Lucia had made up her mind. When no one — not even the police — would help her, desperation
fired her resolve to leave Guatemala and her abusive, violent father behind.
At just 16, she marshalled the courage to say goodbye to her home, her mother, and her sisters, and to try to make a new life in the United States.
Ernesto spent his childhood living on the streets in Honduras. The only family he ever knew were cousins who bullied and stole from him. But despite those daily hardships, his hope and positive spirit propelled him to seek a better life in America.
Last year, Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service worked with regional partners to place 2,250 children, like Lucia and Ernesto, in loving environments. Your support makes this incredible blessing possible.
Without you, unaccompanied minors like Lucia and Ernesto are tragically vulnerable, often falling prey to the same kind of exploitation and abuse they left home to escape.
Lucia and Ernesto placed all their hope in the possibility of a new life in America; and thanks to you, they found the support they needed through our partner Bethany Christian Services.
These two kids had to overcome such hardships, yet neither dwelled on the past. Both took full advantage of the support and help they were given, finding strength in the people around them — and eventually, in each other!
Ernesto and Lucia eventually married and built a life together. Today they have a home, steady jobs, and a beautiful little girl.
And they have not forgotten your kindness. Even at such a young age, they are deeply committed to giving back. For nearly three years, this couple fostered a young man with learning delays. “We were alone when we got here,” says Lucia. “So we wanted to help others that went through the same thing as us.”
Lucia has also been grateful and overjoyed to help her sisters make their way in the United States, and she hopes their mother can someday join them.
Lucia and Ernesto demonstrate how you help love grow through Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service. But right now, more child immigrants and refugees are desperate for welcome.
Today 5 million refugee children suffer throughout the world. As a result, we have seen an alarming increase in the number of children who arrive at our nation’s borders alone and exposed to every imaginable danger.
Through our programs for children, you meet these children with love. You help provide them with food, clothing, medical care, legal assistance, life skills training, and much more.
Your support forever changed the lives of Lucia and Ernesto. And today you can change the fates of more children looking for safety and hope as you continue to be Christ’s hands of welcome through Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service!
Also in this issue:
- Your Support at Work
- SPOTLIGHT: Tulsa Church Embraces Its Mission of Welcome
- Celebrate Refugee Sunday
- From Linda to You