Time and patience when serving vulnerable children

Here is a helpful story from one of our missionaries serving in Guatemala, as she ministers patiently and lovingly to a deeply wounded girl who was the victim of unspeakable sexual abuse. Working with such children takes remarkable levels of patience, time and love, with reliance on the Holy Spirit and lots of prayer.

I began working with Gabi* (13) in March. Gabi’s psychologist referred her case to me in the hope of providing her with another source of support, expression, and space to process.

For the first three months, Gabi wouldn’t even look at me. She would always have her face covered with her hands or hidden in her arms. She never wanted to share her artwork with me and struggled to engage in activities or even in light conversation, because of her deep her pain and shame over her experiences.

Then finally after 6 months of consistent work, her body language is much more open and when she shares what she is struggling with she can look me in the eye. This may not seem like a huge change, but the fact that Gabi feels safe enough to share hard things and isn’t as hindered by shame as before when telling pieces of her story is quite remarkable. She is still shy and guarded about some things but is making progress and practicing bravery. It’s this kind of consistency and patience that makes the healing journey “the long game.”

Gabi shared with me, “Before coming to the Oasis, I didn’t believe in God. I drank, smoked, and didn’t live right. There were bad things happening in my house. Even though living in a girls’ home now has been difficult and my story is hard, I know that God brought me here for a purpose. I can see the change.” 

She still has a long journey of healing ahead of her, and we still have a lot to work through together with her psychologist, but she is on her way! Immediate results or quantifiable outcomes in sessions are not always what are expected. But opening the space for the Holy Spirit to work is necessary to continue taking steps toward victory and healing - no matter how long it takes.

 Alexa Heeres, Missionary at our Oasis Centre, Guatemala

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us all in our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.” 2 Corinthians 1:3-4

Posted on September 30th 2021

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