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“This is the worst group of young people I have ever been with!” exclaimed a supervisor as 20 belligerent Mexican orphans were standing on tables, throwing chairs, and yelling while we tried to show them the Basic Seminar.
In the fall of 2004, we had visited two large orphanages in Monterrey, Mexico, and offered to train 20 of their most outstanding orphans in Biblical principles and character. Those in charge enthusiastically accepted our offer. They looked forward, with us, to the potential of having those teenagers return to Mexico after six months of training to share what they had learned with other orphans.
However, the man who was appointed to select the orphans for this program misunderstood the goal and consequently chose some of their most difficult orphans to send to us! By this time it was too late to change plans. The Mexican officials apologized and wondered what would happen—so did we.
Encouraged by the fact that God makes no mistakes, Rodger and Judy Gergeni and other staff members went to Monterrey this spring to pick up the orphans. They took the young people to our International Home for Children in Indianapolis, Indiana, where the staff and families welcomed the orphans with open arms. While there, the young people started to receive training in character and Biblical principles. We began to see evidences of the power of God’s love at work in their lives.
A few months later, the Governor’s wife and several representatives from Monterrey came to check on the orphans and to evaluate their progress. They talked with the orphans at length and were amazed at how much they had matured in such a short time. The same young people who had been throwing chairs and refusing to cooperate now flocked around the officials and told them how grateful they were to be at our facilities in Indianapolis. At the end of the visit, the officials declared, “You have done in three months what we have not been able to do in twelve years!” The transformations they observed were further confirmations of God’s love at work.
Last month I joined the orphans for a time of training and encouragement at the Northwoods Conference Center in Michigan. By this time, many of them had asked Jesus Christ to be their personal Savior and were making significant decisions to follow Him. During one of our evening times together, Judy Gergeni shared about God’s faithfulness in her life. She had grown up in a troubled home and for many years had struggled to forgive those who had wronged her. After she was married and had children of her own, her bitterness began to affect those relationships, and she realized that she needed to fully forgive her offenders. God enabled her to forgive, and He replaced her bitterness with His love for others and with joy in her heart.
Judy’s testimony had a profound impact on many of the orphans as they realized the importance of forgiving those who had wronged them and found hope for their futures. With tears, they asked God for the grace to forgive their parents for abandoning them and for the other deep hurts they had experienced.
Just this past week, the group of orphans returned to Mexico to begin sharing what they have learned with fellow orphans. Please pray that God will keep them strong and growing in their new relationships with Him. Pray that God would demonstrate His power in and through their lives so that the world would see His great love and be drawn to Him. For a time, we have been privileged to work with these young people, who were handpicked by God, but He is the One Who faithfully promises to complete the good work that He has started in their lives. (See Philippians 1:6.) In this we rejoice!
For more information about IBLP’s International ministries, call 630-323-9800, ext. 518.
Copyright © 2002–2011, William (Bill) Gothard. All Rights Reserved.