Bad stories surround us all. Our typical reaction to a negative situation is usually one of sadness or despair. It’s sad to see a young girl who is sold by her mother to the neighborhood men for tricks each day. It can be a bit overwhelming to visit a family living in a shack made of tin with holes in the wall that expose the outdoors.
Truthfully, these heart breaking experiences were like heavy weights to me a few years ago. It was too much for me to see pain that I could not cure. Women beaten by the men who promised to love them tore at my heart. Some of those women believed they had no other choice but to accept the harsh treatment.
One of the girls at our center walked in on her dad as he was cheating on her mom in their own bed. That little girl wouldn’t eat for weeks and her mom pretended to not be bothered by the affair because she really believed that he was the best for her.
Another young girl left our center at the age of thirteen because her mom told her to find a man who would care for her. That twenty-eight year old man wouldn’t let her come back to us. At fourteen, she was pregnant as he led a lifestyle of alcoholism and cheated on her every chance he could. So many bad stories. So many reasons to give up hope.
I almost did.
I almost quit.
I wasn’t sure that I could make a difference in their lives.
One precious twelve year old girl went to visit a friend. Her friend’s adult brother took advantage of her that day. She lost her virginity and didn’t even know what was happening until it was too late. My energy was depleted when I heard the news.
Rivers destroy homes leaving families homeless. Storms cause more damage to their already devastated livelihood than we could image.
The men who want to work struggle to find employment. Young boys roam the streets without supervision only to find themselves caught in the traps of selling drugs, gang involvement, sexual abuse and pornography viewing. Women feel trapped and helpless. Children are left alone to care for themselves, sometimes as young as the age of three.
It’s a lot to take in. It’s a bit much to bear, I know. So much so, I haven’t wanted to share their stories with you. They are human beings who deserve respect. They are real people who don’t want their despair paraded online. Plus, I’ve been afraid that you wouldn’t be able to handle their truths. I remember telling a friend that I wouldn’t wish my job on my worst enemy (if I had one).
Yet, God arises over and over again. He shows up in unexpected places and in unplanned ways. He said that we would have trouble in this world, but He promises to overcome. He says that He has overcome this world. He oftentimes does so through us.
Our Vida en Cristo churches are located in areas where needs are enormous. They have become light to the dark world they occupy. You see, those same “bad” stories show up at our churches and the love of Christ slowly begins to transform those stories from bad to good.
Our churches are life saving stations. Lives are released from the power of darkness as they enter into the goodness of our God.
As the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ envelops their being, their lives and the lives of their families are transformed.
Our churches are deliverers of hope.
Neighborhoods are changing because of our presence. Our churches protect girls from sex traffickers as they are given tools to build respect for themselves. Planning is in place to educate them on the vices of human trafficking in order to help them stay safe. This is all happening at church!
These truths are taken into their communities and families find peace.
Our children centers are housed at our churches where our children are fed, educated and taught God’s word. We take the time to visit their families with groceries, clothes and prayer.
Little by little, person by person, neighborhood by neighborhood, church by church; we are making a difference.
And I can finally see my part in it all. I bring the sadness of their realities to God and He sustains them. I also bring their truths to you. I’ve come to realize that God uses you to make those sad stories happy.
There are so many good stories to tell too. It’s because of your faithfulness to give.
We now have a center where 100% of the school aged children attend school. Our children feel secure in knowing they will eat each day. Our girls ignore the “job offers” from traffickers and focus on their walks with Christ and their education.
Our women understand their value. That was huge for me. It brings me so much joy to see our women walk with their heads held high as they pursue deeper walks with Christ.
Our men find creative ways to provide for their families and our young boys have learned the value of hard work and education.
The end has yet to come, so I can’t say that their bad stories have ended well; but I can say that we are now surrounded by stories of HOPE! It’s a hope that circles hope all around.
Please consider a gift today.
We need to replace the recent $2,000 loss we’ve recently faced.
Children are in need of your help. You can help to write their stories.
It would take ten of you to give $200 each month or twenty of you to give $100 each month. Just know that your monetary gift is transformed into the making of a beautiful end to a sad story.
Help to rewrite their stories today!