December 4, 2017

Transforming Light

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Laurel and her friends sit on a bench outside Emanuel Christian School in the Dominican Republic. They’ve just attended an award ceremony where they were honoured as some of the top students in the entire country. 

You wouldn’t know from Laurel’s smile that a few short years ago, she had been in crisis – expelled from school – consumed by darkness. 

“From an early age I was negatively marked in various areas of life,” Laurel says. “I am the daughter of separated parents; I grew up with different tutors, who did not know how to handle my situation well.”

“I was aggressive. Rebellious. I felt lonely, helpless and lacking in affection.” 

Laurel was expelled because of her behavior. She fell into a dark, deep depression. That was when she began to attend Emanuel Christian School. 

“I was that girl who always had problems with everyone,” Laurel remembers. “I would fight, always, and get into more problems. Despite my bad behavior, many teachers advised me and gave me the love I needed so much.”

One teacher – Yanet, the school’s guidance counselor – developed a special bond with Laurel.  “She became my confidante. My support. My mother,” Laurel says. 

The love of her teachers wasn’t the only transforming force in Laurel’s life. The Gospel – through the school’s Christ-centred teaching – began to shape her heart.

“During my stay at the Emanuel Christian School, I have been impacted through the daily devotions, prayers and worship services in the chapel that is celebrated every month. Today, I can say I am a new person, full of values and purpose.” 

Laurel’s life, through the love of her teachers and the Good News of Jesus, has moved from darkness into light.

“Even though my life became lonely, dark and empty, God always took care of me,” Laurel says. Today, Laurel hopes to continue her education – to go to university and become a family doctor.

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