This past November, El Hogar held its third annual reunion of students who have graduated from El Hogar. Word was sent out throughout Honduras, from radio announcements and word of mouth, and 28 young men came to a day of celebration, music, tears, triumphs and sharing of their life stories. Two of the alumnae graduated 20 years ago! Others graduated just last year, and almost every year between.
In the audience was every student currently at El Hogar, including the little girls, some mothers and family members, the El Hogar staff, and many visitors from the US, over 300 people in all. Ten of the 28 men gave passionate testimonials (they all would have if there had been enough time in the day), each lasting close to 30 minutes. They told about their lives before coming to El Hogar, during their years at El Hogar, and their lives since graduating. More than one man was moved to tears recounting the ways El Hogar has changed his life. One man spoke of the joy and pride he has that his own young daughter will not grow up in the poverty of his own childhood. Many spoke of the difficulty they had adjusting to life at El Hogar, how it was not always easy for them to study or know how to live in the El Hogar community, even though they understood its importance. One man spoke of a certain teacher he had who gave him hope and changed his life forever. They spoke directly to their younger El Hogar brothers and sisters and urged them to persevere through hard times, to study, and to remember God in their lives – the reward will be great.
Some of these men are now teachers themselves; a couple have returned to teach and work at El Hogar. Some are business owners – a small factory, a welding shop. Many have families of their own, one man proudly brought his wife. Certainly these are the success stories of El Hogar, we know not every graduate has had a bright life. But, when listening to these men and seeing their deep faith, their joy, their thankfulness and their accomplishments, it seems that even just one of these successes makes it all worthwhile.