As I look at Ella watching the movie with her 3D goggles on, my heart is so filled. Her eyes are glued to the screen with a permanent smile on her face. She is so inthralled with being there that she doesn't even respond when something shocking happens in the movie.... she is holding onto her popcorn with both hands, eating it slowly so that she can enjoy every moment of it.
We took "Ella" to the movies for her 14th birthday. Even though she lives only five miles from the mall (a 50 cents bus ride), she has never been to a mall before, much less to a "real movie theatre". At 14 years old, she fell forward going up the escalator- it was her first time. It is not that she lives in a rural area where there are no malls or escalators- she lives in a big city with huge malls- she lives right in the middle of it all. While other people from her neighborhood shop, she was always doing other things- things that no child should have ever been doing. Things that no child would ever want to do.
This was not just her first movie, her first time at the mall, one of her few times ever "eating out".... this was the first birthday that she has had in a very, very, very long time that she is able to laugh, that she doesn't have to be worried or fearful, that she can be in a car with people she trusts- knowing that they are going to take her to a place to bless her- not to rape her. It's her first birthday that she can celebrate the year to come knowing that it is going to be different, that she has hope for a new life. This is her first birthday "tradition, her first time getting cake, her first time in many years that she is being celebrated and not sold.
Just last week I watched her testimony that he had recorded months back. The girl I saw on the screen was someone I almost did not recognize. I saw a bitter, scared, tormented, broken, used, abused, shut off little girl. I listened to her story of bring blindfolded and driven to the place where she was sold. I listened through tears about her time as a child prostitute- about the darkness in her life- about the hopelessness of her future. I heard horrific stories of abuse, of innocence lost, of a childhood robbed.
That's not the same little girl that sits between Carlos and I in the movie theater.
The "Ella" that I know today on her birthday is a new girl- it's a girl with a smile, a child with a hope, a child who is healing through Christ's love, a girl who is being redeemed. A girl who is free.
Tuesday, March 5, 2013
I’ve never met anyone on the streets who has a loving father in their lives if they have a father at all. Many of them were sold into prostitution by their father; some even raped and impregnated by their father. Some are nothing more than “daddy’s little earner”. Most of them are fatherless.
Our generation is looking for dad- and we’ll go anywhere or do anything to find him. Fatherlessness is the engine that is driving most of our nation’s problems.
I see these girls on the streets, and the ones we have helped to leave the streets, looking for ‘daddy’. I remember myself being one of those girls looking for dad. When daddy leaves, these little girls, these little flowers wilt. The girls I work with are the extreme- or maybe just a more evident outward expression of what the fatherless wilt to when dad leaves- these little wilted flowers. The fatherless is the cause of the sons rage and the daughter’s decay.
I see my little girls here, the sweet little girls that God has entrusted to me through this ministry. These little girls who didn’t have daddy to protect them- these little girls who have never before experienced any type of healthy relationship with a man. These little girls who after being abused and raped for so many years as child prostitutes, have withered. They have sunken so far inside of themselves and have completely separated themselves from their hearts. These little girls have never before heard what all little girls long to hear as they twirl around in twirly dressed yelling without words "do you see me? am I beautiful? do I matter"- longing to hear their father say "I love you. I see you. I am proud of you. You are so beautiful and you matter".
As the church- we are called to notice. How will they ever know that their heavenly Father's heart is literally breaking to tell them these things unless we, those who he has entrusted to be HIS physical representation in the Earth, tell them. We can not walk past as the “religious” people did when they simply failed to notice the man that the good samaritan finally saw. Not that they were bad people- they were the best religious leaders of the day- but were too busy. We can not grow too busy.
As the church- we must step into the lives of the fatherless with the same intimacy in which God enters our lives at the incarnation. One of God’s most precious promises is the ‘promise of the presence’. How can these children believe in the invisible presence of the almighty God without His church’s presence in their lives? We as the church have to step in and echo God’s promise of the presence, “I am with you. I am here for you. I care for you.”
Who are those people that God has called you to step into their lives in an intentional way?
I have a small testimony among many that I want to share because it shows the power of our small presence. There is a little girl named Ally that is a part of our ministry. She and I have grown closer and closer since the first time I met her when she was 12- when she was still being exploited. Through simply stepping into this child’s life, walking with her, trying my best to love her, I have seen Jesus’s presence be able to penetrate her heart little by little. We helped her get off the streets- and later found out that she was pregnant- a child conceived by rape. When she first told me that she wanted to name her child after me, I was speechless. Having only known this child for 8 months- seeing her on average twice a week- she already wanted to name a baby after me? It was one of the most humbling things, pushing me to tears. Thinking that no one else had ever shown up in her life before echoing the same message of God, “I’m here for you, I will walk with you, you can depend on me.”
It is critical that we show up in the lives of this fatherless generation, how can you make a change in a child’s life? Ask the Lord, "God, what would you have me do for the fatherless?"
If you would like more information on how you can support our ministry in Costa Rica, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
I had a fabulous time at the Justice Conference 2013! We met some incredible people who love the work of justice and expanding the kingdom of God!
Here is Freedom Street & YWAM San Jose's booth!