He works all for good!
By: Norellys | Volunteer
I was born into a loving family in Sucre, Venezuela. My parents had a troubled marriage and separated when I was five years old. I never had a real relationship with my father after he abandoned our family. For my whole life, I have always felt the loss of safety and security that a father should provide for his children. And I know this has led to some of the choices that I made in my life. Though my father was absent physically and emotionally from my life; he provided some support financially. This was for no other reason than that he feared my maternal grandfather and wanted to show my grandfather that he was supporting us. I lived for most of my childhood with my maternal grandparents and uncles. Though we were a close family there were always struggles. My mother was a strong woman who loved the Lord. After my father left us, she began working to provide for us and we never lacked anything.
Though living with my grandparents and maternal family was difficult at times, the benefit was that my grandmother was a strong believer. She had such faith and trust in God and that greatly influenced my mother and in turn me. The fragile harmony that existed in my extended family ended with the death of my grandparents. Life at home became intolerable that once I reached my 20’s, I left home. I sought the love and protection I never received growing up, in my relationships with men. I soon became pregnant and my mom implored me to return and live at home. At the same time, I drew closer to in my walk with God and returned to my faith. I started going to church and growing in my relationship with the Lord.
I soon met a man who I fell in love with and we began a relationship. Soon after, I became pregnant with my son, Anthony. After eight years of being together, we decided to get married. From then on, the illusion of a happy family became fractured. My husband was unfaithful and began a relationship with another woman. I couldn’t live with the adultery and made up my mind to separate or divorce him. But I soon realized I was pregnant once again. This pregnancy was a high risk one and I was put on bed rest by the doctors. During this time, my husband and young son was involved in a life threatening accident. I was forced to care and tend to them, even though my own health was fragile. But God showed up every time I was at the end of my rope. And He did the impossible for me. When I was weak, He was strong. Though the doctors deemed it impossible, I was blessed with my beautiful daughter, Antonella.
As time progressed, my marriage continued to deteriorate because my husband continued his extra-marital relationship with another woman. At the same time, conditions in Venezuela as a whole was worsening. Despite the economic downturn, the Lord blessed me with a steady job. But my husband was unable to find work and decided to move to the border between Venezuela and Colombia to seek possible opportunities there. He decided to seek opportunities in Colombia, near the border of Venezuela. Months after my husband moved to Colombia, I began to experience problems with my son, Anthony. He became very rebellious and disobedient because his father was not present in his life. In December 2019, my husband told me to come join him Colombia but only to leave the kids with him and return by myself to live in Venezuela. I would never abandon my children but I know I couldn’t handle the situation with Anthony on my own. So, I decided to come to Colombia with my children for a period of three months, until March 2020.
Once I arrived in Colombia, I lived with my husband and his mistress in Manantiales, Medellin. After living some time together and bearing with such an uncomfortable situation; I was kicked out of the home with my children. I had no where else to go; but my brother in law had mercy on me and my children and let us live with him. In February of 2020, I realized I needed to find a church for spiritual support and I found, Brazos Abiertos (Open Arms) and began to congregate there. Shortly after in March 2020, the national lockdown began due to the Coronavirus. The situation at my home was very dire because we were not able to find work due to the quarantine. I would leave early in the morning around 2 AM and spend the whole day going from place to place, looking for food. One day I was in a line for food with an organization and heard that the food was running out. I was desperate because I had no food at home to feed my kids. That was when I heard someone talking in the line about how an foundation was handing out food in Fe Alegria. I ran to this place and this is how I first encountered Fundación Ciudad Refugio.
I met two volunteers from the foundation. They listened to my situation and gave me two tickets to come back the next day for a bag of food. From then on, I would go every week and receive a bag of grocery from the foundation. The community would line up as early as 3 AM as we waited for the volunteers from Ciudad Refugio to arrive with the donations. They were a lifeline not only for my family but many in the community.
The first few weeks the grocery bag Fundación Ciudad Refugio provided lasted for three or four days; the volunteers would come and distribute the food every Friday and the food would last my family until Monday. From Tuesday to Thursday, I would follow my routine to go out and look for food to just make it through the week. The absolute worst words any mother can hear her children say is, “Momma, I am hungry.” So, I would go out seven to eight hours every days to bring something to put on the table.
Nearing the end of my strength, I began to cry out to God-“ Help me! Please make my efforts fruitful. Increase what little I have Lord!” And true to his loving nature, God answered my prayers! From that week on, the grocery bag that Ciudad Refugio provided lasted our family ONE WHOLE WEEK! There was enough food to last my entire family of five from Friday to Friday. This truly was only because of God and his proven track record to provide!
As the months of quarantine went on, I began to not only receive the grocery bags every week from Ciudad Refugio but also to serve with Brazos Abiertos and the foundation to give out tickets or distribute the grocery bags every week. But soon the familial situation at my home became worse and my children and I were kicked out of the home. By the grace of God, I was able to find a short-term solution but I was hopeless and depressed. Throughout my whole life in Venezuela, I never lacked for anything and God had brought me to Colombia to suffer more than ever before in my life. However, God provided for me time and time again and taught me more about who He is. About twenty days after I was kicked out of my home, one Friday I was serving with Rebekah and the foundation. We began to talk and my story just flowed out of me. Rebekah listened and freely opened the doors of the foundation as a place of refuge for me and my children. Currently, I am living in the foundation with my children and serving in various ministries.
If I have learned anything in my time here in Colombia is that, God is always in control and he will bring good from everything. As Psalms 23 says, He has led me time and time again to green pastures and He restores my soul. In my weakness, He is my strength to keep walking and going day to day. My hope and dreams for the future are to continue to serve Him and that He heals the brokenness in my heart and to reunite my family. There is a song by Lilly Goodman, Al Final, that has become my anthem. The words are as follows:
And that in the end what will come will be much better.
It’s all part of a purpose. And all will be for good.
You have always been here and your word has never failed me.
You have never left me and I will put all of my trust, only in you!