it modelled in their teacher’s life.

Angelica is someone they can look up to, confide in and aspire to be. And, just as her sponsor prayed, Angelica is having a great impact on her nation through this community.

Hope and children in community

Hope is infectious

With the support of Compassion sponsors from across the globe, change is now taking place across Lorega.

“Because of the work of the church and the work of Compassion, Lorega is now totally different,” says Pastor Davis. “Before there were shootings. Today Lorega is totally open to the gospel. Families are being transformed.”

Church in Lorega

The story of Lorega is one that gives us all hope. A community once filled with fear is now filled with hope – and it’s the children who are leading the way.

The story of Lorega is remarkable but it’s not unique. Across the world there are communities held in the grip of poverty, where children have little to hope for.

By sponsoring a child with Compassion, you're helping to inspire change. Thank you for bringing real hope and lasting change to a child born into the injustice of poverty. 



WORDS : Compassion UK

PHOTOS : Compassion International


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