“If I look back and see what I was, I can see a nefarious, and even a little perverted, young man. I was someone aimless, without knowledge and without any foundation.”
Medardo grew up in an open-air garbage dump called La Chureca in Managua, Nicaragua, and then later, in Villa Guadalupe, the community created to relocate the dump residents. In this environment, young boys are often left feeling aimless and fall as easy prey into a lifestyle marked by drugs, alcohol and promiscuity. Medardo couldn’t envision a different life for himself and began to join in with the other boys. The more he did, the more hopeless he grew.
At the time, Medardo’s two twin sisters were in our Nicaragua children’s program, Villa Esperanza, and it was through them that he met Pastor Ricardo. Pastor Ricardo was on our staff and would meet personally with families of children in our program and minister to them. On his first visit with Medardo, Pastor Ricardo asked a pointed question, “Do you want to study?” This moment was pivotal in Medardo’s life. He enjoyed school, but it was difficult to imagine himself sticking with it through high school, let alone college. He didn’t have the support and supplies he needed to excel. But Medardo did want to study, so he jumped at the opportunity presented to him. He was then enrolled in the Villa Esperanza scholarship program launching him on a completely new trajectory.
When the Villa Esperanza team started hosting a boys discipleship camp, Medardo excitedly joined, and there he encountered God. Through the scholarship program and personal relationships he built with the staff, Medardo became spiritually hungry, wanting all God had for him, in school and in life.
“Pastor Ricardo and those boys have helped me understand life and be a better person. By having a deeper relationship with Villa Esperanza, I said to myself that I had to make a change soon. I knew it would not be easy, but I told myself that I had to do things better.”
Over time, Medardo was invited to be an assistant at these camps, learning how to invest in the lives of others. “They taught me to put more value on things, to be a good son, a good brother, a good person for my community, and above all to have a strong communion with God. When there is something unstable in my life, they would say to me, ‘You need to read the Bible.’”
Medardo is excited to share this same hope he’s found with others, discipling and serving them with an open heart. He sees great worth in himself now as a young man with integrity who has much to give to the world around him.
“Comparing what I was before to what I am now…I want to stay with the person I have become.”
In 2021, Medardo was the first person in his family to graduate high school and is excited to begin college next year to study journalism.
Medardo faced many challenges in his life, but with God’s help and the support of our Nicaragua staff, he’s now entering adulthood as someone who knows he matters to God and wants to be used by Him. He’s one of the many lives touched and transformed by the loving care of Pastor Ricardo, who passed to the Heavenly Kingdom in the fall of 2021. His memory and impact will live on in the young men of the Villa Esperanza boys’ program who are being transformed from the inside out.
This story was shared in our 2021 Annual Report. You can view our full report here >>