I'm going to start with Antonio because he is currently one of my favorite stories to tell.
When I think of little Antonio I always envision him shyly walking up to one of us and just leaning into our sides. He craved affection but had no clue how to get it. We, of course, lavished as much love as he would allow on him. But he was shy and angry and repeatedly chose to follow his fear and addictions back out onto the streets.
It's been over a year now since almost 18 year old Antonio has spent any significant time on the street. His head has come up and he has found his smile. With the help of a humanitarian organization that we work with called Casa Domingo Antonio has learned how to read. Acceptance and knowledge has made Antonio blossom. He is still hesitant when it comes to God and struggles with needing someone to blame for his pain without blaming himself or his mother. But he is searching. Most Sundays you will find our Antonio near the front row with a reluctant face but a very much in tuned ear to the lesson. God is softening his heart. It is taking patience and a lot of grace but I have no doubt the light of God is shining through those cracks.
Antonio thrives on attention and is usually the first to volunteer for any task he feels up to tackling.
He is also incredibly precious with little ones. We often find him taking care of the babies and if Rosie is upset he is the first to come running to comfort her.
Finding classes or work for a kid who has very little reading and writing skills has proven to be quite the challenge. Pair that with his terror of feeling inferior and we have a hard time finding activities for him. I'm not sure what the future holds for Antonio but I know that God has a plan that will leave us all amazed.
Please pray that our sweet boy continues to open up his heart to God's calling and that we have the wisdom to guide him down the right path.
(If you are interested in supporting Casa Domingo, a non-religious organization aimed at educating and teaching life skills to teenage street boys, please let me know. They have had to shut down operation due to lack of funds and will soon close all together if they aren't able to find sponsors.They have been a huge blessing to our ministry and the kids that we work with.)