A life transformed, step by step

By Lauren Hollon Sturdy

At 56 years old, Elvira’s life was not what she wanted or planned. She was lonely. Her son, Gerardo, was a violent alcoholic. Her relationship with her husband had fallen apart. She didn’t want to live anymore and tried to end her life twice.

Elvira’s outlook began to change about seven months ago when her friend Monica invited her to an event at the Buckner Mexico Family Hope Center satellite location in Chimalhuacan, a poor community 15 miles east of Mexico City.

Change didn’t happen instantly. She was shy, quiet and serious at the first event she came to. She sat in the back corner away from the group and didn’t talk with anyone.

In the weeks and months that followed, the 16 ladies who were regulars at Hope Center events befriended Elvira and drew her out of her shell. She participated in the 180 Degrees of Difference program, where families learn to keep their homes clean and organized and get a fresh coat of bright blue paint on the outside of their houses. She learned to can fruits and vegetables at one workshop and to cook inexpensive but nutritional meals with soy at another one.

Her new friends invited her to join their Wednesday night small group sponsored by a nearby Baptist church. There, she accepted Jesus Christ as her Savior.

“When I started to have meetings at Buckner, I understood that there are options and I am not alone,” Elvira said. “Then, through the courses and workshops, I discovered some of my skills and recognized the need to have God in my heart. Now I know that God is my Lord and I've never been alone.”

Elvira’s relationship with her husband has improved drastically. Her husband began attending church with her on Sundays and the small group on Wednesdays, and they both joined the Healthy Families program at the Hope Center, where they learned biblical principles and communication skills. Today, they enjoy each other’s company and can be seen whispering to each other and smiling at each other.

Buckner Mexico staff members are working with Gerardo to build a relationship with him and encourage him to enter a rehabilitation program. Because he is 18, he will have to enter the program by his own choice, but the staff continues to pray for him and offer support to Elvira.

[caption id="attachment_9214" align="alignright" width="250"] Elvira has shared her newfound faith in Christ with her niece, Maria.[/caption]

“Elvira looks so different from how she looked when she came to her first workshop at the Family Hope Center,” said Juan Carlos Millán, director of Buckner Mexico. “She talks with others, you can see her smile now and she offers us her time and skills anytime we need them. She is a wonderful cook and she cooks like a professional, so she shares her talent with others.”

Change hasn’t stopped with Elvira and her husband. She is sharing her hope with others, including her family. She has been teaching her niece, Maria, about Jesus and how He has changed her life, and Maria was baptized on Easter Sunday.

“We have been blessed to see this transformation in Elvira’s family,” Millán said. “And we believe many others will be touched as she shares her story of hope.”

Buckner has Family Hope Centers in eight countries, including four Family Hope Centers in the United States. To learn more about the ministry of Family Hope Centers, click here. If you would like to give to support the life-changing work these centers are doing, please call Buckner Foundation toll free at 1-800-442-4800, or click here to donate online.

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