Scripture: Isaiah 44:22-23

I have swept away your offenses like a cloud, your sins like the morning mist. Return to me, for I have redeemed you. Sing for joy, you heavens, for the Lord has done this; shout aloud, you earth beneath. Burst into song, you mountains, you forests and all your trees, for the Lord has redeemed Jacob, he displays his glory in Israel.

As she ran from poverty and abuse in her family, Carmen landed in the wrong company. At 15 years old, from being a victim of trafficking, she was forced into becoming a recruiter and drug dispenser. She was arrested and sentenced before she turned 17 and placed into a high security prison for adults. She gained the right to work, and this way she met Rares, a handsome young man, who was sentenced for killing another youth while driving under the influence. The two fell in love, and after Carmen turned 18 they were married in jail. Carmen became pregnant. In order for her to keep the baby after birth she was transferred to Buzias, a reeducation center where the conditions were more suitable for a mother and where we from MLI serve every week. Carmen joined our Harmony Program activities which includes a Bible Study group; here she learned to pray for herself and her family. Carmen changed! Her parole did not bring her much joy as the only place she could go with the baby would be to her family, where neither of them would be safe. So Carmen asked for our help. The young mom moved to a Christian community near Timisoara, where a mature Christian became her mentor and where she received help in raising her child. For two years, Carmen regularly visited her husband in prison 200 miles away. Their son knows his dad, after Rares was released, the young family decided to remain in the Christian community. Rares now has a stable job, their first son is in preschool. Our colleagues who lead the Harmony program in Buzias and the MLI volunteers were special guests at the celebration for the birth of their second child.
God met with Carmen and Rares in the wilderness and they chose to go to Him and receive the gift of a new life; a transformed life. Since 2008, MLI serves weekly in one of two reeducation centers for young offenders in Romania. Regularly, more than 200 of them take part in Bible study groups.

Today we pray for young offenders, that they would encounter God and discover the chance for a new life.

Questions & Reflection:
1. Where were you in your life when you were found by God? How did your life turn after this encounter?
2. Are there youth around you whose lives needs a change of direction? How could you help them to find the right path