We set out on yet another adventure on July 14 to meet a landowner in La Ermita to discuss the possibility of renting a vacant house for a dear friend's new ministry with prostitutes.
Carmen, whom we have known very well for 5-years, is such an inspiration to us. She worked at the children's home from 2001-2014, but resigned because she felt God calling her to begin a new ministry with prostitutes. I'll never forget when she told us that she was resigning. You see, Carmen, one of the most Godliest women I have ever known, wasn't just an employee - she was a missionary and it was very apparent that her job wasn't a job, it was her ministry. She was one of those rare employees that invested herself in everything and cared for the children as if they were her own. We were so sad to lose her, however, we didn't want her to be out of God's will and we supported her decision to leave.
With a small personal investment as well as donations that Carmen had received for her ministry, she purchased a couple of beds, a stove, a refrigerator, paint, and other household items. Unfortunately, the building that she had been promised by another ministry was sold. Suddenly she was without a location for the new ministry. In addition to this set-back, her elderly mother became ill and Carmen had to put everything on hold to care for her bedridden mom.
Carmen, her daughter Evelyn, Kelly and I, arrived at La Ermita, a small village near Talanga, approximately 1-hour from Tegucigalpa, without notice to the owner. We had misplaced the contact information for the owner, so our trip was a total gamble. Thankfully we found the owner at home as well as a small mission team from Georgia. While the team was waiting for lunch, we talked and explained to the team why we were there.
Since the team had some free time and was comprised mostly of women, I asked them if Carmen could share her testimony. Carmen told the ladies that she had battled depression when she was much younger. During her children's early years, Carmen became depressed. She had no energy, no desire to do anything, and was in an abusive relationship. (No wonder she was depressed.) At the insistence of her husband and mother-in-law, Carmen agreed to go to a mental hospital for an evaluation and to be admitted; the doctor told her that she wasn't crazy and didn't need to be there. Carmen went home, but wasn't there long; her mother-in-law packed-up her belongings and set them outside of the house. When Carmen's husband came home, his mother told him that it was Carmen who had packed her things and was planning to leave him. Carmen soon found herself on the street with only a few articles of clothing and no money.
Carmen was desperate with no where to go. She could have chosen various paths, but she went inside a church and prayed for God to help her. The very next day, a stranger approached Carmen. He told her that a children's home was hiring house mothers. He even gave her the bus fare to go to the interview. Carmen was offered one of the first jobs at a children's home that later employed over 40 people. Shortly after her new job began, the founder and director of the home asked Carmen if she had children. She said yes. He asked, "why aren't they here with you?" Carmen replied that it would take a miracle to get her children from her husband and deceitful mother-in-law. The very next day, God surprised Carmen, yet again. Her husband called and said that he was putting the children on the next bus to be with her. Carmen's now adult children, Evelyn and Josüe, also grew-up at the children's home. They obtained an excellent education, learned English, served in the church, and volunteered at the children's home. Since their departure from there, Evelyn has graduated from the public university with a degree in psychology. Josüe is currently attending college on the weekends and working as an English/music teacher at a local elementary school.
The course of Carmen's life changed when she called out to God and surrendered to Him. Once she did this, God sent the stranger on the street to tell her about the job and to give her bus fare. Carmen's obedience has impacted the lives of hundreds of children. Carmen wants to continue to give back; to share about God; to counsel grieving women; to provide hope, opportunity, and love; and to raise-up strong women of God.
One of Carmen's favorite verses is from Isaiah 54:5-6
For your Creator will be your husband;
the Lord of Heaven’s Armies is his name!
He is your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel,
the God of all the earth.
For the Lord has called you back from your grief—
as though you were a young wife abandoned by her husband,”
says your God.
By the way, in case you're wondering, the owner that we met with said that he and his family were going to begin a new ministry, so that site isn't available anymore. We don't know where or when God has planned for Carmen to begin her ministry, but we are committed to helping her in whatever way we can. Please pray for the doors to open and for financing to sustain her ministry.
After our visit with the team, we drove Carmen and Evelyn to a nearby city to catch a bus to their home. I asked Kelly to please let me get out on this remote road to take a picture of this curve, but didn't realize until after I transferred the picture to my laptop that the cloud seemed to be winking at us. It was as if God was telling us that although we didn't know what was around the corner, that we were on the right path, and that everything was going to be ok.