It all began with prayer each day, seeking to know God’s heart and purposes. I asked Him, “What do you want me to do?” and He responded: “Go further, further, further.” When I received this word from Him, I understood that there is much more out there and that we can go further to expand God’s reign. There is more for the women (in prostitution), more than they can imagine and there is more for their children. All of this is to give glory to the Father; it is essential to believe that He will follow through on His calling.
Every day, Word Made Flesh Bolivia observes first-hand the reality that our at-risk friends face. Due to number of factors, every year the number of women who enter into prostitution in the area increases. A study done in May 2018 showed over 15,000 women registered as sex workers in city of La Paz. In other words, one out of every 26 females in my city is a registered sex worker. The number is alarming, and the devastation on these women’s families and communities is real. But there is more for them.
For many years, the strategy God gave WMFB was to simply be present, to be with those affected by prostitution. That strategy continues today, as groups of staff and volunteers visit local red-light districts. They go to where the women are to get to know them and form friendships with them, inviting them to the activities offered at the ministry center. More than just a visit, it’s about expanding God’s kingdom and about the women becoming part of God’s family, as it says in Isaiah 46:13 “I am bringing my righteousness near, it is not far away; and my salvation will not be delayed…”
It is incredible to me how God has opened doors to expand his kingdom in places like the public health clinic, where sex workers from all over the city do their required medical reviews. Each visit to the clinic connects us with 40-60 women who have never heard of our ministry center, The House of Hope.
When we talk with these women and explain the activities and support we offer, they’re stunned. They tell us that it’s the first time they’ve heard of something like that; that there’s no other institution or organization that supports them.
One of the women we spoke with told us, “That’s great. I hadn’t heard of this before – I’m going to come because I need to de-stress and to do something else; I can’t take that place [the red-light district] anymore.” On Mother’s Day, we brought small gifts to the women, and one women broke down in tears: “No one has ever given a gift like that to me before; thank you for remembering us, because no one else does.”
These women can find new opportunities, change their story, improve their quality of life, and have Abundant Life. But how can we help make that vision a reality? By offering a safe space, sharing the gospel, life skill empowerment, training in new income-generating skills, facilitating relationships with people they can trust. This is only by the love and the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, who rescues and transforms lives.
As a result of that work done as a team, as part of the vision and mission of WMF, many new women have arrived along with their children to the House of Hope, in search of opportunities, hope, restauration and renewal.
All of this the Lord does in response to simple obedience; to go further than we could imagine. It feels incredible that He has made us part of His work.
Reflection by: Leny Luna, WMFB Social Worker