Showing love to vulnerable women in Chad
God’s love transforms hearts. BMS World Mission volunteer Rebecca Hotchkin has seen this first-hand as she works to empower women who have suffered domestic abuse and escaped prostitution
Being immersed in poverty, getting married at 14, having lots of children and separating from your husband – sadly, this is just one story that exemplifies the kind of desperate situation that many women find themselves in N’Djamena, the capital of Chad.
Circumstances like this lead women into prostitution in an attempt to find some way to support their large families. It may seem hopeless, but BMS volunteer Rebecca sees God on the move in these women’s lives.
“I’ve been really inspired by the way these women say that their lives have been transformed,” says Rebecca. “One woman told me that now she knows who she is and understands her identity in God. It’s really exciting that we’re able to offer that kind of help to these women.”
Rebecca is optimistic about the work that she’s been doing to help provide spiritual, psychological and practical support to these women living on the margins of society as she spends a year volunteering with BMS.
On the project Rebecca is working with, she is building relationships with the women and providing practical support wherever it is needed as they go through a rehabilitation course. Recently there was a group of five women who went through the course. “These women come from difficult backgrounds,” says BMS Mission Projects Co-ordinator, Kat Wagner, who visited the project in January 2017. “Often they feel trapped and at the mercy of their husbands or other men. They have the helpless sense of being stuck in poverty.”
The faith-based approach of Rebecca and the team makes this project unique in N’Djamena and it is an important part of their rehabilitation. The women are taught about the gospel and what it means for them as individuals. They learn to value their own self-worth and are taught the importance of boundaries. “It’s all about empowering the women,” says Kat. “They’re taught that if someone wants to take advantage of them, whether that is in a relationship or even selling something in a market, that they don’t have to just go along with it and they can say no because they are worth a great deal.” The five women who went through the course were so moved by what they learnt about faith that they all committed their lives to Christ!
The women were helped in practical ways too. They were taught how to make soap, bags and greeting cards. The items are made so that they can be sold in local churches. The women are then each paid for what they’ve made as a way to help them generate some income for their families. Recently, they even landed a deal with Hilton Hotels to make and sell mini soaps to the company!
“One woman told me that she is now able to care for her children in a way that she couldn’t before because in the past she, herself, hadn’t been cared for,” says Rebecca. “But now that she’s received the help that she needed, she can love her children better.”
The recent work with the group of five women was so successful that Rebecca and the team will be starting another group soon. The project will also provide leadership opportunities for the women who have already completed the course, so that they can help other struggling women who come from similar backgrounds.
By caring for and empowering them, these women are finding hope again and the transformations are an amazing thing to witness. “All of the women talk about a very deeply held change within their hearts and how they see themselves differently,” says Kat. “It’s amazing because it’s not just a head knowledge, it’s something that really goes deep to the core of who they are and who they believe themselves to be."
Pray for the Chadian women and Rebecca!
Please join us as we lift up these courageous Chadian women in our prayers. Pray that they are encouraged by the Holy Spirit to keep strong in their faith and that God touches their hearts as they commit to follow Christ. Please also pray for Rebecca as she finishes her year volunteering with BMS. Pray that God will guide her in how she can best help with the women she encounters through the project.
Do you want to be a part of our work to help vulnerable women around the world? You can help by giving to our Dignity initiative today.
This article first appeared on the website of BMS World Mission and is used with permission.