Friday, March 20, 2009

A Girl Named Lisbeth

Meet Lisbeth (pronounced Lizbet)

This young lady has been taken under our wing here at UCU. Originally from the coast, one of our staff workers has basically adopted her. She recently turned 16 and spends her days here at the UCU house. Her story is similar to that of many many adolescents and I'll hope you'll read on to see how the Lord is changing her life, and mine, through her being here.
Lisbeth is from the city of Valledupar in the far North of Colombia. While she is 16 years old, she has the emotional maturity of an 8 year old and has very little education. Raised by somebody who she thought was her grandmother, Lisbeth is the daughter of a prostitute. Only recently have we discovered that her "grandmother" is likely to be somebody who is not blood-related at all and simply took her on for the first 15 years of her life.
Lisbeth's upbringing was far from pleasant. We suspect an abusive past and her temper tantrums and complete lack of social norms all point to a past that is less than ideal. Taking her on has been a trial in patience for us all. But when she isn't upset about something or hyper-focusing on minor things, she is one of the most sincere and adoring people I have ever met.
Grace is working with her on some basic education. Lisbeth can read, but my guess is that she reads at about a 3rd grade level. Its painful to know that sometimes, my Spanish vocabulary is more expansive than hers. We are also working on her motor skills to help with hand-eye coordination. Don't get me wrong, as far as we know, she has no mental disabilities, but there are many things she was never taught. In addition, I am working on some geography basics with her. Before coming to UCU, she couldn't point to Colombia on a map. Now she is learning about North, Central, and South America. She is a quick learner and loves to discover knew things, including Biblical things.

She spends her days banging on the piano, though she has never taken lessons, and strumming on the guitar. She sings whatever tune comes to mind, which very seldomly reflects the melody she is trying to play on the piano. But she lacks no motivation to learn, even if it means being self-taught. She has been taking knitting lessons from me and is proud to have finished her first little square in a yarn color she calls "extravagant".

The most rewarding thing to watch is how she loves the Lord. Of course her outbursts and child-like behavior seem so inappropriate for somebody her age. But she does love the Lord with a child-like passion. She loves to re-tell Bible stories that she is learning and sings at the top of her lungs during times of praise and worship.
Please pray for Lisbeth in Bogota, Colombia. Pray that the Lord would continue to grant us wisdom in helping to teach her both the basics of life, and the Word. As she matures emotionally, it is certain that she will begin to recognize the terrible wounds that her past has left. The Lord can heal her from the inside out, and that is my hope for her. Thank you for your continued prayers and support. Lisbeth is just one of the many people that you are helping!


Missionaries in La Ceiba, Honduras said...

I think more importantly than most all of those things is the consistent, God-fearing role models she now has. Thanks for being part of that!