Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Our Little House of Love, The Lighthouse.

When someone has only known prostitution and sexual exploitation their whole life, basic needs suffer. Reading, writing, and essential life skills are just a few of the areas that victim’s of exploitation need in order to find the confidence to walk in freedom.
LightForce’s Lighthouses are a place of hope and resource. At these houses, victims of sexual exploitation, women and men, have the opportunity to learn how to read and write while learning necessary life skills to further their pursuit of freedom, hope and future dreams. Two to three days a week tutors and volunteers teach basic reading and writing, while one day is set aside for cooking and other trade classes.
In addition to teaching, Lighthouses function as a safe place for children to come and receive a good meal, get necessary tutoring, play and just be a kid for one day a week. In many rural, impoverished areas, young children are at risk of forced prostitution. Our vision is to give children the opportunity to receive the love they may be missing out on. 

We have been so so blessed to begin this project with our house in Nicaragua. This house is the first of many that we hope to open. We are slowly getting some furniture and we hope to be able to purchase the table and chairs next week for the children to sit at during tutoring.

My heart melts at all the little faces that fill this house. At times it can be so loud and chaotic but somehow this chaos is beautiful. Many of the women and children have stories that break your heart and often I will choose not to share their stories with you. I can tell you though that this house has become a sweet place for many children to come and play inside. If the walls could speak, they would tell you about all of the laughter, hugs, games and even at times tears that transpire here in, Lighthouse.

Friday is our grand opening to a particular community where there is extreme poverty and many children at risk. One of our kids we work with, Olga, is from this community. Up until now, we have been selective in allowing people from this community into the program. However, Anita has worked hard to screen and decide how many other people we will allow to come and learn. Many times I wish I had all the money in the world to let every kid in, however, we have narrowed it down to 30 something children to feed and work with one on one.  We are trusting God.

Olga was our trial and I hope to one day share her entire story. I will say that Olga needs your prayers. Sexual exploitation is a degrading weapon used to rob children of a childhood. She is twelve years old but only in the second grade. When we first met Olga, she never smiled and was not even attending school. Her eyes haunted me, more so than any other little girl I have ever met. I remember not sleeping well after I first met her and Anita took me first thing the next morning to see Olga. I asked her if she was interested in going to school and what she wanted to be when she grew up. Her reply was an emphatic yes and that she wanted to be a lawyer. She smiled. Finally, a smile!
We placed her in a good school and she reports to us everyday before and after school. It is my favorite time of the day, helping her with her homework and loving on her. We all do. Olga is part of our family and on Saturday, we will add many others like her to our home.

Please continue to pray for our safety, the women and children, and our ability to sustain the Saturday feeding programs.
 Olga, ready for school with her new supplies!


Laura, helping Olga with her homework.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

United We Stand......

"Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion,  then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind.  Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves,  not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others." Phil. 2:1-4 
  There is a unique beauty to unity in the body of Christ. Unity is also a very powerful weapon. It is amazing all the you can accomplish when you put the above passages to action. Working together, we can more effectively love on people.
All of us here in LightForce have really come to love and appreciate the importance of team work and partnerships with other organizations. While I was working and partnering alongside Jesus Said Love-Dallas and Village Church, our Costa Rica team was working with A Street Named Freedom and Rahab Foundation. We have met, prayed and served with so many amazing people this year and it's only February!
I have returned to Costa Rica just this week after much travel and it feels amazing to be "home"!
I will tell our updates through photos! 
Lori Warren and I survived the planning of the outreaches in Dallas, leading up to the Superbowl. I spent a total of three weeks there and it was great! I made a lot of new friends. I feel beyond blessed to have been there and look forward to going back.
Unfortunately we are unable to post any of the Dallas photos! However, our Costa Rican team had a very successful outreach for Valentine's Day and here are the photos of the preparation that went into the event! 
A Bucket Full of Hope

Flowers were given to all the women who work the streets at night in prostitution along with a verse.

Laura writing out verses

The guys taking a break to eat!

Some of our awesome outreach team members hard at work!

We are gearing up for a big weekend of outreach and then heading to Nicaragua for our grand opening of the Rivas House followed by our launching of a feeding program for children at risk. I am so excited at all God has made possible. We will keep you updated! Please keep our team in your prayers these coming weeks.