“This boy is mine.”
These are the words Raul, a Compassion pastor in El Salvador, spoke to a local gang to reclaim his student, Israel.
Israel was only 7 years old when an accident with a kite and electrical wires severely injured his arm. After the incident, Israel spent two years in the hospital recovering.
When he finally left the hospital, young Israel returned to school, where he was bullied due to the visible disfigurement of his arm. His peers told him he would never hold a job or be able to support a family.
Desperate for acceptance, Israel later joined a gang, where he gained a sense of belonging. He stopped attending the local Compassion project where he was registered, and Raul noticed his absence and began to search for him around the community.
“Whenever he would see me, he would run away,” Raul said of Israel. But Raul did not give up.
Eventually, Raul spoke with Israel and asked him what the gang was giving to him.
Israel answered, “Two dollars a day and friends.”
Not to be outdone, Raul replied, “I will give you two dollars a day and a family.”
Israel self-consciously rubbed his injured arm as he told his story to a large group of Compassion sponsors, who later lined up to hug this inspiring young man.
He explained how Raul convinced him to leave the gang and return to his Compassion project, where he did, indeed, receive a family.
And now, this young man radiates warmth and a humble spirit. With the love of his Compassion family and by the grace of God, Israel has even overcome his greatest fear: electricity.
Israel is earning a certificate in electrical engineering.
Which child will you claim as yours? When will you partner with Compassion to keep a child off the streets of El Salvador? Click here to see who is waiting for you.