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When he was a young boy, Nzila and his little brother, Berveli, were abandoned in the streets of Kinshasa in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). They were forced to join hundreds of other abandoned youth in gangs just to survive.

Nzila says his initiation into “The Belts” gang was to kill a cat and drink its blood so that, he explains, “I would carry its spirit.”

He lived his young life like a crazed animal and was nicknamed “The Master Mbwa” (“The Dog”), because he was afraid of nothing. Frequently involved in bloody street fights and living as a criminal, he spent most of his time either drunk or on drugs.

A turning point in Nzila’s life was the terrible night his brother was killed, right in front of his eyes, during one of their many street fights.

Later, he met Foursquare Pastor Constant Damba, who ministers to orphans in the DRC. God moved on Nzila’s heart, and his life was dramatically transformed when he accepted Jesus as his Savior. He literally was saved from the violent life that had characterized his youth. The hope of a future became a possibility for him once again.

“I testify today to God because of His greatness in my life, and because He has redeemed me,” Nzila exclaims. “I regained a sense of purpose when I gave my life to Jesus Christ, and now Jesus is my Lord and Savior.”

Nzila is now 26 and works alongside Pastor Constant to help restore the lives of the DRC’s forgotten youth.

“I am now an evangelist and leader of a large prayer cell in the streets where I used to live and fight,” Nzila reports. “Thanks to Pastor Constant’s ministry to the street youth of Kinshasa, I have been given a new chance in life. I have learned to read and write. I also work, because this ministry helped me learn the skills to become a professional painter. Today I can now say I am a useful citizen of society. May all glory be given to the Lord!”

Nzila will never forget the way Pastor Constant and the ministry of The Foursquare Church in the DRC reached out to him and to the other orphans of the streets in Kinshasa. Most of all, the grace of God continues to fill Nzila’s life. Once, he freely took the lives of others, but today he helps others find new life in Christ.

There is no stronger emotion that rips at my heart than to wonder what a child feels who has no parent to care for him or her, no one to comfort him or her in this dangerous world.

Through generous donations from our Foursquare churches to the Foursquare Missions International (FMI) Children’s Christmas Offering, we will help provide the comfort, care, and “home” that every child deserves in some 20 Foursquare orphanages around the world.

I’m “all in” with this year’s FMI Children’s Christmas Offering. Will you join us?

By: Ted Vail, associate director of Foursquare Missions International. Watch for upcoming stories about other children whose lives have been changed by Foursquare’s outreach to orphans.

is the senior vice president of global operations for The Foursquare Church.