Joel Van Dyke, our friend and mission partner in Guatemala sent us this update about a recent breakfast with organizations who serve the needs of street youth. This update does an incredible job of bridging Reparando and Becoming Fools and also explains how this project is so much more than a film.
Update From Joel[divider style=”thin”]
Yesterday morning I had a profound experience that I feel compelled to share with you all. I had breakfast with 14 year-old Gabriela. The profound part of the experience was that I did not even know I was having breakfast with her until after the breakfast was finished. As I stood up to speak, I saw her …. I forgot where I was for a minute and immediately ran over to give her a huge hug suddenly realizing that I needed to hold my composure in order to make the “presentation” I had been asked to give.
I was invited to cast the vision for a street youth focused conference to a group of ministry leaders, pastors and organizational executives who have begun to meet together once a month over breakfast in Guatemala City. Fourteen different churches, organizations and para-church ministries all lead by Guatemalan’s have been meeting to see what they can do collaboratively for the street kids of Guatemala that they have not been able to achieve on their own. Having never met each prior to these gatherings, they are now uniting, praying together, meeting at their respective ministry sites and making collaborative plans on how to serve and work together. The vision of the Becoming Fools film project has seeded this movement towards synergistic collaboration and the film will tell their collective story to mobilize resources for their united and expanding vision. A vision that is turning them into “fools” for children like Gabriela.
So who is Gabriela and what is it about her story that compels me to want to take the time to write this? It is, actually, deeply personal!!
My family and I first met Gabriela when she was attending Tita Evertsz’ school in La Limonada. We felt very drawn to her and her little sister Elena. They came over to our home for several weekend sleep over’s to have play-time with our kids and our neighbors.
After several years, however, Gabriela went the way of the streets leaving a very dysfunctional and abusive home environment. We lost complete contact with her until a year ago when Tita called to tell us that she had been brutally beaten and then left to die in the “river” (“sewer water”) of La Limonada. We were heartbroken for the little girl that we had played with in our home on several occasions. Miraculously, she survived the attack and was brought to a Guatemala City hospital where she eventually recovered from her near death encounter.
When released from the hospital, Gabriela went back to the streets and eventually turned up in the group of street kids at the “tanque”, where Italo poured out his life. From there she was loved and nurtured enough to desire changes in her life and eventually accepted an invitation to move off of the streets and into Shorty’s rehabilitation program, convincing her family to move in with her. Yesterday, she was having breakfast with us because Italo’s sister Velvet had promised to bring her to a medical clinic immediately after the meeting. I had no idea she would be there but like the metaphor of the repaired doll in Reparando that works as a tapestry of God’s scandalous grace, her presence yesterday to me had profound significance.
It seems to me that many people who have been exposed to and been asked to contribute to the Becoming Fools campaign have chosen not to pledge support because they are not interested in pledging their hard earned money simply to help produce a film. However, I am writing from the depth of my heart to share with you that this campaign represents SO MUCH more than just the production of a film. It is the vehicle from which the prophetic voice of thousands of Gabriela’s will be heard by the church in Guatemala and by tens of thousands of people around the world. It is the vehicle through which the collective dreams and aspirations of 14 plus Guatemalan lead organizations who are serving in the spirit of Italo Castro’s legacy can be mobilized into tangible expressions of love on the streets of this great city.
The breakfast yesterday morning and the almost haunting image of Gabriela’s guarded but smiling face looking back at me has increased my resolve to invest in this campaign. It is the resolve to help raise the funds needed so that this incredible story can be told and a movement unleashed. I am praying with all of my heart that hundreds of you reading this will join my family and I in prayer and pledged support for this incredibly important vision that has so much potential to touch thousands and thousands of lives.
Will you please join us in Becoming Fools for Gabriela and the thousands like her on the streets of Guatemala City. This is our chance to unite together to be part of the redemption of their stories for the glory of our Almighty God whose heart is filled with love for us…. and them!!
Joel Van Dyke