Gerardo Paredes has come a long way in his short life. The Orphan Helpers team met Gerardo, now 23, when he was a teen incarcerated in a detention center in El Salvador. He was part of our first Success Academy class. Today, he is now an employee of Orphan Helpers handling IT and other administrative duties. Here is Gerardo’s testimony:
I was born in Santa Ana, El Salvador. When I was five years old, my father decided to go to the USA in order to provide us a better life. Since the day he left, we have heard nothing from him.
God is good, though. I have a strong woman in my life. She is my mother. She’s a hard worker. She is my inspiration in order to study.
I was good in school with good scores. But when I was 15, something really hard happened in my life. I was arrested. I was sent to a detention center where I spent almost three years of my life.
The conditions in that place were terrible. I was confined to a small cell with no light. I couldn’t believe what was happening. I thought my future was lost. I almost died. My world was very dark.
At the detention center, I met David and Francisco from Orphan Helpers. They invited me to a devotional. I did not know God. In my sadness and suffering, I turned to God and gave my life to Him.
I got involved in the first Success Academy where I received spiritual guidance and advice about my future. God began to change my life and opportunities began to arrive. I even started taking college classes while at the center.
When I was released, I continued my studies and searched for work. The people of Orphan Helpers stayed in touch with me. They supported me with a scholarship to continue my university studies. They looked for employment opportunities for me, but it was difficult.
God always has a plan. I graduated from college and earned a degree in social work. I also studied online to be a Salesforce administrator. Today, I am working at Orphan Helpers and running the organization’s database platform. God has blessed my life and the life of my family through Orphan Helpers. I want to thank the donors of Orphan Helpers for all the love and support to make this great mission possible.