05 Apr 2016 Did you meet Ileana?
This story was originally written and produced by Reignite Ministries.
I met Ileana in 2004, during my first trip to the Managua dump. She greeted my team with a bright smile, a point of light in the middle of a horrible place. Soon we learned that her parents were prostituting her to the dump truck drivers … it broke our hearts. In 2011 she died of HIV.
But before she died, she touched many lives. One life she touched was Paula, a Northshore member who helped form and lead a Northshore ministry (Front Line for Justice) to stop human trafficking. You can read about Paula’s encounter with Ileana at https://re-ignite.net/re-igniting-purpose-power-midlife/.
Another life Ileana touched was Brad Corrigan, a film maker who was so deeply moved by Ileana’s life, struggle and “lightning” smile that he has devoted his life, talent, and resources to fighting human trafficking. “Ileana’s story must be shared so that other vulnerable children can be protected and live.”
Brad is producing a documentary film entitled “Ileana’s Smile.” You can learn more, protect other children, and help celebrate Ileana’s life (and smile), at http://lovelightandmelody.org
We are overwhelmed with the profound impact the life of little Ileana is having years after her death. Her picture appears on posters, t-shirts, and websites. Her smile reminds us that we, at any age or stage of life, must stand up for the defenseless and those at risk.
A painting of Ileana hangs on a wall in our church missions office, reminding short-term teams of the profound value of every life that Jesus died to save.