JULY 2021: TO CARE FOR WOMEN
I recently travelled to Mexico to meet with Jeanie Sue, who works with abandoned and abused women and children. She is a wonderful woman who has spent 30 years in Mexico, caring for others. She has personally adopted 12 children and raised them as her own. She now has eight grandchildren, all little girls. To learn more about the women she works with, we had agreed to meet her at a restaurant in Ensenada, along with five of the women that she had ministered to. I doubt that any of them had ever been taken to a nice restaurant before. The ladies seemed to really enjoy the meal and the fellowship. I told them that they each had to order a dessert, and if they did not then I would order two desserts for each of them. I learned this from my wife, Vicky. She said that even if a woman tells you that she does not want dessert, she does. One of the ladies, Camila, grew up in severe poverty and lost both parents when she was five. She was taken from her siblings and placed with relatives. Her younger sister, who was two years old, was sent to live with an uncle who was an evil man. One day in anger he beat her to death. One of Camila’s cousins started sexually abusing her as soon as she arrived and did not stop until she fled at 18. Girls as young as five years old, from her region, had to begin working in the fields to earn money to help feed their family and themselves. Many young girls from Camila’s region were forced into marriage, starting as young as ten years old. There is not enough space in this newsletter to cover all that she has been through. It is hard to imagine what kind of life she has had, and what this does to the innocence of a young girl who should be the joy of her parents, who plays with friends and dreams about growing up to be a princess. Camila married at 18. She and her husband, being indigenous, could only speak their tribal language, not Spanish. Not being able to speak the language made it nearly impossible to find work of any kind. When you have no hope, a lot of people begin abusing drugs and alcohol to numb their desperation. Her husband started out as a decent man but became a drug addict and physically violent with her. During his binges, she would be abandoned to fend for herself for months at a time. During one of his returns, she became pregnant again. Once pregnant, she could not find anyone to hire her. She and her children suffered daily from hunger. Each time her husband showed up, his condition was worse. In one particular instance, he beat her so severely that she was sure that she would die. He poured gasoline on her and tried to burn her alive. By the grace of God, a neighbor heard her child’s cry for help and intervened, saving her life. She fled from her husband and never returned. Rosa grew up in a very poor family, where sexual and physical violence by relatives were regular occurrences. To escape the feeling of worthlessness, and constant shame, she ran away and got married at 15 years old. Many young women have childhood dreams of meeting a man who will love, protect, and care for them. But for Rosa, her dreams would not be realized with her husband. He began drinking and abusing drugs, then became physically violent. In desperation, she cried out to the Lord. To protect their young children, she fled with them and never went back. Today, she lives in physical pain but is fighting with everything she has inside of her to provide for her family as a single mother. She works long, hard hours as a laborer in the fields for $75 a week. Leticia grew up without a father. Her mother was forced to work long, hard hours in an attempt to feed her family. With no mother or father around to protect her, Leticia was sexually abused for years. To cope with the abuse she began drinking, and at age 16 became pregnant. She married the father, but he began physically abusing her while she was pregnant. Two years later, he died, leaving her with no financial means. Desperate to take care of her child, she enrolled in school to be able to provide for herself. While in school, she met a “nice guy.” They got married, and he convinced her to drop out of school. She became pregnant again, but shortly after their son was born, the doctor told them that the baby had a heart problem. She said that she could tell that the child was really suffering so she prayed and said, “Lord, if my baby is going to suffer, please take him.” A few hours later, her newborn baby died. Through tears, she shared that it was so difficult to lose her child, but she was thankful that the Lord had heard her prayers. After the death of the child, her husband began using drugs and became violent. She turned towards God in her pain. She became pregnant again but was living in constant fear from her husband’s ever-increasing threats of physical violence. She cried out to God, and He gave her a beautiful dream of a safe home for her and her children to live in. In the dream, there was an orange building with a fountain in the courtyard. After going on the run to escape her husband’s violence, she ended up with Jeanie Sue, who has a home that is a safe refuge for abandoned women and their children. When she arrived, she found an orange building, and as she walked around, she found the fountain that she had seen in her dream. She knew that this was the home God prepared for her. Today, Leticia is working in the fields to provide for her two sons. She earns $75 a week and is trying to make a better life for her boys. Each one of the women at lunch had a similar story. I sat there listening for hours. Although tears filled their eyes as they retold their stories, I wanted to give them a safe place to talk, having someone who would just listen.
We have enough work in the other 27 countries that we are working in to keep us busy for a lifetime, yet I still cannot ignore human suffering, especially when women and children are involved. Even with everything on our plates, we felt that the Lord was leading us to bless these women. After lunch, we took them to Wal-Mart and told them that they could each spend up to $300 purchasing whatever they needed. When we got to the store, we gave each of them a shopping cart and told them to pick out things for themselves and their children. After two hours had passed, we met them by the cash registers. As I looked in their baskets, these mothers had all picked out practical things like clothes for their kids, laundry detergent, and soap. Touched by their practicality, we went to the toy section and allowed the ladies with small children to pick out dolls for their daughters and toys for their sons. One of the ladies told me that she had never had someone do this for her in her life. Jeanie Sue has a program that helps abused and abandoned women. As a condition of living with her, the women must commit to save up $2,200 (USD) to purchase a small plot of land. Once they have saved this amount, they then look for church teams to construct a 700 square foot cinder block house for them. A home that nobody can take away, giving them something of their own. With these women making $75-$80 a week, this could take years. I know when the Lord is speaking to me, and we have committed to build six homes for these and other women. All the ladies at Jeanie Sue’s are in the process of saving the required amount and once they have, we will come alongside them and provide the funds to build the home. The cost to build these first six homes is $10,000 each. Though I did not remember, Jeanie Sue told me later that she had met me many years ago, when I had given one of her daughters some money for personal needs. She went on to say that she began reading our newsletters and prayed saying, “Lord, it would be wonderful if I could work with this ministry one day.” The Lord says in Psalm 56:8 that God collects our tears in a bottle. This means that the Lord is mindful of our suffering and if we will seek Him, He hears from Heaven and sends deliverance. I believe that our ministry’s primary goal is to bring people to Christ, but beyond that, as much as possible, to help bring relief from human misery. And if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday. The Lord will guide you always; He will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. Isaiah 58:10-11
Far Reaching Ministries