July 23, 2012

Worlds Apart . . . part 4.3

Back to our first day at House of Hope . . .

During the tour of the girls' dorm, all that I could think was, that's it . . . I'm already extremely overwhelmed and emotionally exhausted. My brain can not take any more information, I cannot function any more . . . I cannot do this . . . it felt like I had been hit by an 18-wheeler, and it was still morning.

After our tour of the campus, we had another spa day - but this time it was for 12 women who live at House of Hope. Again - it was a beautiful presentation of the Gospel given by a few of the women on our team, amidst facials, manicures, foot washing and pedicures. As one might expect, communicating with kids in limited espanol is somewhat manageable . . . but attempting to have a conversation with these women past, "como se llama?" and "cuantos anos tienes?" was a whole different story. Needless to say, this gringo (or is it gringa?) did a lot of smiling, nodding and pointing.
chatting before we got started
During both spa days, women from our team gave their testimonies, which I really appreciated. It was so cool to see how God has been mightily at work in the people we were serving, and in the people we were serving with.

During lunch, one of the women from House of Hope shared her testimony. Once again, emotion flooded my already drained body, and I didn't know how I was going to make it through the day.

I found her amazing story on the ministry's website:

Angela’s past is filled with pain, fear, and desperation. Angela was abandoned by her parents at a very young age and raised by her grandmother. She and her 7 brothers and sisters were forced to work. Her son was born as a product of a gang rape during her teenage years. Although Angela is educated with a college degree, the pay ($40/month) from her job as a teacher was not enough to provide for herself or her family. After the man she was living with left her, Angela was forced to look for a way to make more money. At that time, Angela was 9 months pregnant. A friend brought her to a brothel where Angela was able to earn up to $20 that day. Angela gave birth that same day and returned to the brothel one month later. Angela remained in prostitution for more than 10 years. During this time she witnessed women working alongside their daughters and decided she did not want the life of prostitution for her daughters. Angela remembers her lowest point when she was on her knees, begging the owner of the brothel (who was drunk and high) to open the brothel up to customers so that she could make some money. Angela wanted out, but she did not know what to do. At one point, she volunteered to be filmed in a documentary about prostitution in Nicaragua. The producers promised her a way out of prostitution in return for her participation, but they did not follow through on their promise. In fact, they broke their promise that the documentary would not be shown in Nicaragua and soon Angela’s story was made known to everyone in the country by television. As a result, she felt that she could not go back to work as a teacher out of fear she would be recognized. After the film was aired on TV, the other kids would harass her young daughter about her mother being a prostitute. Angela was also realizing that her lack of time with her kids was having an impact on their lives as well. She attributed her son’s addiction to drugs and alcohol and his imprisonment to consequences of the sin in her own life.
Angela had made several attempts to leave prostitution. She could last 3 days, sometimes a month, but she’d always return to prostitution when she’d see her children without food to eat or shoes to wear. Fortunately, Angela had come to know Christ through House of Hope and had come to understand the hope and freedom that only Jesus could offer her. One day, Angela remembers kneeling down in a cubicle in the brothel she worked at and making a vow to the Lord that that that would be the last day she would return to that place. It has been 5 years since Angela’s vow and she has not once returned to the brothel. Through the ministry at House of Hope, Angela’s daughters have food and uniforms for school now and even a scholarship for college for her oldest daughter. Her life and the lives of her children have forever been changed. And, now Angela has taken on the responsibility to share the Christ’s love women who share her past so that they too might be freed and able to experience a life filled with His love, His joy, and His provision. This is the burden the Lord has place upon her heart and it brings her great joy to see women (ex-prostitutes) experience the love of Christ.
Angela and her oldest daughter Karina are table heads at the House of Hope on Tuesday mornings. In addition, she is assistant to the card production manager at House of Hope. Angela also teaches sewing to the residents at House of Hope and helps the children with their homework. Every morning, Angela wakes up at 4:30am to get her children ready for school. She takes 3 buses to get to work. She considers it a privilege to work and give back to House of Hope.
Source: http://houseofhopenicaragua.com/

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