Scripture: Jeremiah 29:11-13

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. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.

Ema and her sister Corina had been with us for four years at Deborah House. Ema was about to take her baccalaureate exam when she learned that her grandmother passed away and her younger brother will end up in a government run children’s home. Fear for her brother’s future made her forget about her own. In spite of being a good student, she did not pass the exam. Her dream of going to university was lost. Being 18 years old, she knew she could no longer legally stay at Deborah House. Ema is a hardworking girl, she could get a job and take care of her brother. But her chances of getting a well paid job that would provide for her and her brother without a college degree were dim. She felt like all she worked for in the safety of the four years spent at Deborah House was lost. With prayer support, encouragement and assistance from our team, Ema moved into one of the MLI Aspirations Program apartments, where she lived with two other girls without paying rent for a determined period. Ema got a job. The following year she passed the baccalaureate and started at university. After the first year in university she received custody of her younger brother who started sixth grade in Timisoara. One summer Ema went to Slovenia as a volunteer in a youth program, she served as a leader in camps for children with special needs. When she returned, Ema volunteered for local organizations, including Deborah House. She finished college and got her Master’s Degree, this would have opened the door for a good job. Instead, Ema went as a volunteer with YMCA for a year, working with abused children and parents with drug addictions. Her experience in Slovenia, the love for God and people, gave birth to a desire to serve as a missionary. Last September, Ema applied to serve as a YMCA missionary in Africa. The application did not go through, but as always Ema will not give up! She perseveres and fights for her dream.
Today we pray for youth who did not have parents as a model, who feel lonely and with no value, thinking they are at a dead end. Through the Aspirations Program, since 2008, we at MLI come alongside girls with difficult backgrounds who reach adulthood and can no longer be part of a residential program and we assist them to start an independent life. We pray they would encounter the love of Jesus, the best friend, that He would provide strength and guidance to press on towards healthy goals.

Questions & Reflection:
1. How did you deal with failure in your life?
2. How did you deal with success in your life? How did you achieve the success?
3. Which of the two situations made you experience God more present? How?
4. Do you know youth who are about to give up on their dream? Think of one person you could help to persevere and not abandon the race