International Ministries

Gifts to the World Mission Offering

October 22, 2009 Journal
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Over the past couple years, we have had the opportunity to provide shelter for more than 60 women and their children.  At Deborah's House they have found respite from violent storms and the opportunity to begin life anew.

One of these women who has just recently left the shelter is “Esperanza”.  When she came to us she was barely communicative, having suffered from extreme abuse.  She came with her three children, and the oldest daughter, “Sarah”, 16, had been abused by her step father and was pregnant with his child. 

Esperanza, non medicated bipolar and obsessive/compulsive, no longer knew how to cope with any of this and spent most of her time retreating into the recesses of her own mind.  Sarah was overburdened trying to deal with the responsibilities that her mother neglected in caring for her two younger siblings, at the same time that she had to deal with her own abuse and pregnancy.  For most of her stay at the shelter, she never made eye contact with any of the adults.  Her gaze was always fixed on the floor.

Esperanza's duties in the house were to mop the floor, which she probably did 5 times daily and more than that if she could get away with it.  When she washed clothes, we had to supervise her closely or she would wash the same load ten times before she would hang them to dry.  I am not exaggerating.  She once used a whole box of detergent on one load of laundry.  And whenever we had to negotiate limits with her she would become angry or retreat once more into her room.  Alone, she constantly pulled out her own hair, and in public always had to use a hat or a wig.

She was resentful or withdrawn almost all the time.  Everyday we would ask her how she was and everyday she would have something to complain about.

She made progress at the shelter, but we were still worried when it came time for Esperanza, her two youngest children, and an extremely pregnant Sarah, to leave the shelter.  They moved to a home a cousin owned quite a distance from Deborah's House and from the area she had always known.  How would they cope? 

We helped them to move in, found the family a stove and refrigerator, and made and installed a kitchen counter and sink.  We returned a couple weeks later to bring some more supplies.  Esperanza was staring out the window into space when she suddenly began to cry and said loudly, “I didn't know people like that existed.”  I looked out the window to see who she was talking about.  There was nobody there.   I asked, “People like who?”  Still staring out the window, she said, “People who help you and never ask you for anything in return. People like you. All of you.  Deborah's House.”

This was unexpected.  After all the complaining and griping, we didn't see this coming.   She got it. She finally figured out that we didn't want anything from her, but for her own well being.  I suppose that Esperanza had never been in a relationship with anyone that didn't want something back from her.  She had paid such a steep price for everything in her life, and always much more than anything she had received in return.  Now that has changed.

Just as we were getting in the car to leave that day, Sarah called out for us to stop.  She looked us in the eye, and crying again, said, in well rehearsed English “Thank you very much.”   Then she hugged us, and said good-bye.

I share this with you because I treasure that moment of gratitude from Esperanza and Sarah so much, and because it rightly belongs to all of you.  We have only been able to be a part of this shelter because of people like you.  People who give of their time and money, encouragement and prayers without asking for anything in return. 

Without you, Deborah's House, and Adalia's and my ministry with it would not be possible.

Without you,  Esperanza would still be with her abusive partner.  Without you, Sarah would still be living a torment greater than we dare contemplate. 

We invite you to continue to partner with us.   We thank God for people like you.

With love and gratitude,

Ray and Adalia