This month has been a real mixed bag of disappointment and blessing. Aside from the continued challenges we are facing with our financial support and the waiting game of our paperwork (adoption and visas), I started writing a little girl in Alberta Canada. The mom had contacted us for an Awana missions project and we started writing back and forth! (The names have been smudged out for privacy) Anyway, these little letters written in the hand of a 2nd grader have really been an encouragement to us! It also reminds me that even though you may be young and small in the eyes of the world, you can make an impact in other's lives. This little one desires to share the love of Jesus with her classmates and is praying for our family. I hope we can learn from this 8 year old's example. I also hope we can meet face-to-face someday! These small encouragements (los ánimos) that God sends our way....
Several mornings a week I like to jog/walk at the big park down the street from our house. This Monday morning I noticed 2 small kids that were disheveled looking and were wearing dirty clothes. A little distance from them I noticed a woman sitting on a park bench and a man bending over her yelling and gesticulating in her face. I passed them a few times on my normal route around the park, but each time, I had a nagging sense that I needed to do something. After the 3rd pass, I stopped and asked another lady walking around the loop if we should call the police. She agreed with me and we called the local number, which sent us to a hotline. They said they would send a car right away. In the meantime, we prayed for the family and lifted the woman and her children up to the Lord.
Now, in Bolivia when you call an emergency, the responses times are not as quick. Needless to say, the family left about 10 minutes later in a taxi (father was driving) and the response team didn't arrive until about 30 minutes after the phone call.
My heart is heavy for this family. The public display of violence: yelling, verbal abuse indicates that there would be more violent tendencies in the privacy of a home. The appearance of the kids with unkempt hair and dirty clothes. The mother sitting there helplessly. Please pray with me for the mother and 2 children.
In this culture, there is a lot of domestic abuse: sexual, verbal and physical. There is also an ingrained mentality of acceptance of said abuse because the machismo culture. A 2013 Study by Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO), in collaboration with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention share that intimate partner violence in Bolivia is 35 percent larger than the next highest abuse rate of 38.6 percent for both Colombia and Peru. Bolivia tops other Latin American countries by a margin.
Please pray with me that this mother will find the strength to keep herself and her kids safe. That God will protect each one and that she can seek help.
I am also learning to act when I see something that gives a red-flag. Maybe I should have intervened sooner. Maybe I should have stopped immediately and asked if the woman needed help. I'm still wondering if I should have confronted the man myself and risk the violence turning on me. Maybe it would have diffused it, maybe not. All I can do is pray for this family.