Alright, well, to take up where I left off before, the rickety narrow steps going up to the rooftop/second “storey” of the big, open, multi-hovel brothel where our four children lived with their mother had VERY uneven steps, plus only had a railing on one side. As I carried the heavy end of one wooden bunkbed up those stairs, 12-year-old M. carrying the other end, and going first, I had to try to lift the weight up high so that my end of the bed would fit between and over the railing, and the dangling poorly strung electrical wires and chicken-wire netting above the adobe bricks used to delineate the edge of that property, from the next one, and also, for sure, to deter thieves who might try to climb over the wall to steal people’s natural gas cooking stove tanks. All of a sudden I heard catcalls, whistles and “Que macha!” (“Wow, what a jock”).
The catcalls and remarks were being addressed to me, because I was carrying one end of a heavy wooden bunkbed all by myself up some stairs. I ignored the remark and prayed in my heart, “Jesus, protect us all three, and help us to get these bunkbeds delivered to these children, and help us to shine your LIGHT in this dark and awful place!” I felt a little more calm after that, even though my heart was pounding and sweat was breaking out all over but that was because of the weight of that bunkbed and the fact that it was a very warm summer afternoon.
A few of the more serious and heartfelt posts on here I need to make sure I give without any photos. This will be one. Good exercise for me to try to describe my experience and my resultant thoughts about it, to you, in words alone without the “crutch” of photographs.
Three afternoons ago, at six o’clock, I thanked my hubby for giving me a ride out to the ministry where I help a tiny bit, gave him a kiss and jumped out of his jeep and briefly rang the doorbell on my friend’s property, then let myself in the black-painted metal pedestrian door with the painted tin can lid on a wire covering over the hole you can stick your arm through to open the slide-bar from the outside.
Three of us, all women, met up and a tiny white rattle-trap taxi had been called. The driver pulled up outside and we opened one side of the metal car door to the property and started carrying out, bit by bit, two brand new wooden bunk beds, two new foam-with-fiber, and a sewn cover on the outside mattresses, and the drawers and ladder to the bunk beds. The driver loosely lashed some of the bunk bed parts to the top of the roof rack where they towered, looking a bit like a a two-year-old’s efforts to play Jenga, and we three gals piled into the taxi. The driver took off slowly, easing over the bumps and ruts and through heavy traffic. After driving a short distance, we pulled up in front of a sprawling, run-down old brothel.
“HERE?????” How surprised and embarrassed the driver was! Yes, here. My friend had called ahead and, the paint-peeled metal door to that rundown brothel property was open, and three little children, siblings, R., G. and M. were already waiting for us out in front, joyfully jumping up and down, big smiles on their little faces!
Let me back up a little. This ministry, where I help out a little is an outreach of sharing the Good News, and also teaching the Bible, to, principally, about fifty teens and children and some of their family members, each of the kids and teens of which is the child of sex trade workers and clients. The raison d’être and goal of the ministry is to see each child saved and protected, on every level and provide surrogate Christian “family” to each child. The ministry platform/felt need/way we get access to these children and teens used for the outreach is after-school homework support and nutritional support, for the children. Ours is a day program, not an orphanage. About half our kids are extremely malnourished when they first come into the center. About a quarter of them have not been signed up for free public schooling; the first thing we do for a child is make sure that they are signed up for school, and then, we help them each day with their homework, plus give them nutritious simple lunch, snack and tea or breakfast, since their moms don’t cook or give them regular meals. (To be continued…)
Epilogue Part One: Why would we do this – go to such a place? There’s only one reason – identical motivations for all three of us – for the sake of the children. These young lives. These little persons. Jesus would have gone to that place, for them. You go to such a place, a prayer on your lips and in your heart,sticking close one with another every second with your co-workers, one hundred percent only for the sake of Christ and for the sake of those three children, those three little siblings, R., G. and M., who are in our program, who live inside that brothel with their mother, who do not have a dad, and who sleep together with their mom and each other in one small dirty bed – the four of them, which is the bed, in the room, where their mother also plies her trade. This family’s home is that one tiny, windowless room, with no table and no chair. Partially it is a family of five, not four, because another one of our little boys in the ministry, J., gets left by his mom for weeks at a time, frequently, with R., G., and M. and their mom, to live. Okay, so, that’s four boys, the oldest of whom has turned 12, though he’s tiny and looks MUCH younger. And one little girl, and that mom. All sleeping in one bed. We were taking the new wooden bunkbeds, and mattresses, to fit into the side of that tiny dark room, for the children – the 3 boys to sleep in one bunk and the little girl, G., to have her own bed, the other bunk. That was our project, that was our dream for G., R., M. and J. THAT was our reason, our ONLY reason, for going to such a place.
-a poem by NinadesusOjos
that nourishes my body and my mind,
green and raw and crisp and orange,
no greasy, sweet, soft, white, starch, flour,
apples, oatmeal, quinua, squash and lettuce.
reading to learn,
reading to be stung to think,
reading to laugh,
reading to relax and fly away.
to know Him more,
to enjoy Him more deeply,
to worship Him more fervently,
to study His Word,
to delight myself in my beloved position with Him.
marveling at their quirks and mine,
smiling at a ten-year-old’s clumsy joke,
listening to their hearts,
mourning with them in their grief,
dancing hand-in-hand in their triumphs,
sharing my Lovely and Loving God with them.
– Guest Post by P.B.
“Feliciano Rios lives with his wife and five children in Chillavi, a small Andean town located in the high mountains to the north of Cochabamba. Like almost all of the residents of Chillavi and the surrounding villages, Feliciano and his family live off subsistence agriculture, farming small parcels of land. They also have small herds of sheep and llamas.
Feliciano has been a believer for 24 years, since before he was married. Feliciano didn’t grow up in church, nor in a Christian family. He has never been to a Bible school or seminary of any type. However, for the past four years Feliciano has been the itinerant leader of 19 little churches spread out through the mountains around Chillave. How does he do it? Where did he learn the Word of God?
As Feliciano will tell you, “M.C.M. short-wave radio has taught me the Bible. The programs encourage me, teach me how to educate my children, how to be a good husband and father, how to resolve the challenges that come up in a family. The Radio has shown me how to grow and mature. While I listen to the programs, I take notes in order to share with others in the 19 churches I help. M.C.M. has been my teacher.”
Feliciano has listened to M.C.M. radio since we started broadcasting almost 15 years ago. It is great to hear of the Radio’s impact on his life, and the manner in which that has gone on to impact the lives of so many others.”