By Anna Valdez
One of the hardest, but best things about taking care of the older girls at Douglas Children’s Home is that I have the privilege of helping care for them during their last few years in the children’s home. Many of the girls have graduated 9th grade and then days later move onto Back2Back’s Monterrey, Mexico campus to attend the Hope Education Program where they can continue their education up to the college level. I equate this to seeing your child off to college, but at age 15. It’s difficult to let them go, even though I know it’s their best opportunity to break the cycle of poverty. So, as we pack the car with roll-away suitcases, they say goodbye to the home they’ve known for years, trying to fight their nervousness and a few butterflies in their stomach. A few minutes later, we arrive at the Back2Back campus, open the gate, unload their luggage and say our goodbyes, holding back tears.
After two years of singing her to sleep every night, fighting about boys, and hearing her stories everyday after school, this summer, Rubi graduated 9th grade and moved to the Back2Back Hope Program. Before she left, we celebrated every little achievement thus far in her life. We noticed how she has reached farther in her education than her father and mother.
I told her, “No matter what happens, you have already gone beyond what anyone else in your family has done!”
This little spark lit hope in her tired eyes. Even in the struggles of the life of a 15 year old from a broken family, something was happening. There was evidence that God was working. He was present and repairing her life. Every time she woke up at 5:30am to go to school, every time she completed hours of homework and every time she chose the more academically rigorous middle school to attend, God was repairing what the enemy had broken.
In Isaiah 61:4, God promises the people of Israel that He will use the once broken hearted and poor to repair the emptiness of previous generations:
“And they shall build the old wastes, they shall raise up the former desolations, and they shall repair the waste cities, the desolations of many generations.”
This promise is also for orphaned and vulnerable children all around the world. Nothing was left for them. There was emptiness where there should have been belonging, future, dreams, and identity. God is working through them to repair what was left to them. And so Rubi, like many others who have gone before her and will go after her, will go on to high school and college and will flourish in the midst of ruins. God, in His power, will work through once broken children to repair the desolation of previous generations in their families.
Anna Valdez works with Back2Back Ministries, caring for pre-teen girls in Monterrey, Mexico. She is passionate about helping girls understand their identity in Christ.