Kevin’s story is not unusual for boys in the Primavera neighborhood in El Progreso, Honduras. Abused by his father from an early age, Kevin became addicted to drugs and joined a gang, who told him to forget his biological family. The gang told him they were his new family, and they would take care of him.
His first job for the gang was as a “flag,” or someone who keeps track of the traffic in and out of a gang’s territory. As their trust in him increased, they started assigning him to kill jobs, acting as watchman and keeping an eye out for police.
“They sent me as a watchman,” he said. “I saw people die.” Fear of being killed himself drove him to learn martial arts, which is where he met Raul Carrasco.
Raul is a local leader who runs a small ministry in Progreso, Honduras for boys who were headed for life on the streets or in gangs. Just Hope partners with Raul to provide employment opportunity and survival skills training as he ministers to the boys physical, mental and spiritual needs.
Recognizing Kevin’s predicament, Raul told him that he didn’t have to stay in the gang or continue his dangerous and harmful lifestyle. He told Kevin he could make something of himself, and that Jesus would help him. So Kevin began hanging out at the gym more and more often, and came to accept that God had a new plan for him, one that could eliminate the fear of death, and one that would soothe his sadness over not having his father’s love.
Kevin stopped taking drugs and selling drugs, and his new family truly does take care of him. He still doesn’t have the love of his father, who tells him he’s crazy and will never amount to anything without him, but now he knows deeply the love of his heavenly Father, who he knows will never leave him.
“I know that if I keep my confidence in Jesus, I can go a long way in life,” said Kevin.
At the boys’ home, Kevin works while he completes his education and prepares for long-term employment on his own.
For Kevin, a hand up offering economic empowerment meant the difference between a dangerous life on the streets and a bright future in which he can provide for himself.