By: Marlene Valadez
Several young people from various cities visited us for a few days days to help with a Maximum Mission, which is an outreach to the community through medical services, workshops for parents, etc.
One day while we were in the neighborhood park attending to some people, a woman came up to us and asked for medical help. She had been living on the streets for several months and sleeping in the gazebo at the park. She had left a rehabilitation center at the beginning of the year, and now she supported herself by collecting plastic bottles and selling them to a recycling center. After learning all that, we gave her some medication, prayed with her, shared about Christ and left her with an evangelistic brochure. Some of the young people also chatted with her.
Later, they told us her name was Carmen, and she desperately needed someone to listen to her share about her life. When it was time to leave, she insisted we stay. We ended up bringing her back to our house to offer her food. After she ate, she returned to her “home” (as she called it) in the park gazebo.
Several days later we met her again on the street as she pushed the shopping cart where she carried her bottles and her faithful dog. We greeted her happily, but to our surprise, Carmen changed when she noticed us and began to accuse us of being anti-Catholic, among other things. Every time we met her after that she remained defensive. Still, we always greeted her and listened to her. In that way, little by little, her attitude began to be a bit friendlier again.
One Sunday morning, while we were preparing to begin the worship service we held in our home, a young woman who normally attended showed up with Carmen, who now said her real name was Citlalli! So Carmen/Citlalli came to the services early every Sunday after that. We offered a place for her to keep her things and to bathe as well as eat. It was amazing to see how Citlalli grew in her love for God. Despite not knowing how to read and not understanding some things, she always took time to testify about her transformation. She spoke of how God had freed her from alcohol, and how she had found in us help to keep going.
Soon Citlalli was not only baptized, she became the most faithful member of the congregation! She is a great example of faithfulness despite her limitations. After a life of marginalization, she was able to find the great worth she has in Christ. Now she has a new family in God.