The Lost Sheep  

By Allysa Mae Frias Buisa

There’s a parable of Jesus recorded in the gospels of Matthew (18:12-14) and Luke (15:3-7) that tells us the story of a shepherd who, because a sheep was unaccounted for, opted to leave 99 others to find the lost one.

If I were the shepherd, I probably will calculate the risk and decide not to bother looking for the lost sheep because of the risk of losing more if the 99 will be left unattended. That, I think, is the logical course of action.

But my way is different from Jesus’. To Him, each sheep is of utmost importance and He is ready to go all-out in seeking it if it is lost. Such an unfathomable demonstration of an unconditional love!

Jesus may have spread in different parts of the world shepherds of His mold because He knows many sheep are lost, including JL. 

JL started roaming the streets of Metro Manila after dropping out of school and there was nothing else to do.

He experienced the harsh reality of life on the streets. He got into fistfights with young thugs, he begged to eat, and gambled with other street-children. The street became his home and “teacher” of life’s realities.

When he was 14 years old, he was arrested by the police and, because they assumed he was already an adult (JL was tall for his age), he was thrown into jail with drug users, pickpockets, and murderers.

A petty criminal with whom he shared the cell told him: “Son, you still have a chance to change. Don’t be like us.”

It was easy for someone like JL to lose his way. He stopped schooling when he was in his sixth grade due to family problem and lack of money to pay for his tuition and to buy for his school needs. It was all downhill from there.

But Jesus-life shepherds come in various shapes and sizes. JL was blessed to have met several of them.

The first one was the “criminal” imprisoned with him who said he should change his life. Somehow, the advice stayed with JL. It made him reflect about the harsh realities of life and think how he can make his life different from his “cellmates.”

The second shepherd, an institution called the Kapatiran-Kaunlaran Foundation Inc. (KKFI), came to his life at a perfect time. KKFI has a human face—that of Sir Vicente “Vince” Eliver, a social worker.

Kuya Vince was a constant presence who guided JL in difficult task of shifting his old paradigms toward new ones.

In more ways than one, KKFI became JL’s bridge that allowed him to cross over from being an out-of-school youth (OSY) to graduating from elementary and then to junior high school.

He passed the Alternative Learning System Examination in 2015, allowing him to continue his studies as a seventh grader in school year 2015-2016. During summer vacations, he busied himself by participating actively in the KKFI activity called, Youth Lead, Educate and Advocate for Development (YLEAD) and LikhAral (Create/Study).

JL admitted that YLEAD and other KKFI activities have boosted his self-confidence and provided him opportunities to explore his talents and skills. They also prepared him for whatever challenges life throws at him.

His perception of himself soon improved. His outlook in life turned positive. His perception became wider and his understanding went differ.

From his days as a deviant youngster, JL now sees himself as a potential public servant, in particular, a police officer who maintains peace and order in the community. Education caused this change, he knew, and he gave it the attention and effort it deserved.

JL is currently a Grade 11 scholar of KKFI taking up the humanities and social sciences track. He likes all of his subjects but his favorite is science and technology. This former OSY and street-child is now a consistent honor student and an active youth leader. He participated in the national contest in robotics the year before.

He was always voted by his classmates to the list of officers. He has even held positions in his school’s Supreme Student Government (SSG) as treasurer, vice president, and, finally, president. For three consecutive school years since 2017, JL was awarded as Top 3 student in his batch overall.

But more than the academic accolades, JL treasures the fact that he was able to find the right path after being lost for two long years. He likened Sir Vince of KKFI to a good shepherd who opted to leave the 99 others because he was determined to find the lost one—himself.

“Thank you, Sir Vince and staff of KKFI, for the patience. Without you, I have no idea where I would be now,” he said.

JL said he hopes Sir Vince will be able read this article because, through it, he wanted to express his heartfelt gratitude for all that he has done for him.

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