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Faith Focus: A plastic bag changed a life

When Marilin Garcia, now 18, was in kindergarten, her mother couldn’t afford to buy a backpack for school, so she used a shopping bag. That plastic bag was the catalyst for changing Marilin’s life.

Her classmates teased her about the makeshift backpack. Where some might wither under the constant teasing, Marilin used it as an opportunity to prove everyone wrong.

“My mom is really hardworking,” Marilin said. “She was working for me to become somebody, so why would I listen to somebody telling me not to overcome the teasing? I tried really hard; I was a top reader in my class. My grades were really good—they were all As. I tried very hard to overcome what they were telling me.”

When Marilin had trouble finding scholarships for college, the school counselor recommended she go to the Buckner Family Hope Center for help. Buckner Family Coach Gabriel Flores asked Marilin for an essay about her life and why she works so hard. Marilin wrote it and didn’t think anything of it.

Several weeks later, she received a surprise phone call: she had been awarded a Buckner scholarship to pay for tuition.

“As I got to know Marilin’s story, I thought of the verse in 2 Timothy: ‘For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love and self-discipline (1:7),’” Gabriel said. “Marilin has been through so many tragedies like her father leaving them, moving to a different country, learning a different language and other instances worthy of discouragement. But to see her at the top of her class simply tells me she has an unbreakable and determined spirit!”

Deeper reflection:

  • How do you respond when faced by adversity?
  • Where do you turn for strength when fighting through obstacles?

Next steps:

  • Pray for strength for the children and families Buckner serves. They daily face difficulties. May they feel God giving them power and comfort.


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