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Young Akila's life nearly ended. Akila lives in the Central Province of Sri Lanka, where she attends school. Since childhood, she had heard about Jesus but wasn't interested in Him.

Harmful choices caused her life to spiral into darkness. Akila couldn't find hope or peace. Struggles overwhelmed her and left her brokenhearted. Finally, she reached a point of despair but couldn't find the courage to confide in anyone. So she bottled up her sorrow. Soon, Akila considered ending her life.

Amid those suicidal thoughts, she heard about a youth event hosted by Lutheran Hour Ministries' office in Sri Lanka. Akila decided to attend. She needed hope.

The Lord healed her broken heart that day.

Akila tells us God has given her new hope. He used the Good News she heard at the LHM-Sri Lanka event to strengthen her. In the days that followed, the Lord helped her face the issues that had intimidated her.

Today, Akila approaches her days with fresh perspective. She shares Christ's love with her friends and neighbors. Best of all, this girl—once brokenhearted—now praises God for the change His grace has brought in her life.

I never wanted you as a son. I became your father out of pity.

Unwanted by his father, Marcos has known rejection and pain from a young age. Heartache continued once he married and had children. One son died while young. Another son departed the family for another country. They haven't heard from him in a long time. Marcos' wife, Lourdes, sank into deep depression and turned to alcohol for comfort. Treatment for her addiction was unsuccessful. Lourdes passed away.

Yet Marcos' heartache continued with the worst ordeal a parent can know: His daughter died, leaving behind a son and daughter. Both children were orphans before their fifth birthdays.

Marcos' life hit rock bottom. He struggled alone. Without a church, he had no place to look for answers. Fearing he couldn't be the grandfather his grandchildren would need him to be, Marcos prepared to give them up for adoption.

Then, while listening to the radio, Marcos heard a radio spot from LHM-Paraguay. Desperate for help, he contacted the ministry staff. As they shared Christ's love with him, Marcos grew hopeful ... and decided to keep his grandchildren in his care.

Working through the LHM-Paraguay staff and its radio programming, the Holy Spirit brought Marcos restoration. Today, he lives with his daughters—and grandchildren—in the town of Pirayu.

Dimitry was not a Christian. As a prisoner in Russia, his circumstances were dim. Racked with torment, unable to find peace, he pleaded his case before God. Soon after, God used Lutheran Hour Ministries' Bible Correspondence Courses to introduce him to Christ's forgiveness. Dimitry believes the material was God's answer to prayer.

"These lessons helped me to know about the Christian faith," Dimitry says. "Reading through these materials, I began thinking and meditating and—what's even more important—I began applying Christ's teaching and God's will to my own life." He appreciated the structure of the Bible Correspondence Course lessons, which help students grow in their faith and give them a chance to contemplate the depth of what they learn.

Today, Dimitry understands that Jesus Christ is the sovereign Lord of his heart.

"I want to begin a new life—the life with Christ—and this life is the eternal one," he says. "I am not separated from God now. As soon as I am released from prison, I'll come to church. No matter what people might say, I am a Christian, for there is one God and Christ is my Lord! May His name be hallowed forever!"

In coordination with the Lutheran Church in Guatemala and the Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod's Disaster Response team, staff from LHM—Guatemala are assisting people affected by the country's most violent volcano eruption in more than 100 years. The June 3 eruption of the Fuego volcano sent lava flowing into rural communities, killing or injuring several dozens of people and leading local authorities to believe the death toll will continue to rise with many people still unaccounted for. Although the initial eruption has ended, its aftermath will continue to impact 1.7 million people, with the possibility for additional eruptions and mudslides containing volcanic material.

As with all of its outreach activities, LHM staff and volunteers in Guatemala are sharing the Good News of Jesus with those affected and delivering hope as they begin to pull their lives together. As native residents, LHM's staff and volunteers understand the unique needs of their people and how to demonstrate Christ's love to them.

"On behalf of the Lutheran Church in Guatemala, I want to thank Christ for All Nations (LHM in Guatemala) for participating in our visit to the victims of the eruption of the Fuego volcano and bringing along Bibles and literature that allow us to give spiritual encouragement to the people who are suffering," said the Rev. Dr. Abdiel Orozco, president of the Lutheran Church in Guatemala.

While we thank and praise God for His continuing grace and mercy in keeping our staff members safe during this tragedy, we also ask that you please pray for the people of Guatemala, especially those who have been injured or lost family members or their homes.

To support LHM's ongoing ministry work taking place in Guatemala, visit https://www.lhm.org/give/forms/formgeneral.asp?id=16.

LHM's Project JOEL program continues to have great success providing youth throughout Latin America with biblically-based guidance in making healthy lifestyle choices. The program has been integrated into school curriculum in some countries, but also supplements its educational content by incorporating opportunities for holding sporting and cultural events. As a strong outreach program throughout the region, Project JOEL is now reaching more than 35,000 students in public and private schools annually who are being impacted by God's Word in their lives, and consequently impacting their families.

In Paraguay, this impact on families is being seen through a new program offered to the mothers of students in some of the public schools where Project JOEL was being carried out. The "Bread of Life" program, developed and implemented by LHM - Paraguay Director Victor Verruck and his wife Estefana, was offered for free as a three-month training course consisting of weekly six-hour classes where the ladies from low-income families are taught how to bake different kinds of bread and pastries. Estefana, who previously owned her own bakery, volunteers to lead the classes and offer her professional baking skills with the attendees.

For some of the ladies, this program has led to a source of income by not only teaching them how to bake but also sell their homemade products within their neighborhoods. During the time of fermentation during each class, Victor and his wife offer short presentations on topics such as parenthood, home violence, marriage relationships, communication, and sexuality that are of concern to the women in the class. It also provides time for God's Word, the eternal Bread of life, to be shared and impact the lives of the women, many who knew very little about Christ before participating in the classes.

"I learned a lot and had the opportunity to participate and interact with members of the Lutheran Church to learn more about our Savior Jesus Christ," says one attendee. Another participant added, "This course taught me about the importance of work and therefore I changed my attitude towards it. I learned that the Bible says that the one who does not work does not eat."

Read more stories from our ministry centers around the world:

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