A Day In The Life On Hope Mountain

Written by Alex Ramirez

“BAWKKK” my ears sting as I crack open my sleepy eyes. There are girls sitting up on their beds, others standing, some seem wide awake, and the rest are still half-asleep like me. The bright sun is shining in over the mountains through our two windows. Patches of pink, orange, and yellow sunlight lay across the beds. As I squint from the bright new day’s sky, my eardrums pierce again. “BAWKKK”!! This time I follow where the sound is coming from, my eyes settle upon a frantic rooster, a couple feet from my head. We make eye contact. No joke. Now some of my 19 roommates are also realizing this isn’t just a wake up call, its a confused visitor who has made its way into our room AND has the capability of pecking at us or pooping on our few possessions. As I taste my morning breath and become more aware of my bed head, the rooster hops onto my bed before I get a chance to sit up. It then moves on and begins to make its way around the room as a few of my friends have their try at rooster-wrangling’. We eventually get the loud and panicking rooster out the door, and begin another adventure filled day at Hope Mountain.

I rub my eyes, swing my bare feet out of bed and onto the white tile, and proceed to follow the rooster out the door. First stop is brushing my teeth and opening up my bible. I sit down on a porch chair. I realize that you cannot help but look up at the mountains in the morning and thank God. It is so obvious that the creation praises his name. That is what its made to do. As I sit in silence with God, the serenity takes my breath away. The sun shines, but there is still a crisp mountain breeze that carries God’s comfort and gives me goosebumps. The morning is good. It cannot help but be good because God is there.

As I hear my friend’s and I’s stomachs grumble, Margo brings out the coffee right on cue. We flock to the pot like animals, using way too much sugar and acting like we couldn’t live without the daily 8:15 bitter aroma wafting up our noses. Soon after our favorite chef walks out again with oatmeal, eggs, or some other masterpiece she has put together. We run upstairs to our deck. The deck where we have eaten, laughed, cried, prayed, and done a lot of life here in the DR. We sit together as family, pray for the food and the hands that made it, and feast. With bellies full, we begin our morning devotional, worship together and ask hard questions about the word. Then our sweet host, Vicki, makes her way upstairs, often says a wise word to us, and gives us our ministry assignments for the day.

With newfound strength and motivation for the day, my team marches downstairs to do ministry. In the hot Dominican sun, we grab our brooms and start sweeping the driveway. We sweep and scrub as pebbles fall down the pavement and dust fills the air. We work the morning away until it was lunch time.

The mornings are the beginning. The beginning of either a good day or a bad day. The mornings are the times where I get to choose to thank God first,I get to choose to invite him into brushing my teeth or eating with me. I get to set the tone for the day, wake up early (sometimes to my alarm, sometimes to a rooster), sit with the Lord, thank God for the food in front of me, look out on his creation with gratitude. Praise the Lord for mornings at Hope Mountain DR!

Just like most great parts of the day, the afternoon starts out with food. As morning ministry ends, the black wooden stairs produced a sound of a heard of elephants. Once again a group of hungry missionaries made their way to the deck for the beloved daily rice and beans meal. Lively conversations of morning ministry and afternoon anticipation arise as all the teams come back together once again. Our lunch turns into our afternoon break. Little by little people make their way back downstairs, and as I finally follow suit, I already see people below enjoying their siesta. As I look at one side of the pool, I see friends playing upbeat early 2000’s music as they begin their workout. On the other side I hear sweet country music playing as others lay out to soak up the sun. I head to my room, tiptoeing quietly to my bed as not to wake up the afternoon nappers, grab my book, and head back out to join my friend. I read my book, stick my feet in the pool to combat the heat, and occasionally check my shorts tan line as I rest my mind and body during siesta. Before I know it, we are gathered back on the porch to start the afternoon off in prayer before ministry.

At 2pm our group walks through the streets, handing out flyers to neighbors. We are inviting them to our talent show we are putting on at the end of the month. As clouds begin to cover the sky, we invite local children to meet us at the basketball courts to play. We pull out a jump rope, puppets, and many fun other toys. Wholesome laughter fills the air as we play for hours before getting rained out.

As we walk back to base, soaked, we contemplate what the next hour and a half will look like before dinner. We have a lot of time to spend with God, serve our community, as well as rest here. For many of us, the free time looks like showering, reading, or calling our parents. The day seems to wind down at base, while our neighbors play loud reggaeton, so the party never seems to end. As we eventually eat dinner at 6:30, we reflect on our day and fill our bellies with veggies, meat, and maybe even pasta. The sun sets, and for most of the teams the night looks like board games, team times, movies, and sometimes spontaneous late night pool parties. 

The second half of the day is just as eventful as the first half. Every day of ministry looks different and every day has Jesus right smack in the middle of it. The little moments during the days here are so incredibly sweet. Hope Mountain provides a space to walk alongside the Lord, to leave with funny stories, and safely face the hard moments.  Praise the Lord for nights at Hope Mountain DR!

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Before You Go…

By Annie Bingham

If you’re considering going on a short-term Missions trip, this post goes out to you! If you’re not considering, START CONSIDERING!! A 2 week, 3 month, or even 9 month trip can be a great opportunity to broaden your perspective, make lasting relationships, and fall totally in love with the Lord. 

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

To get you started, here’s a few tips, tricks, and lessons I’ve picked up on the field this year. Enjoy!

  1. Go Local!

Especially for short term mission trips, domestic is a fantastic choice. Not only do they generally require less fundraising and preparation, sharing the name of Jesus within your own culture can help to establish deeper relationships within the time constraints of the trip. Spreading the gospel in your hometown is just as important as shouting it to the furthest corners of the globe. 

  1. If you’re not organized, GET. ORGANIZED.

There’s a lot of reasons why this tip holds the second slot. First of all, you will never have your own room. Your roommate count will likely be somewhere between 3 and 50, and if you don’t know A) what stuff is yours, and B) where all of it is, you’re going to run into major problems. Also, it’s just generally good roommate etiquette to keep your stuff picked up when you all have roughly 4 square feet to call your own.

  1. Pack Light! 

Trust me, even if you’re going to be on the field for 9-12 months, any more than 5 shirts will end up being too many. It’s likely you’ll end up with an absolute favorite shirt, and you’re only gonna take it off to wash it once every week or so. Personal example? My “Deutschland” shirt is my home. I only brought 5 shirts with me, and if I’m being honest I only wear 3 of them with any regularity. 

Another reason to pack light is that when you gain 20+ roommates, you gain access to this beautiful concept we call “the community closet”. Are you tired of your pants? Wear somebody else’s! Don’t have a shirt in a specific color? Somebody in that room definitely has one. 

Besides, more room in your bag means more room for important things. Like peanut butter! Or rolls of toilet paper, depending on your priorities. 

  1. Do your laundry in the morning

More importantly just do your laundry in general. I don’t care how hard it is to hand wash jeans, no one enjoys a smelly neighbor. In environments where you will be hand washing, it’s super helpful to wash your clothing early in the morning (before breakfast if you can!) because they will have all day to dry out, and won’t recollect moisture overnight. 

Another tip for hand washing, consider packing a scrub brush and some vinegar! Mold is a major possibility when you live in environments that are semi-outdoors, but that’s nothing a little vinegar and a lot of elbow grease can’t knock out. 

  1. Pursue unity through Scriptural truth
Photo by Oladimeji Ajegbile on Pexels.com

This one is less of a tip, and more of a warning. On any mission trip, you’re going to encounter a lot of new things, but especially if you’re going on your first Mission trip, be prepared to change your mind. Know that you will be wrong, but also maintain what you know is right. You’ll meet people whose doctrine isn’t quite the same as yours, and that is perfectly okay! What matters isn’t what we eat or don’t eat, or how we dress, or the way we speak. What matters is that we do things out of faith to serve and glorify God. (See Romans 14 & 15:1-7) Everything else is small change in comparison to the beauty of serving as Christ did. 

That being said, hold tightly to the absolute truth of God’s Word. Seek understanding through scripture, not through petty argument. A high value on seeking truth in the pursuit of unity is a difficult value to maintain, but it’s an incredibly important one to have.

  1. Anything can be ministry 

You’re going to meet people who will change your life. You’re going to see the Lord at work in new and wonderful ways. You will do things to serve the kingdom that you never could have imagined doing. 

Did I think I would get to use my 5 years of German to serve God in Costa Rica? Not in a million years. Did I ever conceive that I might be asked to climb 7 feet up a ladder supported only by my squad mate Alex to hack at a piece of bamboo that fell on a power line with a machete? No way! Would it have ever occurred to me, that standing up to my knees in the ocean trying to catch a fish in my water bottle for a 5 year old I met 20 minutes ago might end up being my ministry for the afternoon? Absolutely not! And yet the Lord has used these and all my other new experiences on the field for good. 

Our lives become our ministry every time that we live them to the glory of God.

  1. Open your heart so wide it will never have a chance to close again.

In nine months, six months, two weeks, one week, even, you will become so close with the people around you. And what a blessing it will be to walk in greater knowledge of what it means to be Brothers and Sisters in Christ. Don’t close yourself off from those relationships out of the fear that you will have to leave them. That being said…

 Growing up, my mom always taught me to “love the one you’re with”. (Side note: I know the original of that song is performed by  Crosby Stills and Nash, but check out the Isley Brothers version. It’s fantastic.) The longer I’m on the field, the more I realize how valuable that lesson was. You’re not going to like everyone you live with or work with. It’s a fact of life, and when you live with AND work with the same people 24/7, that fact becomes 10 times as true. You’re not going to like everyone, it is your choice (and dare I say it, your responsibility) to love the ones you are with. It’s what Christ did. The person whose morning breath you cannot stand is the very same person that Jesus died on a cross for, and if the God of the universe can suffer, die, and be resurrected for us, we can all choose to love each other as his image bearers, and as brothers and sisters in his holy name. 

  1. Above all, do it for the Lord

Don’t go on a mission trip for pictures. Don’t go to travel. Don’t go to do the things you want to do. Do not go on a mission trip to “help the poor people of xyz”.

Go because you love the Lord. Go with the knowledge that we, as children of God, are all his image bearers; equal in his sight and equally loved by him. Go to unify the body of Christ. Go to glorify His holy name. Go because we as Christians are called to make disciples AS WE GO.

 Go because you love the Lord.

I genuinely hope that everyone who reads this post takes some time to pray about going on a mission trip in the future. Whether it’s your first or your fiftieth, regardless of age or location, take some time to consider if the Lord is asking you to step out of your comfort zone, and into life on the field.

Annie participating in food distribution and prayer in Puerto Plata with H.O.P.E Dominican Republic.

Consider a mission trip to the Dominican Republic. Contact us today to schedule your trip!

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It’s Almost Over

2020 has been an interesting year. The actuality of feeling stuck lived within homes throughout the world. We all were required to keep our distance from those we cherish, stand in long lines to shop for needed supplies, pray hard for a supply of toilet paper, work from home, maintain our children’s education from home, worship from home and simply stay at home.

The awareness of our stagnant lives left us with a hard choice to make. Would we let the uncertainty of the future dictate our current mobility or would we use our ‘could be’ idle time as our incentive to carry on? Thankfully, we chose the latter.

2020 is almost over, but we are still here. Our circumstances didn’t give us a license to continue, we simply made that choice each day as we made steps that even sometimes feel microscopic. We just keep moving on. Day by day, step by step, choice by choice, we make progress.

You helped us to keep moving on during this difficult year. You stood by our side each time we needed help to ensure we’d make it. Thank you!

As this year comes to end, will you further your support? 2021 offers new opportunities to spread the love of Jesus in the Dominican Republic.

Your financial help enables us to provide assistance to those in the Dominican Republic by:

1. Offering churches necessary training, retreats, camps, conferences and benevolence. 2. Providing essential help to sexually exploited women and children.

Your donations are extremely helpful and always needed. We are grateful to you for helping us to make the right choice to move forward each day.

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We Move On and We Never Forget

I walked through the upstairs of our termite eaten house on Hope Mountain a few days ago. What used to be a place that was full of life now looks like a grave yard. The torn out walls revealed the culprit of the bothersome termite dust. Just enough termite wings lingered on the exposed beams to remind me of the need to take it all down.

I couldn’t stop the flow of tears. This was our home. Good and bad memories flooded my mind at that moment. Remembrances of sheer family bliss and thoughts of outright family brawls engulfed my head.

I remember Jose sipping on a cup of tea during a rainy season and saying, “I love it when it rains here.” That moment is relived in my heart each it rains on the mountain. Jose realized that Caroline would be his wife in our home on the mountain. Recollections of their beginnings saturate that house.

Josue sat on the sofa on one of the days right after we moved to Hope Mountain and said, “This place is cozy.” I feel that scene when I sit on that sofa. He and Moriah spent some time with us after they were married. I’ll never forget the joy it brought my heart to watch the new lovebirds in our house.

Jonathan spent weeks with us on the mountain after Army bootcamp. We watched the news each day as we braced the reality of the government shutdown happening during the time. Each time I watch the news in that house, I think of him. Memorialized events of my granddaughter Noa eating breakfast in her high chair while watching Spanish children videos will never go away. Ashley endured the termite dust for a few weeks in our house while visiting. The discomfort didn’t deter her from wanting to return.

Ruben Jr. taking walks with me down my favorite path is an occasion that keeps a smile on my face. He was always so ready and available to lead the mission teams that volunteered with us. I truly don’t know how we get along without him.

Jojo riding his horse alongside his dad were experiences that make us never want to sell our old horse! Jojo provided a special kind of happiness in our home. His absence has truly left a huge gap within our walls.

Thankfully our girls are still there. Selina travels to the DR so often that we don’t usually have time to miss her. Starr keeps music in the air with her precious voice and Soli ensures we have enough snuggles to get us through each day.

Walking through the house was a heartbroken occasion, but the hope in my heart for the future outweighs the dismal reality we face. We stand on the horizon of a new day as our walls are being torn down. The taking away of the old can only leave room for the new.

Will you help us as we strip down to the bare minimum of our home? We still need $55,000 to rebuild. You can click here to create a campaign to help us raise funds. All you need to do is ask your family and friends to help you raise $1,000.

As we rebuild the structure of our home, we will be creating new memories that will continue to fill our memoir with love.

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Ice Cream and Avocados

Written by Jaime Rodriguez

With a smile on her face she handed me an ice cream pop, but undoubtedly there was so much more I received than the sweet refreshing treat.

Driving through the windy roads, we found ourselves in the town of Moca, approximately 30 minutes outside of Santiago. When we arrived at the home of one of the Vida en Cristo church members, we were immediately greeted with big smiles and genuine hospitality. Sandra lives on the street above the church, and enjoys serving her community through selling ice cream and sharing her joy by simply being the light that she is to those around her. The view from her home was gorgeous, with rolling hills and trees surrounding the property. The reason for our visit was to video an interview, but we left feeling as if we had met a new friend.

Although she was a tad nervous once the cameras were on, she ensured to show us Dominican hospitality and made our visit comfortable and familiar. Passion showed in her eyes as she spoke about the way her church family had meant to her, and the positive influence Pastors Ruben and Vicki had in her and her family’s lives. She, like me, is passionate about worship and getting into the presence of the Lord, and encouraged us on the importance of daily entering a time of worship and adoration. Our time concluded with laughter, dancing, and singing, as she and her daughters blessed and entertained us by singing one of their favorite songs from church.

My husband and I ended our visit in Moca by following Jesus Ramon in our car behind his motor through more winding roads and forests, and arrived at his quaint little house alongside a river. The family was so charming and humble, and served us with smiles and refreshments! Their two sons enjoyed showing off their little birds and talking about the dirt bikers who often rode through the mud behind their house! They introduced us to their neighbors who thanked us for visiting their part of town, and invited us to return again soon!

As we were getting ready to leave, Juan scaled up the tree to pick some avocados for us, something I actually hadn’t seen before in my year of living here! They used what looked like a very long bamboo branch and a makeshift basket to retrieve the fruit. We were a little surprised but honored by their determination to give us this gift. We thoroughly enjoyed the teamwork displayed as the mother held the bamboo while the father would throw the avocado to one child who would then roll it to the other to collect in a bag for us.


The humility both families embodied and love for their pastors and Vida en Cristo community was evident, and we knew that they were showing us a glimpse into the core of who they are. The Dominican people not only have a tremendous gift of hospitality, but are an admirable example of the importance of community and family. My experience in Moca was a sweet reminder of the goodness of people, especially during these times we are living in 2020.

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Online all of the time…

This has been an interesting season of video conferencing, virtual prayer time, live church services online and texting at a substantially immense level! COVID-19 has most definitely altered our way of thinking and running this ministry. Though these changes have come as a result of a pandemic, they’ve made us at HOPE4DR better.

Video conferencing has directly placed us face to face with those we love in a way thats really up close and personal. It’s also caused us to plan our meetings more effectively and to work efficiently. Isn’t it funny how we are now living in the future? I know I’m not the only one who grew up watching the Jetsons.

So how do those in developing countries manage in this new world of what feels like exorbitant digital communication? I must admit that fear gripped me in a huge way at the beginning of this pandemic. Most of the members of our churches don’t have reliable wifi and many don’t have any internet at all!

We stepped out on faith and paid for a zoom subscription anyway. The needed faith was for their ability to participate. Going live on social media would require internet access for them too! Going live on Easter Sunday was a disaster, but God still came through with hundreds more views than expected!

Our members began to get used to the idea of purchasing wifi cards or data for their phones so much that we held our “All Church Day”, an event where al of our churches come together, online. We’ve had countless prayer meetings, seminars, church service each week and a women’s conference all through video conferencing.

Mujeres de Valor-Women’s Conference

We are extremely excited about God’s ability to shine through any type of darkness we face. One of reasons He provided the internet way before this pandemic is because He knew we would be here today. This has been our moment to promote Him, truly like never before!

We’ve realized that we won’t stop unless God stops us.

This season has taught us that if God is for us, absolutely nothing can stop us. We continue to shine His light on the Dominican Republic.

Pastor Ruben preaching from the dining room table!
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The Countdown

Moses was more than likely in a peaceful place when the bush began to blaze before him. He safely escaped his enemy, found a new life and a new profession. He could now comfortably settle in and forget his memoir.

Though I’d never put myself in his league, I can say that I relate a little bit to what it feels like to be in a comfortable place after facing turmoil. Comfort feels good. Convenience isn’t really overrated when you know what its like to not have water for days. The simple amenity of consistent electricity can cause a soul like mine to question my call.

Warm showers on the daily basis are such a delight! Vehicles that don’t break down each week make me feel secure. The ability to control the temperature in my home is a treat. The luxury of doing laundry at any time of the day because there is consistent electricity is probably what I’ll miss most about my time in the states.

The things that the average American takes for granted is truly a treasure to any foreign missionary on this planet. I mean, the ability to drink clean water right from the faucet is something I can’t even wrap my mind around sometimes!

Ruben went back to the Dominican Republic a few days ago to get things ready for the girls and my return.

The look on his face was daunting as he described the condition of our home, “The main wires to the house are fried,” he tried his best to be optimistic, “but I’ll fix it for you, don’t worry.” We recently spent a few thousand dollars to re wire the entire property, but didn’t change the main wires because they seemed fine. Now, that reality faced him. Thankfully, he fixed it. Let’s pray it stays that way.

We don’t pray typical prayers, we pray for the hot water to work when showering on chilly mornings. We pray for the rain to wait a little while after we wash a load of laundry. We pray for the lights to turn on when we flip the switch, even when the bill is paid! We pray for the wifi to work well just so that we can finish a school assignment or an important video call with potential supporters!

So, its no wonder that we hesitate for a minute each time we have to go back.

I’m not afraid to admit that each trip back brings me to my knees a little more than usual. That’s truly why I keep going back.

Our time spent in the states has been necessary. Our family needed us and we needed them. We needed to gain new supporters and we desperately needed care. We are grateful for the ability to get those needs met, but our countdown to return is upon us.

As I prayerfully face going back, I can’t help but to think about Moses. He could’ve said no to God. He tried, yet God was patient. God is patient with me too.

These are bittersweet days for our family as we face the reality of what’s next, but we are confident that God will show up for us just as He did for Moses. He has never failed.

Will you pray for us?

  • 1. We need stable electricity.
  • 2. We need vehicles that are reliable.
  • 3. We need consistent care.
  • 4. We need financial provision.

Will you become a become a monthly supporter?

Will you gather a few people to come on a mission trip with us?

  • 1. 7-10 days with us will change your life.
  • 2. You’ll have the chance to change someone else’s life.
  • 3. It’s easy to raise support for a trip, email us for tips.

We endeavor to continue to make Christ known in the Dominican Republic as we share His love with all we encounter. We purpose to move forward in obedience to God just as Moses did and we are sure that He will show up for us the same.

“I AM-Justice”

History swarms with events that validate the significance of justice. We see the majesty of justice unfold as the Israelites strut away from their oppressor. The might of justice is revealed as they walk on dry ground in the midst of the sea. I can’t count the times that I’ve stood on the shore gazing at the vast ocean, amazed at the power of the One who was able to part the waters.

How about the Emancipation Proclamation? Though many debate over the intention of this proclamation, we can all agree that it was the impetus for freedom of a people who needed justice. Lincoln wrote, “And upon this act, sincerely believed to be an act of justice, warranted by the Constitution, upon military necessity, I invoke the considerate judgment of mankind, and the gracious favor of Almighty God.

These historical events cause me to wonder where our world would be today had Justice not intervened. Justice saw a cause that was not just worthy, but crucial to the fundamental truth of God’s word. Justice arose amidst the cries of people who were oppressed. Justice showed up to set a nation of people free.

Elohim Mishpat, the God of Justice, is still at work today. God is Justice. He, the Supreme Judge, continues to rule. He is still working to set the captives free.

We, at H.O.P.E Dominican Republic are honored to join Him in His work.

We are all surrounded by some type of captive. Some are slaves to sin. Some are enslaved by people. Regardless of the type of bondage, we are poised, positioned and prepared to usher in their freedom.

Child sexual exploitation is on the rise in the Dominican Republic, mostly because of the tourists who visit the country with evil desires. Way too many urban communities and villages are without a church, mostly because many don’t want to reach out to the marginalized. Our team is happy to love on all who need the love of Jesus.

We are moving forward with our restoration program for minors who’ve been sexually exploited. We are also moving forward with our dream to see a church in every Dominican community.

We’d love for you to join us. Consider a mission trip with us, you will never be the same afterward.

We are currently living out the history of the next generation. As we serve alongside our God of Justice, we create a better and safer place for generations to come.

Isaiah 1:17 Learn to do right; seek Justice. Defend the oppressed. Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow.

http://www.hope4drnow.org

Rescued

She was eight years old the first time we saw her. Fabiola’s dad was our property hand back then. He often times spoke of his family that lived in Haiti, “I have a daughter and a son back home.” I heard him make that statement several times, so I asked Ruben to help him bring his family across the border. Some of our friends in the states helped and before we knew it, Fabiola, along with her brother and mom, were now a part of our mountain family.

I remember her making up dances with my girls to the “Frozen” movie. They would grab my shawls and proclaim “Let it go….” as they’d throw my shawls across the room. They watched that movie over and over and over and over again in English, Spanish and French!

They did things that little girls do. They splashed in the pool or river all weekend, they hiked all over the mountain, they played with dolls and wore down our crayons on all types of paper they could find! They were all little girls, their lives were supposed to be that way.

After a while, her family had to move away. Her parents made sad choices and Fabiola found herself trapped in an abusive relationship with a man at the tender age of twelve.

I’ll never forget the day when our cook announced, “I saw Fabiola yesterday!”

I was thrilled, “Really! How is she?”

“Pregnant!”

My heart sank. She was one year younger than my Starr and one year older than my Soli. It seemed like yesterday when they watched “Frozen” in my living room.

I quickly snapped back to reality as I remembered where I was. It’s not too uncommon for young girls in her economic bracket to end up pregnant. Nevertheless, I knew that I had to help!

After a series of conversations, we realized that she was taken advantage of by a man. He saw that she had a childhood crush on him. He knew that she was vulnerable and unprotected because her dad was out of the picture at this point. He started by introducing her to pornography, then coaxing her into reliving the scenes with him.

She didn’t like it and told him that she didn’t want to continue, but she felt trapped by his emotional abuse. She was only a child, he is an adult!

She ended up pregnant.

He moved into their home and paid their rent, bought their food and took care of everything for all of them. Her mom was glad to have help, but it was at the expense of a little girl!

She had to give him what he wanted when he wanted or he would threaten to leave them. They had no money, live in the Dominican Republic without adequate paperwork and have no education. She gave in because she didn’t know of any other way.

He moved away after a fight. The police are looking for him and he doesn’t want to show up there! We were glad when he left, hopefully this would enable us to reach out to Fabiola. So we did. We paid their rent and brought them groceries too! We walked up the long steep hill in the hot sun to spend time with her. We even celebrated with her on her birthday, the day she turned thirteen!

Sadly, he sent for her and her mother made her go. She was afraid that she wouldn’t be able to take care of two more people, so she told her to go.

The abuse became worse. Her baby continued to grow, but her spirit kept dying. One day, he tried to cut her with a machete, but neighbors intervened and got her out of there. They gave her money to get home. She happily escaped while he was at work. Her mother was happy to see her, but told her to go back.

I literally couldn’t sleep. I remembered the day she asked Jesus to be her Lord and of how she’d swing in the hammock and sing worships songs. It really wasn’t that long ago! So I intervened. I finally moved forward!

We were able to find her and to sneak her onto our property while he was at work. She is safe now. She is cared for. She is loved.

She’s faced trauma in ways that most of us will never even be able to comprehend! Praise God that we are there! He enables us to give her what she needs.

Her baby is due soon. We really need your help! We have to pay for her medical expenses, psychiatric care and normal everyday needs. Can you help?

Now two young lives are at risk. Two children need assistance. This is our chance to radiate God’s glory in this world! Please give towards Fabiola’s needs today. http://hope4drnow.org/

Stop The Cries



I saw her tears. I heard her cries. She clutched the stuffed animal to her chest as I lightly tapped the door and peeked into her room. “Mari,” I whispered, “Are you okay?” No response. Just the whimpering sounds of a torn heart.

I moved closer, “Please come to breakfast.” She was usually the first at the table, it was strange to sit at the breakfast table without her that morning. “Would you like to call your mom?” She nodded a yes as the whimpering sounds quickly transformed into sobs.

I grabbed my phone and began to dial as I held back my tears. I knew this phone call would be the beginning of the end of Mari’s time with us. I had a signed consent from her mom where I promised to send her home as soon as she wanted to leave.

I dreaded making the call, but I had made a promise and had to come through.

“Hello Pastor Vicki. Is Mari okay?” Our telephone calls were always about her daughter.

Those welled up tears began to fall, “No.” Sob, sob, sob, “she won’t eat or get out of bed. She wants you.”

“I don’t think that she should come back home yet. I’m not ready.”

The psychologist in charge of this case told me that she would be better off at home once her abuser was arrested. He would be in jail soon, I needed to let her go.

“I don’t want her to leave, but you are her mother. No one could ever take your place. She wants you.”

Her mom began to break down, “I miss her so much. I want her home. I’m just afraid that this is all my fault. I’m such a terrible mother.”

She belted out a cry from deep within. I could hear the regret of the choices she made. The sound of unfulfilled dreams, generations of abuse that reached down to her baby girl filled the phone’s receiver.

“It’s not your fault,” I could barely get the words out. “You have always done the best you knew to do. Now we will teach you how to move forward. You have to take her back. Allow her to see you fight for her. She needs to know that you will always have her back.”

“Okay. Put her on the phone.”

I stepped back into the room with Mari and placed the phone by her ear, “It’s your mom honey.”

She tried to talk, but the words wouldn’t come out. All she could do was bawl.

I told her mom that we’d call back later and I spent the rest of the morning holding Mari in my arms as she cried.

“It’s okay sweetie, cry. Let it all out.” She had been with us for two weeks and had not cried. She tried so hard to be strong. She spent her days playing in the pool, on the trampoline and watching movies with my girls. I kept waiting for the tears to flow, but she refused.

Today was her day. “He hurt me. So did the others. When my friends found out, they said that I liked it.” The sobs were consistent, “I never liked it.”

“I know honey.”

“I miss my mom. I want to go home.”

“You will soon. We want to make sure that home will be safe for you.”

She began to cry more at this point. My heart had taken enough and needed a break so I asked Selina to take over. She held her in her arms until Paola, our future Safe House Mother, took over.

Paola is a Godsend for sure! She cared for Mari as is she were her own child. Mari’s problem with Encopresis didn’t stop her. She treated her as if she were her own. We all did.

But today was the beginning of our end with her.

She is back home now. Her trafficker will be sentenced soon. Today a mother and a child have been reunited and one more child trafficker has been halted.

There is so much more to say. So much more to do. So many more girls out there. So little time to save them. *Every two minutes a child is being prepared for trafficking. The tears burning my eyes won’t let me write any more. Stay posted. Let’s stop their cries. We can do this.

*UNICEF