What a day it was yesterday. A day filled with a total array of emotions that left me totally exhausted but so grateful for God’s blessing in my life and for the work God is doing in the lives of the beautiful people in Honduras.
A trip to the Feeding Centre (we visited #1) is always a rush. You cannot help but get drawn in by the energy and gozo de la vida (joy for life) that 4 and 5 year olds have. Just as our visit last time, I think they loved on us as much as we loved on them – and that’s pretty special.
Coming off that visit, and lunch, we headed to the Vente-Uno site, which is now the home of the Girl’s prison. Approximately 20-25 girls between the ages of 12 and 18 years are in the prison. These girls are serving out their sentences for various crimes – a lot were very serious crimes.
Our mission over the 3 afternoons that we will get to spend with the girls this week is to build relationships, show love to them, and have fun doing some cool things.
Upon our arrival, the girls were waiting for us in the courtyard, and we were told, were very excited that we were coming and had been up early in anticipation of our arrival.
My first impression upon entering the prison courtyard was that it was a very institutional facility – nothing homey about it; lots of concrete and bars, and with the heat of the afternoon the girls were in little groups of 3-5 in different shaded areas.
It was very awkward at first as this was their home, and we were coming in to it. We were invited, but it was still a bit uncomfortable. Gradually though, as the girls began to interact with us, painting our nails, and playing soccer, it got a little easier.
I am a bit of a people watcher, so I was doing a little of that, and I noticed how closely the girls were watching us, and if I caught their eye and smiled, they reciprocated with big smiles.
I watched as Mami Nelly interacted with the girls, and also how Anna has developed under Nelly’s mentorship and is beginning to build relationships with the girls too. They just love on the girls and in response they trust these women, and openly show their affection. It was beautiful to see.
God is doing great things within the walls of the prison. I witnessed such evidence of this when the girls were brought into a circle and we sang worship songs. Listening to their beautiful voices singing songs of praise to God was beautiful and uplifting.
After worship, Mami Nelly asked if any of our team had anything to share. My first thought was surely someone else had something to say. Certainly I didn’t. What could I, a 54 year old Gringo woman have to offer these young women in the way of counsel or advice or guidance or anything else? But, God spoke to me clearly to share with the girls. I thought, no, I don’t know what I could offer? But, God spoke clearly again to me, that I needed to share. So, rather than try to tune God’s voice out, I chose to step out of my comfort zone, to be bold, and to share what God was placing on my heart. In Hebrews 12: 12-14, God calls us to persevere, to break down any barrier or hindrance so I did.
I encouraged each of them if they were not already pursuing a relationship with Jesus yet, to do it now. I told them that I only came to know Jesus and have him in my life when I was 45 and I wish I had known him at a younger age. I prayed that they would continue to seek Jesus out – to ask him into their lives, and that they would see the fruit of that relationship.
Afterward, Nelly told me that these words were so perfect for the girls this day, and that they will be encouraged by my words, that a number of the girls were very convicted and emotional and that this is good for them to feel.
Its so amazing to me (always is) how perfect God orchestrates everything. We just need to be obedient to his leading, and he will see the rest to the outcome he has planned. I can’t wait to see what God has in store for the rest of the week.