One Stupid Decision!

     “I deserved punishment for what I did,” says Laura. “I felt too guilty to be forgiven. In a moment, one stupid decision cost me my life, my dreams, and my future.”  
     Laura had swallowed seventy plastic capsules filled with pure cocaine in order to smuggle it from Ecuador to Poland. But before she boarded a plane, Laura became violently ill and gratefully went with police to a hospital. For nearly a week, residue of the dangerous narcotic lingered in her system.  
     In Poland, Laura was taught solid moral principles based on the Catholic faith. As a university student, she traveled to Quito, Ecuador, to study Spanish at the suggestion of her boyfriend. As she prepared to return home, her boyfriend convinced Laura to smuggle the drugs. “I was ready to break the law and transport drugs, even inside my stomach, for him.” 
     It came as a great shock to her family that Laura was guilty of such a crime. She grieved for them and for her own loss when she received an eight-year sentence at El Inca Women’s Prison, where Alliance missionary Joan Ewan has a ministry to inmates.  
     “Life for inmates at El Inca is hard,” says Joan. “They are not afforded any conveniences and must ‘earn’ income one way or another through the sale of drugs or personal belongings.” There are 630 women and 275 children in the 600 capacity facility.  
     Laura began attending Joan’s Bible studies. “The Holy Spirit was working in me,” Laura says, “and gradually, I understood that I am forgiven and God has a purpose for me. Suddenly, [learning about Him] became special and exciting.”  
     Prison administrators recognized the positive example that Laura was setting and recommended parole. Because of Joan’s appeal on Laura’s behalf, she was approved for parole Monday through Thursday with adult supervision but must return to jail Friday through Sunday.  
     Laura has become a part of the Ewan family and cherishes her time with Joan and Don. Also, she is a teacher’s aide at Alliance Academy International, where she is working to get her degree in biblical education. Laura also is taking a course in tourism administration. She still has four years of her sentence to complete. 
     In spite of her daily fears, Laura says she’s happy. “I realize that happiness is what we’re all looking for,” she says. “Some look for it in material possessions, some in drugs or the perfect guy. Then I met Jesus, the only perfect Man, who gave me much more than happiness. He gave me joy and peace.”


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