Below is a story written by Sarah Crickenberger. She is a young lady who, like Trina and I, has fallen in love with the people of Honduras. She has spent the summer there and journaled about her experiences on her blog – confessionsofaragamuffin.blogspot.com. This last weekend she went with the girls of the Eagle’s Nest to clean Julio and Bessy’s house. Sometime I’ll tell about my experience with Julio and Bessy but for now I want to share with you Sarah’s story. Both Trina and I had tears streaming down our face as we read how God ministered in amazing ways.
Saturday was amazing. I went with Roy and the girls to clean Julio and Bessy’s house. Julio is the man in the wheelchair with muscular dystrophy that Roy helps every day. Roy was sick with a cold and fever, but he brought me, Mamí Sara, Mayra, Quendy, Blanca, and me to the house. We hadn’t previously been aware of what we were getting ourselves into. It was a profound mess, one rather reminiscent of professional cleaning or hoarding shows from the US. Realistically, we only put a dent in what needs to be done. We encountered maggots, mold, and more. We ran out of bleach and trash bags. While the girls marveled wide-eyed over a mess like they had never seen before, they also politely and cheerfully worked. I was so proud of all of them. Blanca swept and washed and dusted. Quendy washed mountains and mountains of dishes that likely wouldn’t have been considered salvageable in the US. Mayra helped me clean out the refrigerator. And Mamí Sara mopped and sorted, overseeing it all with a gentle spirit of serving compassion. We were playful as we raced each other to the dumpster with bag after bag of trash as Roy yelled jovially in the streets, “Basura!” (garbage in spanish) which naturally embarrassed the girls and made me laugh. (Blanca kept fussing over how she looked like a street kid – which she has been before, and I believe being in this state was humbling for us all.) We were hot and sweaty. We sneezed a lot, and we were covered in filth. We truly couldn’t have been happier. We ate lunch with Julio and Bessy in this state, and as lunch finished, Julio and Bessy started a conversation with the girls that led to a precious God moment.
It began with the question of what the girls wanted in a husband. Being adolescent girls, this made them giggle and get shy. Being girls who have all been victims of sexual abuse, it is a question with extreme power because it dares them to want better for themselves than what they’ve seen and experienced. I always refer to the girls as my little sisters, but in this particular situation, I was most definitely one of them. I was expected to answer just as they were which made for a hilarious situation as Roy sat across from me. After we discussed the importance of having a godly man, a man who receives and gives God’s love, a man who serves others, and a man who is suited to our individual needs and God’s plans, Julio and Bessy wanted to pray for each of us. They talked with the girls about their dreams and told them that they should tell God their dreams without fear but with boldness. Dreams are rather a novelty to these girls who have just barely scraped by, focused on surviving first and foremost. Having the chance to believe for the future is something new and challenging.
Julio and Bessy started by praying for Mayra, who jumped at the chance to receive from God. They continued by praying for me which again was a funny situation for me given the circumstances. Next was Blanca. Blanca has had a lot of struggle lately. She decides that she wants to leave the Eagle’s Nest every so often, and Mamí Sara and Blanca butt heads over her attitude fairly often. She is such a sweet soul, but she struggles with her need for control and independence. It is difficult for her to submit to authority which I understand because it means a lack of control, and love means vulnerability. As Julio and Bessy prayed for her, she began to cry, and I found myself inexplicably sobbing with her. Bessy began to tell her to receive God’s embrace, and Bessy told me to give Blanca a hug. I can’t explain what God did in that moment, but Blanca collapsed in my arms, and we sobbed together for a long time. There were lots of prayers for freedom and lots of confessions of love for Jesus. It was undeniably God-orchestrated, but He still wasn’t done.
Quendy was next. She was so hesitant to stand before all of us for prayer, and she was even more hesitant to confess her dreams at Bessy’s prompting. She began with her dreams of being a beautician and having a steady job and a family and soon talked tearfully of the desire to move forward, to be free of all of the terrible things that had happened to her. Quendy is the one who was physically abused by her mother and brother, who never went to school, who was sexually abused by her father, and who was kept as a prisoner in her own home. Bessy placed a crumpled piece of newspaper in Quendy’s open hand saying, “Sometimes, you feel like you are trash, don’t you?” Quendy began to nod and cry. Bessy continued, “You have been told by so many people that you aren’t worth anything, but God has taken you into His hands,” Bessy uncrumpled the newspaper, “and has made you something beautiful. And He says that you are worth something. You are so important, so valuable to Him. “Quendy began to cry as Bessy had her pour out her heart to God and repeat vital words of, “I am God’s daughter. I am loved.” Always a mess, I was crying along with her, and as Bessy told her to receive God’s embrace, I was again prompted to be the one physically demonstrating that embrace – a humbling privilege for me. Once again, I can’t explain what God did in that moment, but I know in my heart that it was no accident that I have stayed at the Eagle’s Nest this summer. Those girls are my sisters – not just in name, not just in affection, but in struggle and kindred heartache. There is an understanding among us that surpasses words, and I am infinitely grateful for the power of God’s perfect orchestration. Initially, I was so confused over God’s plans for me to be in Honduras while Alvin and Nellie were away, and I wasn’t sure how it would be staying in the Eagle’s Nest rather than Alvin’s, but this Saturday just showed me that He knew what He was doing. He always has a purpose. A precious, perfect purpose.
At the end of our impromptu church service (we’re always having impromptu church at Julio and Bessy’s), we prayed for Roy and Mamí Sara and sang together. At God’s prompting, I began the song, “La Niña de Tus Ojos,” which the girls and I often sing together and means great significance for all of us – rescued women who once thought we were unworthy of His love.
You saw me when no one saw me
You loved me when no one loved me
And you gave me a name
I am Your daughter, the daughter of Your eyes
Because You loved me
I love You more than my life
I love You more than my life
I love You more than my life
We came to clean Julio’s house, and we left with cleaner hearts. Mamí Sara had been saying to Bessy all day, “We’re going to get rid of anything possible. We get rid of the old and dirty so that God can give us something new.” And so He did.
With speechless joy,
Support These Girls
If you are moved by the stories of these girls and would like to do something to help them, there are things you can do. First, pray for them. Pray for more teachable moments and for God to continue to bring people into their lives who can minister to them. Second, the Eagle’s Nest is only funded through next November. It costs between $1000-$2000 a month to house, feed, and school these girls. Finally, we would love to see this ministry grow but to do that we need to purchase a house for the Eagle’s Nest. Currently they are in a rented house. A house would cost between $60,000 to $80,000. If you would like to give toward either of these, please contact us.