As I sit down to write this blog my mind is still in overload and my heart is still broken. Finding the words to describe a week with 111 girls ranging in age from 9 -19, first let me say how humbled I am that God would choose to use me as a leader at this camp. This was the first time that I have had the opportunity to attend girls camp. It was one of the hardest weeks I have ever experienced. While God was working, the enemy was ready to attack around each corner.
As the girls begin to arrive we had a task of breaking down walls that have been built up from the harsh reality of the life they live each and every day. Some girls are so excited they couldn’t wait to tell you all about life while most are so closed up and didn’t really want you to know where they come from or how they survive life. But, God already knew the walls that stood and He wove together a team of ladies to blanket these girls with prayer and love. As the week progressed, relationships were formed, trust was built, the walls begin to fall and hearts begin to open.
So many stories unfolded that were just unbelievable, and even make you want to question why God would choose to have these young girls go though such horrific events. I know God has a plan for each one of these young girls and He has the power to use them all in mighty ways. My heart aches for them, they are all still little girls but they have had to grow up so fast. I want to share three stories with you from girls that I became very close to this week, not to make you sad but to shine light on the reality these girls live with every day. (For the girls protection I will change each girls name.)
The first girl’s name is Oxana, she is 10 years old. Her parents have both gone to Russia to work with no plans to return to Moldova. She lives at home with her 18 year old brother and her 2 year old brother. As, Oxana begin to tell us her story her eyes filled with tears. Life is good now she states but she doesn’t know how she will survive much longer. In two weeks her 18 year old brother will leave Moldova too, he will to go abroad for work. She has no other relatives that live in or near her village. She is 10 and now faces a life where she is the caretaker of herself, her 2 year old brother, and their home.
The second girl’s name is Natalia, she is 16 years old. She lives at home with her mother and younger brother. Her father has left the home and no one knows where he is, before he left he was drinking a lot and abusive to Natalia’s mother. Natalia’s mother doesn’t have a job and has no source of income. Natalia’s heart is very hard, and she never opened up to us, when asked about her prayer needs she ask us to pray for her little brother. He has a mild health issue that requires him to visit a doctor once a year, with no income he hasn’t made that trip this year. Natalia would never tell us anything personal about herself. During one of our sessions about “My Mind” and manipulation the girls were given green(yes it’s ok), yellow(it depends on the situation), and red(it’s never ok) circles to answer questions with. The girls were asked questions about relationships they had with either family members, friends, or boys. They would then answer by holding up which color they felt was a correct answer. When asked the question “is it ok for someone to touch you in places that makes you feel uncomfortable?” Natalia answered with her yellow circle, this broke my heart. How is it ever ok for someone to touch you if you feel uncomfortable with it. I asked the leader of our camp for Natalia story. In her village it is know that her mom will sell her to any man who ask, for the small fee of 200 Lei (10 US dollars). Does it make her answer right, no of course not, but you can begin to understand why she answered the question the way she did. She knows it’s not right but, in her mind she is helping her family and her mom tells her it’s ok. Natalia’s solution for her problem is that she will find an older man who “loves” her and they will get “married” and he will take care of her. She is currently dating an 27 year old, who tells her they will get “married” and he will give her a job. More than likely this will turn into a case of human trafficking, this is the hope she sees for her future.
The last girl is Liuba, who is 16 years old. Liuba is a very beautiful young lady, who also had a very closed heart. However, during several sessions you could see a look on her face that said I need to talk to someone. There were several times she would almost break and her friends would come around and she’d close up tight again. Each day the girls meet in small groups to talk about the large group sessions. On Thursday this particular group ask for three of our team leaders to come and help them write letters to their mothers. Liuba had no interest in writing a letter to her mother, so I begin to have a conversation with her. It was just her and I and no one else was paying any attention to what we were talking about. The first thing I ask her was why she didn’t want to write a letter to her mom. She told me that she didn’t know where her mom was. Some people have said she might be in Russia with another man, but she didn’t know for sure. I then ask her who lives at home with her. She responded that it was her, her dad, and her 2 brothers. We begin to talk about her dad. Whom she said drinks all the time and is drunk most of the time. Then she became teary eyed. I ask if she ever felt scared at home. She said yes. I asked if her daddy ever hurt her when he was drunk. Tears flowing she said yes he is mentally abusive and hits me quit frequently. I asked if she had anyone that she could talk to when she was scared at home. She responded no she had no one in her village she felt comfortable talking with. I gave her my telephone number and told her to call me if she ever needed me. She quickly dried her tears and said she would, the other girls were finishing up their letters and begin to notice us talking and Liuba was finished with the conversation. She would come to me during the day when her friends weren’t around and wrap her arms around me, just needing some love, but as soon as her friends came around she was finished. I know Liuba’s story goes much deeper, and I only scratched the surface of her problems. I pray that if she ever needs me she’ll feel comfortable enough to call me.
Camp was such a blessing for these girls, you could see the joy in their eyes. It gave all 111 girls time to be free, just to be little girls, to feel loved, and to learn about a heavenly father who loves them and can restore their broken lives. God worked in and trough these girls this week.
I ask that you pray for them every day. They have all gone back home to life and everything that goes with life here in Moldova. Pray that they will remember the things they learned and that they would have the strength to use some of the tools given to them when life gets tough.