When the 7.8 magnitude earthquake hit the coast of Ecuador in April, it took many lives and left hundreds without homes and jobs. At Casa Gabriel, we've been reaching out to former Casa Gabriel participants who were displaced by the earthquake. One of these "former Casa Gabriel boys" is John. In communicating with John, we asked what his biggest need and prayer request was. His answer: "A job. Income for my family." He needed work for his family to survive and now especially for his new baby on the way.
That's when Kip, a friend of Phil's, said he needed people to work in his shrimp feeder company. Down the road, Phil hopes that Kip will be able to train the young men currently living in Casa Gabriel how to make park of the shrimp feeders through welding and craftsmanship. The shrimp industry is important in Ecuador and it would be great to be able to teach the boys a trade on which they could fall back on if needed.
When Phil asked John if he'd be interested in working at the shrimp feeder company, John jumped at the opportunity. He started out strong and we were all excited for him. We are also excited to see how this partnership with Kip and C. can grow! However ... we are discouraged to just find out that John is AWAL from his new job. It can be so hard to follow the path and not be distracted by the concerns and temptations of this world. Please pray for John and his family. We share this story because the reality is, we teach the boys of Casa Gabriel to be committed and follow through, yet even so it can be challenging, especially in a culture where it is not uncommon for men to abandon their families in search of something easier. Yet in faith we reach out and offer second chances, as God has given second chances and an abundance of grace to each of us.
Meanwhile at Casa Gabriel, David (who just graduated high school and is doing an internship with us as our new Activities Coordinator) has begun taking pre-university classes to prepare him for his entrance exam. In Ecuador, everyone must take a rigorous screening exam before applying to university. David's scores on his exam will determine what universities he can get into and any scholarships he may qualify for, and how much. David has always been a hard-working student, and very responsible. As David works part-time at Casa Gabriel, he has designated a portion of his earnings towards paying for the class. He researched the exam preparation class and asked Phil if Casa Gabriel could help him pay for it. As he works at Casa Gabriel, he will put some of his earnings towards paying for the class. David also made sure he picked a class in the afternoons so he could continue to work at Casa Gabriel in the mornings. David's job includes planning and preparing activities for each month for those participating in Casa Gabriel. This includes weekend activities (swimming, cooking classes, cookouts, trips to museums and parks, movie and game nights, etc.) and cooking lunch for everyone two days a week. Now, on top of that, he has an intensive class every week day afternoon. David is taking all of his responsibilities seriously: planning for the future, and learning skills such as leadership, time management, written and verbal communication, and financial accountability.
Carlos, our other graduate this year, is also doing an internships at Casa Gabriel. He is our full-time House Coordinator and is doing a fantastic job putting into practice things he has already learned, as well as learning new skills.
It is a joy to see David, Carlos, and the other boys grow into young men of God who will impact their home, church, community, and world.
We put together a short video about the graduation celebration in August.
Check it out!