Rehema House: Talia’s Story

Talia and her little sister, Hope, were both removed from a very difficult home situation. Their mother left the family when Talia was just two years old, leaving both girls in the custody of their father. When Talia was 13, the sisters were removed from his home and taken to a child protection center, located just down the road from Rehema House.

Talia was quite behind in her schooling, and little had been done to help her catch up. When Talia reached 18 years of age, she was required to leave the government-run center. With no extended family to return to, and a limited education, she had little hope for her future. But God intervened.

A space was made for Talia at Rehema House. After she attempted to finish sixth grade, it became clear Talia was too far behind in her education to catch up. When we asked her about her dreams, she revealed that she wanted to learn to cook! So, we helped her find a two-year internship at a prestigious restaurant, which she has since completed with flying colors. Talia was hired as a sous chef at the restaurant when she completed her internship in March 2020.

Unfortunately, that restaurant closed due to COVID restrictions and has not yet reopened. Talia has since moved out of Rehema House and is transitioning into independent living. She has found a job at a local snack shop, and, although she is at times discouraged about her employment prospects in a post-pandemic world, she continues to press on, making the world a more beautiful place—one meal at a time.

Talia’s sister, Hope, moved into Rehema House when she was 18 years of age and is currently studying to become an engineer.

Alliance Women seeks to raise $36,500 to help purchase land and build Rehema House. Would you prayerfully consider giving to this need so that young women can find mercy and hope?

Give today.

West Africa: Not Belonging

Before Ami* was born, her family moved to a neighboring country where Her father had found work. She attended primary school, but her father died when she was 10. This left Ami’s mother with no means of feeding her children and enrolling them in school. Then Ami lost her hearing.

Ami’s mother returned to their hometown in hopes that family would help provide for her children. They moved into a crowded courtyard in the city. Ami’s siblings were quickly placed in school and eventually invited by relatives to live with them. Ami was left alone in the courtyard, watching other girls her age attend school and feeling like she didn’t belong.

One day while going to the market, Ami, now 15, noticed some girls at a sewing school who were communicating with their hands. She went inside and watched the girls sewing. She started to pick up hand gestures, but what she really wanted was to pick up the needle and thread! She longed to be a part of their group and learn to sew.

Ami’s desire became a reality when a member of our Alliance team— which had started the school—noticed her. After she communicated her desire to learn how to sew, we visited her family. They were thrilled when we offered to provide a scholarship for Ami at our sewing school. We also hired a tutor so she could learn sign language.

Ami is a young woman with unique vulnerabilities because she was unable to receive an education and is also deaf. Our prayer is that by interacting with Christian teachers and learning to communicate, Ami will one day make the decision to follow Christ and it will be written on her hand, “belonging to the Lord.”

Please pray for vulnerable young women in West Africa. Pray also for funds to build a learning center in “M” village that will provide training in practical skills, general education in reading and writing, and spiritual formation to young women.

Alliance Women hopes to raise $36,500 for this learning center. Giving information  can be found at www.alliancewomen.org/give.

Belong project resources, including this story.

 

*Name changed

Disillusioned and Seeking

Frustrated by Restrictions

I had just finished a fitness class with several local women. As we prepared to leave, they began putting on their long dresses and hijabs. One of the ladies, Sarah*, exclaimed, “Christians are so lucky! They don’t have to wear the hijab when it’s so hot outside.”

She then began to complain about the many restrictions in her culture. I empathized with her and agreed that it sure seemed like a lot of rules and regulations.

All of the sudden Sarah burst out and said, “I hate our religion! I hate how unfair it is to women. I hate all the rules. I hate the hypocrisy!” I was taken aback and quickly looked over at her friend, Ruth*, who I knew to be more devout. Ruth didn’t seem shocked by her friend’s outburst.

Sarah continued,  “Ruth doesn’t feel the same way as me.”

“I’m OK with our religion, but, you know, I’m not super strict about it” Ruth said.

I said a quick prayer for guidance before replying, “Even though this is really difficult for you right now, you are in a good place. I am happy that you are honest enough with yourself to be open about your doubts and frustrations. Your honesty will help you get to the next step in your spiritual  journey.”

“Do you really think so?” Sarah asked. “Yes, I do,” I said.

The subject was changed and soon the ladies were on their way home. Although the conversation was brief, I felt that it was enough for that exchange. God had revealed to me a young woman who had become disillusioned with her religion; I prayed that Sarah would soon be ready to hear the good news.

Curious about opportunities

A couple of months  later, Sarah and Ruth expressed again an interest in studying the Bible. They had previously participated in a Bible study with other team members. And they had also regularly attended a small class with a few of my teammates that involved stretching,  Scripture meditation,  and Christian music. Over the next several weeks, the gospel was clearly communicated.

Sarah and Ruth are now comfortable with having regular conversations about their doubts in the majority religion here; both have begun to earnestly study the gospel. Yet they are extremely afraid because of the serious repercussions they will face if any family member suspects their interest in Christianity.

Please continue  to pray for Sarah and Ruth. And pray for funds to furnish a wellness center that will provide a welcoming, safe place for women to gather and be refreshed.  For more resources on the project visit www.alliancewomen.org/resources.

Alliance Women has a goal to raise $13,500 for this wellness center. For information on how to give to this project, visit www.alliancewomen.org/give.

Download a copy of this story. 

*Name changed

Rehema House: Dawn’s Story

When Dawn was six years old, her parents died in a car accident and she was sent to live with relatives in the countryside. Although she was well-treated and cared for, she was never sent to school. Instead, she learned how to do domestic work.

When Dawn turned 12, her elderly relatives could no longer care for her and she was sent to the girl’s protection center in the same city where Rehema House is located. Her relatives passed away shortly after she arrived. The administrators at the center saw that while Dawn had no formal education, she had a quick mind and a desire to learn.

After an intensive year at a special school for illiterate females, Dawn was enrolled, at age 13, in first grade. She completed elementary school at the top of her class. Yet Dawn knew that her time at the center was limited—when they turn 18, girls age-out of the government system here. So as her 18th birthday loomed, Dawn became fearful. She had no living relatives and had a deep desire to complete her education.

One day, a woman came to the center seeking a live-in house helper. If Dawn took the position, she wouldn’t be permitted to continue her schooling, effectively ending her education at the sixth-grade level. But it appeared that domestic servitude was her only option.

Thankfully, a space opened for Dawn at Rehema House. She joined us in February 2020, just in time for COVID lock down! She is currently in seventh grade, and, despite the educational challenges of this past year, she has continued to remain at the top of her class.

Along with a quick mind, Dawn is also gifted with a tender heart. Recently, while at the market with one of our house moms, Dawn learned the story of one of the local vegetable vendors.  Moved with compassion, she convinced the other girls to pool a portion of their allowances to purchase this young man’s much-needed medicine.

Also, a new girl has joined our house community who is deeply struggling, and Dawn is always available with a listening ear and a kind word.

Dawn dreams of becoming an engineer, but she also wants to invest herself in helping others and building a more caring society. She has expressed interest in hearing about the gospel from our house moms and is daily learning about the value she holds in her true Father’s eyes.

Pray for the purchase of land and the construction  of the new Rehema House. Alliance Women has set a goal to raise $36,500 to support this project. For more information on how you can give to this project, please visit www.alliancewomen.org/give.

Download this story.