“When they kept on questioning Jesus, He straightened up and said to them, ‘Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.’”

John 8:7

Have you ever been given a second chance when you did something wrong?  What if that opportunity had been withheld when you asked for forgiveness?

One of our scholars showed me that we all really need at least a second chance. We don’t always act in the best way or how our parents want us to act, but second chances give us the opportunity to come back even stronger.

Irma is an 18-year-old girl from our scholarship program who got pregnant. When her mother told me about her pregnancy, I felt very sad, disappointed, and even angry. I couldn’t believe it!  International Samaritan had given her everything to be able to stay in school, but our policy is that pregnancy is grounds for expulsion from the scholarship program. Irma knew this. How could she put her education at such risk? Staying in school is doubly difficult for a mother, let alone without scholarship help!

Her mother told me about this situation with mixed emotions. On the one hand, she was sad because a mother always dreams of her children first studying, graduating, falling in love, getting married, and finally forming a family with children. But on the other hand, she was still happy to have a grandchild. A child, in whatever circumstance, will always be a blessing from God.

I turned to our U.S. team at International Samaritan for guidance. Together, we decided to maintain some level of support for Irma, even if it wasn’t a full scholarship. My coworkers also advised me to be forgiving. They told me, “Ronia, look for an opportunity for this girl where we can help both her and her baby have a better life.” So I told myself, “Why be upset when my mission is always to seek solutions or new opportunities for those who need it?” I turned my attention to forgiving and aiding Irma so she and her child might have that bright future. 

Irma was apologetic and determined to finish her education.  We created a plan that allows her to continue her studies online. Despite her disappointment, Irma’s mother fully supports her plan to stay in school, is willing to take care of the baby while Irma studies, and has supported her daughter with love and grace throughout her pregnancy. 

Let me tell you that you, as a donor, as a teammate, or as a volunteer, have also walked hand-in-hand to support Irma simply by being a part of International Samaritan. Together, we have given her the opportunity to continue her education despite the unforeseen circumstances and it is a good thing we did! Irma continues her studies even more motivated than before she was pregnant. She told us, “I will do my best to graduate and make everyone feel proud of my achievements.”  

Everyone makes mistakes with unforeseen consequences, especially children, but what someone can achieve with a little understanding and forgiveness is truly remarkable. I am so proud of Irma and everything that she has already accomplished with the second chance that she’s been given. I look forward to seeing the woman, mother, and Samaritan that she grows to be.

Anonymous IntSam Leader

Due to the sensitive content discussed in this week’s reflection, we have decided to remove the name of the author, the country of origin, and change the names of those in the story to make sure that the individuals mentioned are not easily unidentified. 

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