Claudia’s* mother died when she was just five years old. Her father informed her that she really didn’t need a mother, and was going to be fine without one. Since her dad was an alcoholic, Claudia began a journey into a life of neglect, and became very hard and very tough. She is a natural leader, and became a gang leader by age 9. As a gang leader, Claudia had to be tough… she had to be strong… she had to be without emotion.
While on the streets, she ran into a group of people who cared for the children living on the streets. It was the staff of the Bogota Street Kids. The amazing staff have impacted the lives of hundreds of kids like Claudia. The children come into this entry-level program. It’s a day shelter where they can come and get meals. They also receive genuine love, and they hear the message of a wonderful Savior. Claudia began to attend the day shelter. The director’s wife told us the stories of Claudia and other children coming into the shelter: they are not sweet little 9 year olds; they are tough and hard from life on the streets. But God gives breakthroughs into their lives.
Claudia came into the ministry at age 11. It was at this point that her life began to be radically transformed. Some things changed immediately, while other transformations took a very long. The staff are committed to this life-long journey of healing. They walk these children through the scars of their past.
Claudia is now a mom with two kids and a wonderful husband. The ‘impossible’ has happened in her life. All because the staff of this ministry didn’t let go of a girl like Claudia!
* Not her real name.
THEY SHALL BE CALLED OAKS OF RIGHTEOUSNESS
The next stop on our journey in Colombia was to ‘The Farm’ which is part of the Bogota Street Kids Ministry. This is not a typical farm with animals and crops.This is a farm that is raising ‘oaks of righteousness’. These are long-term homes, where the children become members of a family for the rest of their lives.
The farm is a beautiful 40 acre parcel of land on the side of the hill. The view is very similar to what you would see in the mountains of Switzerland. What an incredible place for these children to grow up! There are two homes on the property with families who care for children. 10 children live with a family in the first home, and six children currently live with a family in the second home.
The third home on the property is under construction and nearing completion. This 4,000 square ft. home can be completed for only $45,000.00 more. All construction costs so far, have been paid with cash! Ten more children will be added to this home, and will receive a loving family when this home is completed.
I sit in my room in a hotel in Bogota, totally overwhelmed by all we have seen on this trip. And yet, I know there is more to see of this ministry. We are blessed to support such a wonderful ministry through Streams Of Mercy!