“How can we serve your community?” This was the question that was asked by leaders at Comunidad Cristiana Shalom in Medellin as they visited with community leaders in one of the displaced neighborhoods where they had been building relationships. The community of Manatiales is considered to be a newer “invasion” neighborhood with the majority of people settling here after being displaced from their homes in other towns and rural areas. The Covenant Church had begun to work in the community in the nearby neighborhood of Granizal, through their foundation “Community Transformation for Peace” which helped to sponsor a soccer tournament for adolescent girls in these neighborhoods.
Some of the groups that are most at-risk in these displaced communities are women, children and the elderly. The community leaders of this neighborhood shared that there was a group of 40 young women who were pregnant, or had recently become mothers, in their community. These women for the most part were on their own to try to figure out how to raise their children and provide for them. Over the course of months members of the Shalom mission team, like Diana, have been going twice a month to spend time with this group of young women. They are getting to know them; who they are and where they come from. At the same time, they have brought in health care professionals and others to offer workshops on pre-natal care, infant massage, the development of infants and their changing needs. They are currently in the process of offering classes to help the mothers take care of the nutritional needs of their babies, teaching them how to make baby food from fruit and vegetables.
Some of the young women have shown interest in receiving more technical training and have connected with another Covenant foundation called “Hands with Hope,” which is helping these women to receive information on training available through the government and other technical schools, as well as taking time to get to know them and their situations. The challenges and obstacles facing these young women and their children are many, but the love in action of the team from Shalom Covenant Church, as well as the community leaders is teaching them that they are not alone. They are capable of caring for the well-being of their children and have each other for support. They love their children and want to give them what they need to grow healthy. Please continue to pray for these relationships that are being formed and for this community of women.