Everybody has a place to land, right? And everybody has a story to tell.
My friend, Ken Stiver, is going to share his story with you today.
I met Ken (we all called him Stiver, though) on a mission trip to Peru two years ago.
From the short time I spent with him, I knew he was a great person.
Among the boys in the camp he was a leader, a big brother, and He loved Christ with all his heart.
I have asked many friends to share their stories of places they have landed and he is the first to send his story. Thank you Ken for taking time to share your life with us.
I hope you are touched by the impact Jesus Christ and his "American" mom, Lancy Rhyne has had on his life. Lancy is a member of our church and has traveled to Peru many times to serve at Puerto Alegria!
UNA VIDA EN ESTA VIDA (a life in this life)
Hello! Before I tell you about how God is working in my life, let me introduce myself. My name is Ken Stiver and I was born in a town called San Antonio (Colombia) the border of Peru between Colombia. Sometimes I think that I’m more Colombian than Peruvian but I’m Peruvian, lol.
This story begins when my parents broke up their relationship. My mom moved to Colombia and my dad stayed here in Peru. This happened when I was about 1 year old and my dad had to work so I went to live with my grandparent (my dads parent)…. My life with them wasn’t good at all. They were mean to me all the time, they were Christian though but I don’t know what kind of Christians. I went to church when I was a boy but I never understood the love of God. The time I spent there, I got done with elementary school then I moved to Iquitos from San Antonio with my grandparents.
Here in Iquitos my grandparents met a person that worked in the Scripture Union. And that’s how I went to Puerto Alegria (Scripture Union’s Orphanage). I really felt so bad when I came to this place (Puerto Alegria). My dad never did anything, but allow my grandparents to send me here, even when I know that he has the enough money to support me, this meant how mean my family is. But I never showed to others how I was really feeling in that time, I was always thinking I will grow up… and when they need my help, it will be so late for them…
When I came to this orphanage I saw a lot of boys like me so I felt comfortable in that house and also I forgot to my family, well my family made me forget them. I had been there more than 5 years and they never appear never…visited me. You would think that was hard to me but it wasn’t. For me I was alright, I felt peace. My life at Puerto Alegria was really different than what I had…
Every morning for the start of the day they joined us in the dining room for their DEVOCIONAL (I don’t know if you guys has a word for this but its when you are all together and read your bible and sing and pray). I even didn’t know whata devocional mean but then I understood and that is how my life went at Puerto Alegria.
One upon a time, in our devocional our director was speaking about the love of God, and how much He loved us and I said into my mind, “if He loves me so much why he let that my parent broke up their relationship?” And others questions.
I had seen Americans before but I never had a friend, and I never know that in this orphanage Americans would come. So every time when they come, everybody there was happy saying”the Americans are coming.”… and one of my friends said me, “they are good, nice persons.” I remember that I said “mmm ok.” And one time I saw an American a nd every time when she came here, she brought candies, cookies for him, and I would say that I would like to have a person like that American…
I remember that one day I really felt alone when I looked around me and no one was my family, It was hard and the next day in our devotional while I was looking at the others praying I say “if you, God are real, I need someone to share things.” I knew God loves me, but I needed someone to trust, tell me things, I know that I can tell my things to God but I needed a person… the things spent… one day I met a person from the United States ( I had forgetten what I had asked to God) and that woman was the person what I was asking for when I challenged GOD in a prayer. Then I said. “wow God is real.” That’s some of the things that I have seen the hands of God, since that time I start to believe that God is real, and then when they spoke to me about what Jesus did for me in that cross broke my heart. I accepted him as my savior.
My life wasn’t the same, and when I think about my family I don’t feel hate, I was saying, if they don’t visit me, I don’t care. My mom (the American) will come. I feel really lucky. I’m not crying saying, “why this could happen?” I’m praying and saying “thank you God for letting this happen, because if I were still living with my parenst I can’t image what will be going on in my life at this moment.” Maybe I might not be a Christian or I wouldn’t be speaking English like now. Life hurt me a lot, but I know God was there in every silent place that I was. He helped me to hold on to everything. He has given to me a wonderful mom and great dad. I’m happy about what God did in my life and what he is doing and what he will do. I only need to trust him… he has blessed me in everything at high school with good grades, he is my strength.
Right now I’m at the university studying tourism administration,. I’m living in the city, not in the orphanage, now is my time to show and teach to the rest that God is real and he loves us so much, I’m a volunteer in the youth ministry of my church. We give food to street boys and tell them that they aren’t alone, I’m here to help them and let them know that God has big plans for them. And tell them what God did for me. -ken