One afternoon about a month ago I received a phone call from an area code I didn’t recognize. The accent I heard from the voice on the other end was very familiar to me, but when the man identified himself as Eric from Los Angeles, CA I knew I didn’t know him personally.
With a sense of enthusiasm in his voice, Eric let me know right away that he grew up in La Limonada and moved to Los Angeles 20 years ago when he was 13 years old. He contacted us after searching online for organizations doing work in the community he grew up in.
In an intriguing conversation that lasted about 45 minutes, he shared stories from his childhood – the most compelling being about about his grandfather who ran a community center and store in what is now Escuelita Limón! Then Eric’s tone became more serious when he shared that his grandfather was stabbed to death. The tragedy was the catalyst for his family to leave La Limonada for a new direction in life in Los Angeles.
I was very excited to tell Eric that I was scheduled to be in Southern California to attend the !deation Conference in just a few weeks. We agreed to do whatever we could to meet in person when I was in the area.
In the meantime, Eric and his wife made a commitment to sponsor a child at one of the schools in La Limonada and to host an event in his community to raise awareness and support for the work Tita and her team are doing – and to visit La Limonada and serve at the schools sometime in the fall.
Last night Eric drove to the hotel where I am staying and we got to spend some quality time together. As we talked it was incredible to realize how God united us together and how he now has a meaningful connection to the place of his childhood – a place of great memories of playing soccer with his friends, but also a place of poverty and violence where his grandfather’s life was needlessly cut short.
Eric is passionate about serving others. He and his family go to Tijuana, Mexico every month to serve children at an orphanage there. He wants to extend that passion to include a reconnection to La Limonada. He also knows about 50 families in the Los Angeles area who are from La Limonada and he will be sharing with them about this new opportunity for them to give back to a place they used to call home.
Our work in La Limonada has provided opportunities to meet some wonderful people and to hear some amazing stories. Meeting Eric and learning his story is one of the more special and compelling we have encountered.
And I have the sense that it’s a story that will continue to develop…