The Residential Program, Salome and House of Hope Bolivia
The residential program at House of Hope is a major part of the ministry outreach for trafficking victims and prostitutes in Nicaragua. It is a four year intense discipleship and vocational program that currently houses 18 adult women and their children. When housing on campus becomes available the spot is quickly filled by an eager woman looking for a way out of the dark world of prostitution.
Once they become a resident, a world of opportunities is opened up to them. They are given the opportunity to take computer classes, sewing classes, baking classes and the opportunity learn how to make paper and jewelry. They also develop parenting skills and their children are finally given the opportunity to be children. If they persevere in the program and graduate, they will be given a small rustic house of their own and a grant to start a small business so they can provide for themselves and their children in a way they can be proud of.
The spiritual and personal growth of the residents tends to be astonishing. Women and children who enter the program find love, acceptance and a hope for the future. Below is a story of one our current residents, Salome.
Salome had a very hard and sad life starting at an early age. She was raised by her grandparents and by the time she was 13 she had been sexually abused by her grandfather and 22 year old friend. She had stopped going to school because her siblings told her that women didn’t need to go to school. Sadly, after all of that, her life only got harder. After leaving her grandparents house and living with her birth mother, other problems arose which forced her to leave home and live on the streets. There she met a woman who lead her into prostitution.
She began drinking and taking revenge on men for all the bad things that had happened to her. She would steal and lie in order to take advantage of them in any way she could. Looking back now, she admits that she only hurt herself by doing all of that.
She sold food from a small cart but used that as a way of meeting potential johns. One day, a woman who bought food from her asked her, “Why are you crying?”. The woman saw beyond the food cart charade and asked Salome to come to House of Hope. Salome went along with the woman but denied any involvement in prostitution. As time went on she admitted to being a prostitute and began to find herself and God as the walls around her heart slowly came down.
After 3 years as a resident at House of Hope and after many internal struggles to continue the program, Salome says the changes in her are immeasurable. Despite her past she is now on the right path and moving forward. She understands the importance of dressing modestly, has become a good mother and strives to serve the Lord with all her heart. She admits that at times it is hard to get along with others but can see God working on her everyday. She no longer criticizes people or calls them hypocrites because she can see the same things in herself. She looks forward to her graduation next year and dreams of having her own home. She credits God working through House of Hope as the reason her children are able to attend school and is so grateful for the love and assistance she has received as a resident on campus.
House of Hope Bolivia
Words from April
We had a wonderful evangelistic tea this month with a great group of ladies. The volunteer group from the Agua Viva church in Vinto (Pastors Marcus and Jennifer Morris who we have known for a long time), are a dedicated group. Together we did evangelism in the brothels and the health clinic. We visited women in their homes and rooming houses. It is so exciting to see what God is doing! During the tea last month, one of the women, Mari, broke down sobbing as she was touched by the Lord. Many of the women shared dreams of learning to read or finishing high school and becoming self-supporting. One girl, Zulma wants to be a chef.
The exciting news is that we are starting a small residential center for a few of the girls. Kati is the first one scheduled to move into a room in the building at our baking workshop. She was injured in a motorcycle accident a month ago when she was out drinking with a man, who was driving, and he was killed instantly before her eyes. This was the wake up call she needed to make a change in her life to have a better future for herself and her 4 daughters.
Ruth is a young woman with five small children and no support from any of their fathers. She was raised in terrible conditions. Her mother was in prostitution and her father beat her and her 7 brothers and sisters. She witnessed many atrocities as a young child. On one occasion her father strung a noose over the rafters and was in the process of hanging her mother when the neighbors heard the screams of the children and intervened. Ruth was pulled out of school at six years old when the family moved from city to city trying to escape from her violent father. She never returned to school or learned to read or write. She entered prostitution out of desperation to feed herself and her kids. She is desperate to change her life. She had been living in a rented room with her 5 kids and had no stove to cook.
Ruth has been in the Women of Hope program we have in Cochabamba, Bolivia since March 2015. She is in our baking program and is slowly learning the recipes by heart since she does not know how to read. She is now living at House of Hope.
Behind the baking workshop is a building that is not complete. We plan to start immediately to finish the construction to get this large room finished for Ruth and her kids.
You can get involved by helping us finish the room for Ruth. We are estimating $1000 needed to finish and get Ruth’s family moved in. We also need help, $250/month to pay the salary of Sandra, our new On-Site director. We also appreciate your prayers for Sandra and the rest of the team of volunteers as they take on this new ministry.
On this visit to Bolivia, I also spent 2 days in Santa Cruz working with a group of women there who would like to get started helping the women in their city to come out of prostitution. There are actually 2 groups forming. One group is from an Assembly of God church in a slum area of Santa Cruz called Three Thousand Plan. They are surrounded by brothels. The nights that I went to speak to the volunteers in this group, we counted about 20 red lights in a very short distance as we crossed the neighborhood. They have great potential. They plan to sew backpacks and make sandals. They are believing God for the start up capital to do this and we are believing with them.
Please continue to pray for the women and children at House of Hope. Our wonderful staff need prayer also as they take on more responsibility. With your assistance, lives are being transformed everyday. Thank you!