Friday, April 12, 2013

El Jardín

This is sort of a follow up on my last post, in a way, because these are the women I met in Costa Rica who happened to be in Managua, Nicaragua this week. Managua is a short trip north for me and so how could I not go see them?! (left to right) Bleu, April, Sarah, Ashley, Hannah and me. These women are the ones who are working on developing a program in Jacó to help women victims of the prostitution industry of Costa Rica. Maybe I said this before but this is the first time in my life that I've seen the type of pain and hurt that is in the world. 

I met them at a place called El Jardín which is a ministry that teaches women about Christ and also teaches them a skill like jewelry making or sewing. The ministry leads a 90 to 120 day program and I happened to go on the day of a group's graduation...

There were 12 women this particular day that had completed the program. Each woman receives enough money for 1 month to start their own business using the skills that they had gained. I was told that some of these women are victims of abuse, some have sold themselves on the streets, others were addicts or alcoholics or have sold their own children to the streets. What they focused on this day though, that it's not their past that we focus on but that they are made new through Christ. I was so blessed to be there because His spirit was radiating out of each and every one of these women. I couldn't help but shed some tears as I heard them pour out their of those moments where I was thinking, "Sometimes I wish I didn't understand Spanish." but immediately thought, "How lucky that I do, so I can hear the most moving things from these women!" And so cool to see families there supporting these women as they step into the world, in the hard situations of life and chose to live for God everyday. How empowering is that?! 

What's even crazier is that this program has only been in Nicaragua for 8 months! I didn't have a chance to talk to the directors at all, he and his wife were of course spending time with the women, celebrating but he's worked with women in Mexico, Honduras and Costa Rica. Nicaragua being the most successful program he's done because it's not a safe house but a day program that gives these women the tools and they have to decide when they go home daily to choose what to do. 

Hannah, Bleu, April and Sarah came to El Jardín to do research on the program as they move forward to start their program in Jacó. It's a dangerous endeavor because they will be dealing with pimps and sex trafficking operations. Sometimes when I hear them talking it sounds like a movie...but in the the past weeks God has been opening my eyes to the deepest, darkest things of this makes it so hard not stay and immediately start working with them in Jacó (which they have asked me countless times to do, in the week that I've known them!) 

So cool how the opportunity to live in Nicaragua has revealed all the opportunities to help others here in Central America. Please pray for the women of El Jardín as they step out into the world with their new hearts and for the group of women from Jacó as they start their ministry! All these experiences again, just show the importance of human relationships and listening to the Lord as He plants things in your heart...such an incredible feeling.