Giving Hope Space to Breathe

This post is written by a friend/teammate of mine, Makeda, an executive pastor at a church in North Carolina.

Our team was split into four smaller groups and we went to visit families who are being helped by the programs being offered by Beginning of Life (BoL). As we learned from the founder yesterday, BoL started out counseling pregnant women and aiming to prevent abortion among teenagers. When they started, only 1 out of 5 pregnancies in Moldova resulted in a live birth. More times than not pregnancies ended in abortion with many using abortion as a form of birth control. I and two other members of our team had the privilege of visiting two single moms who are doing what they can to beat the odds.

T was one of many social orphans in Moldova; her grandmother raised her after her parents abandoned her. When she was 18 years old she fell in love with a boy but when she got pregnant he gave her an ultimatum, him or the baby. T chose her baby because she would not abandon her child like she was abandoned. T lives with her grandparents in a house barely large enough to hold them. Her daughter is now a little over a year and a half and has a smile that will light up any room.

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We then went to visit V, a single mom of two. V lost custody of her oldest child when she went to prison. After she got out, she fought really hard to get her daughter back but it took many years and it has been really hard for them to re-establish a mother/daughter relationship. A couple years ago V met a man and fell in love. But when she got pregnant, he also gave her an ultimatum. V decided to have an abortion. She was in the OR and already about to go under from the anesthesia when she remembered what her grandmother had told her about abortion being a sin–she changed her mind. Using only her eyes she tried to tell the doctor she didn’t want to go through with it. Normally the doctors don’t listen because they assume the moms are just having cold feet about the procedure, plus it is costly to have to go through setting everything up again. This time, however, the doctor decided to wait until the anesthesia wore off to find out what she really wanted. V calls her son her “little miracle” and she has such hope for his future. His birth has also helped restore V’s relationship with her older daughter.DSC_0032

What struck me with both of these moms was the hope they had for their children’s futures. Both women want their kids to know love, to feel cared for and to have success in the future. Neither woman had much hope for themselves but had so much for their children. Like any parent, they want better for their kids than they had. But they are fighting an uphill battle as hopelessness seems to hover over this city like a dark cloud.

Hope struggles to find a place to breathe in this city. But BOL is bringing light and hope to Moldova.

In the afternoon we got to spend time with the girls at the Rehab and Restoration House. Prudy, Amanda and I taught the girls how to art journal. Y was one of the girls who really got a hold of the process. In her book she put the below picture and she explained that she wants to be a chef one day. She said “that’s me”. I LOVED that because most of the young people here are not taught to dream.

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The reality of their day-to-day lives makes dreaming feel like a luxury. It’s the despair of being here that puts the young people at such high risks for being trafficked. But BOL is teaching these girls how to dream again, how to hope against hope that they can have something different. They are helping them find opportunities to make money and giving them other life skills they need to try to make it out there. They are helping them breathe in hope again. Y’s eyes danced when she looked at that picture and you could tell she believed it was possible.

There is darkness here and evil is present everywhere in this city. But BOL is striving to be a light in the midst of the darkness. Together with their partnership with Children’s Hope Chest, they are working to breathe hope and life back into their city one rescued or at-risk girl at a time. Their work is not easy but they believe God is with them and they are determined to see the evil in their city eradicated.

Would you pray for them with me? The work they are doing is important and our prayers are needed as they work to push back the darkness in this city.

Makeda Pennycooke

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