It took a long time for us to win Beto's confidence on our nightly street visits. During his childhood, his drug and alcohol dependent parents tied him to a table and left him alone to follow their addiction. It's no wonder Beto preferred to live on the street, even though he used to be known on the streets as “crazy Beto,” due to his epileptic fits and sometimes odd behavior!
But life on the streets was very dangerous as well. He quickly came in contact with drugs and was often confronted with a lot of difficult situations. One day, when he was just 15 years old, he had to go into hiding because people came after him, wanting to kill him. At this time, Beto took the opportunity to respond to our offer and came to our shelter. That was the beginning of a new journey!
Since leaving the streets 2 1/2 years ago, we have seen him grow in so many ways. We were able to help him find the right medication for his epileptic seizures, so it is something he rarely struggles with today. Although he is an adult now and works for us in the factory, he still has a lot of needs that require us to invest a lot of time into his life.
Now Beto has learned social skills and boundaries, which enable him to fit into society without too many problems. He is beginning to learn how to read people to understand if his words or jokes are offensive. For example, in the beginning he used to bite to show affection. He is now starting to express his emotions verbally instead of physically, and he now apologizes when he knows he has done something wrong.
It’s amazing to see how far he has come since we took him off the streets. He still has a difficult journey ahead of him, but we are glad he is with us and we can journey together.
This testimony from Beto was part of our work at the YWAM -Recife base. Beto has such a strong link to us, that he has decided to move with us to the new site.