She had gone all the way up through our Christian day school. I had taught her English throughout grade school and she was a very good student. Her family was extremely poor and her only hope for study had been the scholarship that American Christians had provided for her. She graduated from our Christian school last year with excellent grades but an uncertain future. Because of the desperate economic situation of her family, her chances for continued study were slim indeed. If she did not study, as a girl here in Colombia, opportunities for any decent employment were extremely slim.
We had no money available to offer her a scholarship. Against impossible odds, her mother had made tremendous sacrifices and Liced began college last year, fulfilling her own dreams and in doing so, she became the hope for her whole family. If she could make it through and get a decent job, then she could help all of her younger brothers and sisters as well as her aging mother. She did very well in her first year of college. But as the second year approached, her mother simply could not raise the money needed for her second year. It appeared that all her dreams were to be dashed and with them the hopes for her whole family would come to a tragic end.
But God works in amazing ways. On my last trip to Villavicencio, I had asked about buying some tamales, which are a local delicacy, so my visitors Paul and Dewayne could try them. They told me that Licedâ€™s mother had been making them for church events and she did a very good job. While this was during the week and she had none available, I left word that next time she made tamales to let me know and because I would like to buy some. This weekend is a holiday weekend in Colombia. The 20 de Julio holiday is like our 4th of July as it is the day they celebrate as their independence day. Liced and her mother had made tamales and were coming to BogotÃ¡ to visit family. They called and asked if I would like them to bring me some. I jumped at the chance and placed my order.
When they arrived here in BogotÃ¡ with the tamales, we chatted for a while as I have known this family for nearly twenty years. I asked about Licedâ€™s studies and they told me about their situation and that Liced was going to have to drop out. I knew that we had no money in the scholarship fund but her situation touched my heart and immediately after they left I emailed Susy to see if we could possibly help her out of our general fund. We decided that it would be very difficult but that we should help as it was the right thing to do. I called Liced and her mother and told them to stop in again on their way back to Villavicencio.
When they arrived, we chatted a bit and then I informed them that we were going to cover Licedâ€™s college tuition this semester. The news came as a surprise and a pleasant shock. After a moment of stunned silence, Liced let out a squeal of delight and then settled into a mixture of tears and giggles as she tried repeatedly to speak but was unable to do so. Since she could not find the words to express her thanks, she jumped up and gave me a big hug as she sobbed on my shoulder. She was simply overwhelmed by a renewal of her shattered hopes and dreams.
Next week, she will begin classes she thought had been out of reach. Her gratitude and appreciation are for all of you who help us and share in this ministry of love and outreach here in Colombia. It is my pleasure to share one girlâ€™s excitement and appreciation with each one of you who has shared with us in this work. May God bless you as He has blessed me in this opportunity to make a big difference in one young girlâ€™s life!