Restore: Maria's Story
Your gift of $800 can help girls, like Maria, receive the healing and love they need to overcome abuse.
“Pray that I will stop thinking about killing myself.” This prayer request came from one of the girls attending a summer camp in Moldova, supported by The Freedom Challenge.
“Pray that we would have a house to live in,” another girl wrote. Others expressed their longing for hope and joy instead of fear and loneliness—not only for themselves but also for their struggling families.
Requests such as, “Pray that my mother would smile. She has only tears and pain,” reflects the reality of broken homes as much as requests like, “I want God to make my mother stop drinking”, and, “Pray that my mother would come home. She has been gone for five years. I don’t know where she is.”
The 102 girls, aged nine to 14, who participated in this summer camp are some of the most vulnerable in the country. Project workers know that several girls they work with have, in the past, been exploited, abused and even trafficked.
11-year-old Anna*, raises her two small siblings and takes care of the house, sometimes working in the fields to earn money. Her mother drinks and often doesn’t come home for days.
Neglected and unwanted
Most of these girls feel neglected and unwanted, and many of them, even nine year olds, admitted that they had considered or even attempted suicide.
“Why am I alive? Why doesn’t my mother love me? Why does she drink so much? Why can’t I be like everyone else?” 14-year-old Lena*, sobbed. She had lost her arm and leg when she was three years old because she had been locked inside her house by her alcoholic mother when a fire broke out in her mother’s absence—a fire that also killed her infant sister. “It would have been better if I had died in the fire than to live like this,” she concluded.
God makes all things new
One hundred and two girls and 102 heart-breaking stories. But, also, 102 lives that God created with love and for a purpose.
The camp theme this year was ‘He makes all things new’ Alongside time to relax and have fun, the camp hosted sessions on topics like ‘Healthy and unhealthy relationships’ or ‘How to set and reach goals’. At the beginning of the camp every girl received a Bible.
A father’s embrace
There was also a special time of prayer for alcoholic parents. At one point during the camp, a male leader apologized on behalf of these girls’ fathers, and all men, who had abused them or not been there for them. “I’m sorry for when he comes home drunk,” he said. “I’m sorry if he doesn’t provide for you. I’m sorry if there’s violence in your house. I’m sorry if your father deserted you.” He offered a hug to those who had never received one from their own fathers. Many girls sobbed as he embraced them and reassured them that God, their Father, is good and kind.
Of course, the true challenge for the girls is at home, where everything around them tells them they have neither worth nor a future.
What will happen to Maria*, whose 14-year-old sister was trafficked a year ago, and who herself was raped by those same traffickers and promised a job with them if she develops well over the next few years?
Will she believe that this is her best option for earning money? Will she buy into the lie that she is dirty and of no value?
Or will she be able to hold on to the truth she heard at camp and embrace a different view of herself: forgiven, clean and made for a beautiful purpose?
Your gift of $800 can help other girls, like Maria, receive holistic care and counseling for one month.
Will you give today For Her Freedom?
*Indicates that name has been changed for security