It was tough for Angelica Echivarre, a Christian woman to survive in a neighborhood infested with drugs and prostitution in the Philippines.
But this program teacher is inspiring her community and ushering in a change in the locality.
Echivarre was raised in the notorious area of Lorega, but she received Christ at her local church and a ministry, Compassion International, which strives to take children out of poverty.
“I was found by Compassion as a hopeless young girl in the middle of a very dysfunctional community,” Echivarre said. “It was in Compassion where I learned to boost my confidence and practice my faith. Today, I am paying back by paying [it] forward.”
Pastor Davis of Cebu City Alliance Church said the community is changed now as the area which used to be filled with drug dealers, is now a safe place for children to play in the backyards and street.
“Before, urban taxi driver will not come inside Lorega,” said Davis, whose oldest son benefited from being part of Compassion. “[Shootings] every day, but Lorega now is totally open with the gospel.”
Parents had no hope for their children in Lorega before, but now they are filled with a new purpose and hope for a brighter tomorrow.
Echivarre serves as a Compassion program teacher at the Loving My Neighbor Student Center in Cebu City, where she was registered and grew up in the Lord years ago.
“I advocate for children, as I was once a child like them in the center, giving them hope in Christ just like what Compassion did for me,” she said. “I now lead my own cell group for a bunch of young people and [serve as] one of the core leaders in the youth ministry.”
This true story of a young woman, Angelica Echivarre, who has become a beacon of light in the darkness of Lorega, reminds us that only through Christ we can truly have a bright and secure life. Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”