Clari (in the black & white floral top) has been very very tough, closed off, and withdrawn in the last year due to the excrutiating pain of her homelife. Over coffee I asked her what she thought about the whole God thing, and she said for the first time she wants God to make huge changes in her life. After one worship session I walked over and gave her a hug and felt this little nudge inside to tell her I loved her. I waited for a split second because I didn't know what to say, and she said, Rachel, te quiero! (Rachel, I love you!) How special to stand by and see God's love breaking down barriers and setting the captives free!
Michelle's faith (far right) was completely renewed, refreshed, and engergized. Here's a small picture of her life: her mother had 8 children, all with different fathers that were never in the picture for long. Her mother did drugs, prostituted herself, and died of cancer when Michelle was 12. They did not do hugs, kisses, or kindness in her home. Her brothers were abused physically and sexually by family members. Her story seems to be the norm here, and she met God's grace in a powerful way this weekend!
The retreat focused on God's grace, healing, forgiveness, and love even in the face of the most awful sin and the most awful pain. It was the perfect message for these women. The culutral differences amazed me. For example, in a session on Self Esteem, I assumed we would focus on body image the way we would at a conference in the US. Body image was never mentioned once.
Causes of Low Self Esteem for Women in Honduras
1. Family/husband calling you names and saying you are worthless, and abandoning you
2. People at work calling you names and saying you are worthless
3. Finances. Being poor causes you to feel unworthy/worthless
It was an amazing look into the spiritual climate and challenges these women struggle with. People were just profoundly affected as they heard truth and had authentic encounters with the God who loves them like crazy.
Praise God for the work he is doing in the lives of Michelle & Clari. Please pray this week as they fast on behalf of their guy friends they want to go to the men's retreat going on in 2 weeks. They want all of their friends to experience God, too! Also pray that they would spend time in the word as the daily grind/the enemy wants to destroy all of the truth, peace, and hope newly planted in their hearts.