Friday, October 23, 2015

Behind the Smile

Today was an awesome day! We had a graduation ceremony for the ten women who have completed the program at the Village of Hope Women's Crisis Center.

These women came to our center because they suffered great loss and found themselves with no family support. They came in with children, many of them with skin conditions and malnourished. All of them frightened.

Salimata and her son David (pictured) had no smiles to give when they first arrived. Salimata is a young, single mother who was rejected by her family. She was married to a muslim man who wanted to send their young son to a marabou who would perform some kind of ritual that he believed would bring him great wealth. In reality it is a form of sacrifice that either results in severe brain damage or death. When Salimata refused she was rejected by the family. She divorced this man and has been shunned. She was to the point of desperation when she came to live at the women's center. Hers is just one of 10 stories.

In the last 9 months we watched these women work hard, soaking up everything they were taught, learning that they have hope in Jesus, receiving love and care. While they learned sewing, weaving, soap making, bread making, hand crafted handbags, math, french and literacy.Their children were cared for by the orphanage tanties, having preschool and playing alongside the orphanage children in a safe and loving environment.

Month by month we watched fear slip away, health improve and smiles emerge. Not just with the children, but with their mothers. The group graduating could not look more different than the group coming in. Each woman has given their life to Christ and when asked if they now know how much Jesus loves them they light up and start praising Him.

We are so excited to see how God will continue working in their lives and in the lives of others that they share their stories with.