Unwrapping the Gift of Hope

Some of the most joyous Christmas cheer comes whenever we watch children gather around the tree. We love seeing their expressions of hopeful enthusiasm as they anticipate unwrapping the perfect gift! If only this were the case for all children around the world. However, reality sharply contrasts with this wholesome Christmas morning picture. Not all children receive the gift of hope.

Undeniably, millions of children around the world are subjected to the worst forms of child labor. Some kids are forced to work in dangerous mines or construction projects without concern for their safety or well-being. Others, lured into commercial sexual exploitation and human trafficking, face even worse fates.

This abuse destroys a child’s soul and replaces peace with fear. That’s exactly what happened to Juan. 

Thankfully, God often transforms our most challenging crises into our greatest ministry.

Amputee Survives Child Labor in Bolivia

Juan grew up in Oruro, Bolivia, and began working in construction at a young age. After his alcoholic father died, Juan had to work to help his mom provide for his three siblings.

One day at the construction site, a high-tension cable broke and a steel beam crushed him. Afterward, Juan woke up in the emergency room. As a result of the accident, he had lost one arm and destroyed the other. He also endured a concussion. Juan was only fourteen.

After many surgeries, Juan felt ready to move on. Convinced that God had a plan for his life, he dedicated his life to serving Him. As a result, Juan planned to study communications in college. Unfortunately, he couldn’t afford tuition and had to quit. Then, while volunteering at the hospital, Juan heard about Bright Hope’s JOEL scholarship program. So, he applied, hoping it would help him continue his ministry preparation.  

Scholarships for Bolivian Students

Good news! Juan’s application was accepted, and he joined the JOEL program!

Bright Hope’s partner churches in Bolivia started the Jovenes Estudiantes Líderes (JOEL) program to help impoverished students follow their dreams and build sustainable lives.  

JOEL takes talented, motivated students and provides them with mentoring, discipleship, training, and a partial loan for college education or vocational training.  

In 2019, Juan received a $700 educational loan, which he pays back little by little. Now 24-years-old, Juan loves studying theology at a Bible seminary in Oruro. His passion for God’s Word has grown, as has his desire to share its transformative truth with others.  

Despite ongoing physical and familial challenges, Juan has faithfully followed God’s calling on his life.  

Juan shared: “A good leader must learn how to endure trials. I believe that through my experience, God will do much more!” 

Give the Gift of Hope

Your generous gift can give impoverished students educational opportunities. Consequentially, young adults all over the world can break free from poverty and enter a new, hope-filled life!

By supporting Bright Hope this Christmas, you can help young adults develop a legacy of hope and sustainability that lasts generations!

Malia Rodriguez
Malia Rodriguez

Malia loves serving as a Copywriter for Bright Hope, where she has the privilege to share how God is working among the vulnerable and caring for the extreme poor around the world. As a homeschool mom, Malia strives to develop in her kids compassionate, generous, and caring hearts. Malia and her husband, Matt, live in the Washington, DC area with their son and daughter.