Stories from the Field – CAMA Orphan Project

by Mau Le
Alliance international worker with CAMA Vietnam

Ngoc contracted the HIV virus during childbirth. She never knew her father, who passed away from HIV-related causes when she was three months old. Ngoc and her mother live in an old storage shed on the corner of their extended family’s garden; meanwhile, Ngoc’s older sister, who is not HIV-positive, lives on the property with the relatives in their larger home. Sometimes Ngoc is envious of her sister because she’s healthy and lives happily with other family members.
Ngoc’s mother does farm work and other hard labor to earn a meager living for her and her daughter. But she is unable to hold a long-term job because of the wearing side effects from her HIV-medication. Everyone in Ngoc’s life is afraid to have close contact with her. She feels rejected and unloved, abandoned by her family and community, and often asks why people hate her and her mother. At school, teachers and students keep their distance from Ngoc. She wishes that her extended family and her sister would play with her.
Only Ngoc’s mother loves and nurtures her. But when her mom is too sick to care for either her daughter or herself, no one wants to help.
Today, Ngoc experiences love and care from CAMA staff. “I thank them for loving me, giving me a lot of hugs, praying for my and my mother’s health, and financially supporting me so I am able to continue school and have food to eat monthly,” she often tells us. “I pray that God continues to give me and my mother good health. I want to study medicine so I can help HIV patients.”
*Name changed

 

Stories from the Field highlight the ministries that the Women of the Alliance have chosen to support.  For more info visit https://www.greatcommissionwomen.org/resource/more2/

Stories from the Field: Crisis Pregnancy Center Eastern Europe

Gloria

Our shelter director, Maddie, received a phone call last month from a woman who works outside of our city assisting females in crisis. “I don’t know the culture of migrant women, or how to help them,” she told Maddie. “But there’s a migrant lady here in great need. I’ve heard of your ministry to women like her; can you come and help?”

So Maddie went to meet “Gloria,” whose situation encapsulates the reason we are starting our Crisis Pregnancy Shelter.

At age 14, Gloria was given to a man in marriage in her home country—she was her husband’s fourth wife. He brought her to our city, and then abandoned her, leaving her pregnant and alone. When her baby was born, she was taken to an orphanage because Gloria had no means to care for her.

God brought some local believers into Gloria’s life who helped her find housing. They also assisted her in obtaining legal custody of her daughter, who was a toddler at the time. But when Maddie met with Gloria, this young mom still had no resources, little grasp of the local language, and no means to support herself. She was also pregnant again and deeply concerned that her unborn child might also be placed in an orphanage—not a safe option in this case.

Maddie showered Gloria with hope and love, providing her warm clothing, a listening ear, understanding from years of experience with women in similar situations, and the good news. The young mom heard all of this for the first time in her heart language and was overwhelmed. Although she was resistant to the idea of needing a Savior, Gloria begged Maddie to keep visiting her. She then asked the circle of local believers to tell her more about their faith.

Our women’s shelter team interceded for Maddie during her visit with Gloria. When she returned, they got to work, gathering more items that Gloria needed: a stroller, a used phone, baby clothes, and manicure tools, the latter of which Gloria hopes to use to earn an income.

But Gloria’s most urgent need—safe housing where she can continue to learn and receive support—isn’t something we can offer yet. We hope we can soon! In the meantime, we are helping Gloria as much as we can, including talking with her about her options. We will continue connecting with and supporting Gloria and her little family, always pointing them to our only true hope—Jesus.

 

Stories from the Field highlight the ministries that the Women of the Alliance have chosen to support.  For more info visit https://www.greatcommissionwomen.org/resource/more2/

Stories From the Field: Claudia

After her husband was late coming home from work one night, Claudia, a faithful member of our church, Breath of Life, received the call that so many Mexicans fear. It was Luis’ kidnappers, demanding a ransom. If she didn’t pay it, they would kill him. Claudia knew she would likely never see him again.

Although Claudia was a believer, Luis was nursing a 20-year grudge against God. Last year, two of their daughters accepted Christ and were baptized. Although Luis refused to attend their baptism, Claudia refused to give up on him.

After hanging up the phone with Luis after his abduction, Claudia prayed, “Lord, I don’t think I will ever see my husband again; please take care of him.” Claudia couldn’t go to the police, as that would ensure her husband’s death. Kidnapping victims in Mexico are warned by their abductors that if word gets out about their abduction, the entire family will be killed.

In desperation, Claudia took a risk and called Breath of Life’s assistant pastor. He prayed with her and informed Bob and Cheryl of the situation, and they joined in prayer. No one else in the congregation could be told.

One Sunday morning while Luis was still in captivity, Claudia testified to the congregation, “God is faithful!” By selling what she could and obtaining a loan, she was able to meet the required ransom. Luis was miraculously released.

A Joyful Reunion

Several days after Luis was reunited with his family, he was ready to open his heart to God. The couple approached Bob to tell him that Luis wanted to surrender to Christ.

Prior to his abduction, Luis told Bob that he had sensed the Lord speaking to him. He had prayed, “Lord, I need to return to you. Help me to straighten out my life.” Luis said that throughout the ordeal he never feared for his life; he was at peace, which further infuriated his captors. He knew God was answering his prayer.

Luis promised Claudia and Bob that he would listen to the Holy Spirit’s voice and begin attending church with his family. He has followed through on that commitment, with Claudia overjoyed yet still unable to tell anyone else what happened.

Claudia is not the first woman to deal with this type of horrific experience, and she won’t be the last. But we can come alongside women like her, sensitively providing support during the terrible hardships they endure.

 

Cheryl Fugate, International Worker
Guadalajara, Mexico

Stories from the Field: Santidougou Widows Center

A Missed Opportunity

by Esther Shaeffer,
International worker in Burkina Faso

We first met this deaf young woman while she was still attending school. She connected with us right away and would often come by the house to visit, bring friends, But our conversations never went real far.

After she finished sixth grade, there was no further possibility for her to attend school. She didn’t seem to have any direction for her life. She helped out some at the deaf school with the younger children, would meet with other deaf young people, but couldn’t quite find her place. Her visits to us became less frequent. Sometimes I would stop by a shop in town where deaf young people would hang out and drink tea, but she was rarely there. When I would ask about her, others would give me the “she’s ok” sign.

After a few years had gone by, I was visiting at the deaf school one day and the director said to me that she was there. I found her talking with others in the school cookhouse and saw that she was obviously pregnant. A few months later, she brought her baby for me to see. I asked her what her plans were for herself and her baby and she just shrugged her shoulders. I then went back to the director and we talked at length about the risk that these young women have for being used and often abused by others because of their lack of practical skills that would enable them to have direction and a way to earn money. We began to look into some possibilities and thought that sewing would be a good option for older girls that had finished their sixth grade education.
It seems too late for the young girl that we befriended years ago, who now has two children and no prospects of work or marriage. But for other deaf young women, we are determined to give them an opportunity to be learning a practical skill that will give their life some direction.
As believers we have an obligation to the society where we are living. To give young women skills so that they can find jobs, benefits the young women and also the society. We have found this to be crucial in the deaf community.