If you stop for a second to look around, you will notice there are signs for everything: signs telling you where to go, signs warning you about danger, signs trying to persuade you to buy something you probably don’t need, and even songs about signs.
Ace of Base famously sang, “I saw the sign, and it opened up my eyes.” That is what happened to me today. I saw a sign from God posted on the door of a tiny house in what was one of the worst slums in the Dominican Republic.
This was not a sign alerting people of the presence of security cameras or a “no trespassing” sign. The sign was put there by Pastor Pablo of the local Compassion project, and it read,
“Jesus Christ is the Lord and King of Gurley!”
This was more than a sign. This was a declaration that with God’s help, they would take their city back.
Let me paint a little picture of the area known as Gurley. It was overrun with gangs. Drugs, shootings, and prostitution ran rampant. This place was so bad that people would not say they were from Gurley. Police would not go into certain parts of the city.
It seemed hopeless, but that is usually where God does His most amazing work. Another pastor said the reason for Gurley’s changing was, “The gospel went where the police could not go.”
This pastor changed the city by redefining who they were. Gurley is not completely fixed yet. We still had guards for our protection, but this city is turning its eyes to Jesus, and it is changing.
It was in this slum we met a family I will never forget. The parents lived in constant fear of what might happen to their beautiful children. They lived in the worst part of the slum. But Compassion helped them build a safer place for their family.
At one point, we were talking about their favorite Bible verses, and the oldest girl said hers is Psalm 23:
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures; He leadeth me beside the still waters…”
She stopped….covered her hands, and cried. We all sat there–not sure of what to say–but I had to know why she was crying. So I took a chance and asked.
I’m so glad I did. She said they were tears of gladness, because she remembered where she used to live, and she knows without a doubt that the Lord is her shepherd, and that He will always protect her and never leave her. To see that kind of faith in someone so young was absolutely beautiful.
We asked the girls about their dreams. Sairy, the one who painted this awesome picture that will be displayed proudly in my home, dreams of being an engineer.
Her two sisters want to be doctors. These girls from the slums, who probably would not have amounted to much, now have the opportunity to dream because of their Compassion sponsor. Their mom said they love getting letters from the sponsor, because it shows them a world of possibilities. She was also grateful that out of all the kids in the world, the sponsor chose hers.
I don’t think I will ever be able to talk about the power of the name of Jesus, or hear “I Saw the Sign” by Ace of Base without thinking of the change God made in Gurley and for this family.
You can help change the life of a child by sharing the power of Jesus with them when you become a Compassion sponsor.