Guadalupe – or “Lupe” as she’s known by friends – has come a long way from her early childhood.
Lupe, now 27, was neglected as a child by her alcoholic mother in a destitute living situation in El Salvador. When she was nine years old, Salvadoran social services removed Lupe from the home for her safety. Over the next few years, Lupe was moved from one government protection center to another.
Finally, at 14 years old, Lupe was brought to live with an Orphan Helpers team where she says she met God for the first time.
“I never thought that my life would change very much. But in that Orphan Helpers house, I experienced the profound grace of God. I learned that he had a plan for my life and that it could be different from what it had been up to that point,” Lupe explains about the pivotal time in her life.
At 19, Lupe’s relationship with her mother started to heal and Lupe moved back with her mother and brother. With the support of Orphan Helpers and her mother, Lupe enrolled in college. It seemed like her future was looking brighter.
However, a couple years later, Lupe experienced another hard, unexpected blow. Lupe’s mother suffered a serious stroke and is now completely bedridden, unable to talk or move.
Lupe was determined to care for her mom while she continued her studies. Each night she slept by her mom’s side in the hospital and each day she went to school trying to focus on her school work. “I was exhausted. Sometimes I begged God to tell me why all this was happening to me,” she recalls.
Lupe did not give up. Instead, she worked even harder. In order to provide for herself and her mom, she started her own business selling cupcakes and homemade greeting cards, a business she continues to this day.
Through the new Work for Success program, Orphan Helpers was able to provide Lupe with a full scholarship for her final year of college. She graduated in December 2021 with a degree in Business Administration. Today she is working as an intern with the same governmental social services agency that looked out for her safety 18 years ago.
“God has demonstrated his love to me. Throughout everything, I have not been alone. Despite everything, I have been able to keep studying and to focus on my future. I believe I can do great things, in spite of the extreme circumstances, through Him who strengthens me,” she proclaims.
Lupe declares that, still to this day, the Orphan Helpers staff are like the parents she never had growing up. “I’ve experienced family, that wasn’t my blood family, who God gave me when I was desperately in need of love and support,” she says gratefully. “I thank Orphan Helpers for always being there for me, and I thank God for putting them in my life. Without Orphan Helpers and their supporters, I would not be a college graduate and I would not be who I am today.”