A large shift takes place when someone who has felt dependent on other’s generosity and stuck as a victim of their circumstances, chooses to take steps in the direction of hope.

Pascal is a 25-year-old we met in the DR Congo. He lives with his widowed mother and four younger sisters in an old house in the urban slum of Bukavu.

Growing up Pascal felt like a failure at school and his family often couldn’t afford school fees, so he abandoned his education and his family altogether to join a group of street children. For years he begged for money and food from other people. When they didn’t give freely, he robbed them. He used what he stole to buy drugs and alcohol, eat in restaurants, and gamble, which alienated him even more from those around him.

In October 2020, a youth conference put on by LIA and the local church took place in Pascal’s community. He enjoyed playing football that day and decided to join the Youth Running Club after. Slowly, through attending the club and listening to teachings on understanding poverty and how to address it, Pascal realized that he needed to take ownership of his life and change his behavior and mindset.

He started going to church and was baptized Easter 2021. With no desire to commit more robberies, Pascal was given a loan of $50 USD to start an income generating activity and become self-sufficient. He began a shoe repair business and now has a workshop with some other young people who have become friends.

Recently, he started using what he earns to assist his mother and sisters. Recognizing the Lord’s provision and grace, Pascal promises he will continue to work faithfully to serve God. “May my fellow Christians pray for me so that through my business God may be glorified.”