This month, as we’ve slowly been getting settled in and visiting different ministries and social projects, I’ve walked away with such an incredible appreciation for the women I’ve met and reconnected with. Women are being transformed in their relationship with Christ, in their understanding of who they are and what they are capable of, and they are transforming others around them as they open up spaces for learning, skills training, counseling and healing.
Two experience stick out to me. The first was the way that God has continued to guide a group of women who are committed to seeing themselves as God sees them and helping others to understand their worth and receive training in order to improve the standard of living of their families and other women in their communities. Hands with Hope is a foundation that just offered a basic entrepreneurship course for a group of women and they have two other courses they are offering for women to learn how to sew and design simple articles of clothing. The women who are receiving these training opportunities can’t talk enough about all that they have learned and the new self-confidence it has given them. How fun to see Ada modeling her very first dress and see others working on a new towel wrap (for hair…it works great!) What a joy to visit their new site and see first-hand how God has grown this ministry.
The second experience I had was that of attending the national Covenant women’s retreat where over 140 women came together for 3 days from around Colombia. There is such joy as they gather together. They are able to share their stories with one another, they are able to encourage one another, pray for one another, and learn from each other. I saw tears as we talked about the hurts that we have experienced in our lives and also such genuine joy as we were reminded of God’s infinite love for us and desire to restore us and use us to be agents of reconciliation. These women are movers and shakers and God is using them in their local churches, businesses, homes, and neighborhoods to share God’s love in very tangible ways. I loved the time I had to talk with two women, Jimena and Gloria, who work with a children’s church in Bogota. They are receiving up to 80 children on Wednesday nights and most of these kids come of their own initiative as there is little parent involvement. They are offering these children a safe place to play, to interact with other kids, and to experience love in tangible ways as the teachers and volunteers give their all every week. I was also blessed to have met three members of the Abide team who came to share and teach during the retreat. These women are so grounded in their identity as children of God and had such an impact on women at the retreat as they prayed for them, ministered to them and brought a powerful word from Scripture. I came away from the weekend changed.