International Ministries

Natali’s Mother: About a girl at Hope Ranch

September 7, 2004 Journal

Roving bands of Nazi skinheads have killed 14 homeless people in the last two weeks in several Brazilian cities. The helpless victims were clubbed to death as they slept, while dozens of others were beaten, maimed, and left for dead.Just in Campinas last week, four homeless people were viciously murdered.

Natali, now 17, had been beside herself.Her mother was homeless. Natali knew that she was wandering the steets and alleys of Campinas somewhere, at risk of being found and killed by the skinheads.

Until age 10, Natali lived with her mother in an underground crypt at the local cemetary. They slept during the day, coming out to forage for food at night. The authorities found out about the situation and removed Natali from her mother's custody after her mother rejected help (she suffers from some emotional / mental issues). Hope Ranch had just been established just a few weeks prior, and the authorities asked if we could take Natali. That was seven years ago.

Last week, concerned for her mother's safety, we set out to find her. From time to time, Hope's social workers had contact with her, though she was always resistant to help or to visit her daughter. Her nocturnal habits made her very difficult to find. To help our search, we enlisted the help of social workers from City Hall and made it a city-wide effort.The staff engaged in fervent prayer for the undertaking, not only that we would find Natali's mother before it was too late, but that once we did, she would be willing to accept our help and come with us.Meanwhile, a little apartment was prepared at Hope Ranch in optimistic anticipation.

Three days ago, a homeless lady was identified who was believed to be Natali's mother. Our social workers called Natali out of class, and she could scarcely contain herself during the ride to town. When the two finally met in a meeting room at the Juvenile Authority, Natili cried and hugged her mother.Her mother admitted that she had been very afraid in recent weeks, and agreed to accompany Natali back to Hope Ranch!

Natalie's mother is now staying in the little apartment prepared for her by Natali and the other girls. She was given a bath, new clothing, and looks completely different!She is surprisingly calm, expressing regret for making people go out of their way.Natali is extremely happy and chattering up a storm. She has been Natali, Derli and Mom (Left to Right)spending the last couple days scrubbing and fixing up the little apartment.

When our students reach age 17, we always intensify attempts to find family members and relatives. Despite whatever happenned in the past, our upcoiming graduates frequently express a desire to "adopt" and take care of their estranged family members with the money that they will earn at their first jobs. Natali will soon graduate, and because of the profession she has chosen she will undoubtedly make good wages.

If her mother demonstrates stability and continues to be willing to accept help, we will assist Natali in finding a little house or apartment where they can both live. Please pray that God would perform a miracle of healing on the mental state of her mother . . . and that both would live happily ever (and ever) after!

Note: Natali is the little girl featured in Hope's tenth year anniversary video. Her biographical sketch is below.


Natali, 17, Arrived in June of 1997, the month we established the Hope Girls Ranch.Before coming, and until 10 years of age, she lived with her homeless mother. They slept in a crypt in a cemetery, coming out at night to forage for food.Natali spent most of her time with a little dog that lived in the cemetery. Her mother kept her hidden from other people because she did not want her daughter to be taken away.Finally, the authorties found about about the situation.Her mother was unwilling to accept help to transition into a more stable situation, so the authorities decided to remove Natali from her mother's custody and asked if we could take her in.

When Natali first arrived at Hope Ranch, she could not speak because of her lack of contact with people. Instead, she made dog-like noises.It took many months before she said her first words.Natali is now age-appropriate in school and very popular with the other girls.She has made a commitment to Christ.Natali is shy with strangers and prefers to stay in the background, but loves her life here.She enjoys crocheting and continues to love animals.

At one time Natali wanted to be a vetrinarian. More recently, however, she expressed an interest to work as a color matcher in the Auto Body repair shop, one of only two girls who have chosen this vocational area.Natali enjoys art. As a color matcher, she will work with a spectrometer, identifying and re-creating precise color tones with the help of sophisticated computer equipment and laboratory-style scales and beakers.The profession pays very well at even the entry level.