Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Guatemala Report - Day 2

A week ago today, one of the things we did was visit a domestic violence shelter in Quetzaltenango. There were currently about 12 women and their children. They stay in bunk beds and receive food, education about abuse, training in a trade, and legal assistance. I say "education" because many of the women don't know that the atrocities that they experienced were abuse. I say "training in a trade" because most of the women don't have a way to support themselves, aside from their husband. I say "legal assistance" because most are not even aware that there is a way out, legally.

And I call them women... but many were not. Most of the 12 women were 16 or 17 years old. One had been raped by her father at 14 and now had a child. These women and girls were so hurt that it was difficult for them to look into the eyes of the men on our team.

I suspect that 17 year old Karen experienced a similar situation. She wore a skull cap because her hair had been shaved off due to lice. Her baby Jonathan was 8 months old but was so malnourished that he just lay in bed. Other women took care of Jonathan from time to time. Precious Karen was too wounded to care for him.

We served them and loved on them. We told them how precious they were, how beautiful they were, and how loved they were. We washed and hung their clothes, cleaned their bathrooms, patched the ceiling so the rats wouldn't get in, swept the floor, washed their dishes, and helped make their lunch. We gave them formula for the babies. Jonathan's bottle was broken and wasn't able to swallow the rush of milk from a cup. Selah gave him her bottle, some wet wipes, and socks for his feet. We prayed with the women and held them, and the men gave each woman a bunch of roses and a bible. They smiled through tears. We spent much of the day with them.

I pray that they felt the love of God that day. I will be praying for them. Our church will be supporting them monthly now and we'll be sending shelter office some computers to help them do their work.


Stacey said...

What a great testimony of God's love touching others. :o)

Hope Clark said...

Thanks Stacey... They'll never know how much they touched us. I pray we can be a continuing vessel of God's love to them. :)