One Million Arrows Christian Parenting Blog

Posted in: Arrow Stories

From Cardboard Box to Missionary
Guest Author: Casey Scheberl - VisionTrust International
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ada peruAda and her mother made their home in a cardboard box in Lima, Peru, a city of nearly 8 million people. As young as age five, men who found Ada in the streets sexually abused her. When she was eight, one man tricked her into going to his home in Ayacucho, almost 60 miles away.

This same man sexually abused Ada regularly, and his sister who lived with him physically abused her. She hit Ada in the head with a hammer and burned Ada's arms with cigarettes and electrical cords. One day the police found Ada in the market, bloody from her most recent beating. They took her to a government orphanage where Ada's trauma began to express itself through violence when she began physically abusing the other children and the teachers. One time she bit one of the teacher's arms and did not let go until she tore the flesh. They took her to a Judge and told him "We cannot do anything for this child and we never want to see her again!"

The Judge called Mariela, who runs two VisionTrust orphanages in Ayacucho, Peru, and told her Ada's story. "Mariela," he told her, "if you don't accept this eleven-year-old girl into your orphanage, the only other option I have is to send her to a prison for women in Lima." Mariela happily accepted Ada into her orphanage.

After six months of living at Grace Home, the Judge ordered a psychiatric evaluation on Ada. After conducting the evaluation, the psychologist approached a teacher at the Grace Home with amazement. "What have you done with this child? The advances you have made with this girl take years of treatment—how did you do it in only six months?" The teacher responded, "We didn't do anything; it is the love of God living within her heart."

The children at Grace Home attend church together several times a week. The first time that Ada went to church, she silently observed everything around her. The second time she went to church, she learned some of the songs they taught the children and she insisted that the other children sing the song that she wanted to sing. The third time Ada went to church, she came to Mariela afterward and said, "The teacher told me today that I need to accept Jesus into my heart."

"Yes. He will be your best friend," Mariela responded.

"No, I don't think I'm going to do it."

"Why not?"

"Because I've done too many bad things, God could never love me."

"God loved you then, He loves you now, and He will always love you. There is nothing that you could ever do to make Him stop loving you." Surprisingly, Ada said, "I believe you." And she accepted Jesus into her heart.

For months afterwards, Ada prayed that the authorities would find her mother. Humanly, it was impossible because her mother lived in a cardboard box in a city of 8 million people. But Ada didn't give up. She prayed and prayed until one day, Mariela received a call: "We've found Ada's mother, but she is dying from AIDS." Mariela took Ada to see her mother and when they saw one another they embraced with tears of joy. They talked for a few moments and then Ada said, "Mother, I want you to pray with me." Her mother didn't pay much attention to her request. So Ada looked straight into her eyes and said firmly, "Close your eyes and repeat this prayer with me." Ada's mother did so and accepted Christ that day. She went home to the Lord about one month later.

Ada is now almost 17 years old and still lives at Grace Home: Ayacucho. She serves in the church as a Sunday School teacher to younger children and sings in the choir. She has decided to follow a call she believes God placed on her heart to go to Bible School when she finishes high school, and then to become a missionary. She wants to open an orphanage for abandoned children. Ada is a testimony of the redeeming love of Jesus.

Vistion Trust International enables Christian nationals to meet the physical, educational, emotional, and spiritual needs of orphaned and neglected children in order to produce mature Christians, equipped to live in their own culture.

casey scheberlCasey began her work with VisionTrust in 2005 by serving as a missionary to orphaned and neglected children in the Dominican Republic until 2007.  After being a part of this wonderful ministry on the ground level and meeting hundreds of children like Ada, Casey decided to join the VisionTrust team state-side.  She currently lives in Nashville, TN and works helping U.S. churches create relational and strategic missions partnerships that serve orphans and fatherless children around the world. Email Casey.

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