Dianne struggled with a learning disability. At age 15 she was still reading at the fifth grade level. Although she was gifted in graphic art and sculpting, she lagged behind in math and English. Even her parents gave up on her. Her mother was a prominent lawyer who was known for her scholarly articles in various law journals. She prosecuted and won over 50 cases in her ten-year career. Her father was a biology professor who expected his daughter to be the ideal all-American girl. Dianne found it hard to live up to these expectations so she decided to move to Miami and live with her aunt Rafaela. Rafaela is her mother's sister-in-law who emigrated from Cuba in the mid-60s as a girl. Rafaela also was a compassionate Christian. In the afternoon, Dianne and aunt Rafaela would read Bible stories and Rafaela always presented the gospel.
Dianne was hostile towards God for many years. She wondered how He could create someone with a learning disability and the object of her parents' disgust. However, Rafaela told her, "God made everyone different. Your talent is in artwork and He will use you one day to touch the world with those talents. But God wants to show you His unconditional love and give you a home in heaven forever. You must accept Christ as your Savior and Lord if you want these blessings." About three years later Dianne accepted Christ and later graduated from high school. She holds a Bible study every Saturday morning and is still trying to win her parents to Christ. Dianne also attends college, where she's majoring in graphic art.
Dianne also found new friends. Her closest friend, Veronique, is a Haitian Christian who mentors her and helps her grow in her faith. Together they hold mini-crusades for Miami’s Caribbean community, where hundreds of teens become Christians. They also serve meals to homeless families during Thanksgiving. Aunt Rafaela later developed lung cancer but she continued to be a mother figure to Dianne. She would always give Dianne dating lessons and always said, “If you’re going to date, be very choosy. The Bible says you should date los cristianos verdaderos(true Christians) and I don’t want my hija(girl) getting hurt.” Rafaela also warned against wearing provocative clothes, being hot-tempered and stealing. On other occasions, she gave her Charles Stanley books for Christmas. “Me gusta la ensenanza de Charles Stanley(I like Charles Stanley’s teaching.) Este hombre habla con mucha sabiduria(This man speaks with much wisdom.)
Dianne reunited with her parents after college graduation. Her mother was depressed and on drugs. She tried to share the gospel with her but her mother shouted, “Get that Jesus stuff out of my face!” Dianne felt discouraged, but not for long. After sharing the gospel with her father, he wasn’t initially interested but he asked questions everyday. Dianne repeatedly went to the Bible for answers shared her faith with him. By the end of that year, he became a Christian. After moving back to Miami, she found out that Rafaela died but she left a lasting legacy of faith for Dianne.
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