In Chuquibambilla, we served at Antioquia Missionary Base with Pablo and Belen, a sweet married couple. One of the opportunities we had specifically as ladies was to teach the young girls about what coming into womanhood looks like. Through the partnership with Days for Girls, we provided ladies cloths and soap as well as teaching for this time in their lives.
However, for the girls in this community, some are sexually active before this time ever occurs in their lives–as young as 10 years old. Fathers want their daughters to marry, so they can get their own land. Although fathers do not encourage their daughters to have sex, but actually to abstain, the need to get married leads girls to believe sex is the way to win the heart of a guy (This mindset is not uncommon in America). Furthermore, since there is only one room per house per family, it’s not uncommon for parents to have sex in front of their kids. As a result, the kids imitate what they see their parents do. It’s actually so common that children may reproduce drawings of the different sexual activities and ask their teachers what their parents are doing. As many of you know, kids will listen to what you say, but they’ll do what they see. So, no matter how much the teachers tell the parents not to have sex in front of their children, their parents continue to and the kids imitate.
It’s hard for me to get angry because the resources they have do not equate to what I’m accustomed to. I’m grateful to have my own room (in America). But if I didn’t grow up with this opportunity, would the actions of the Chuquibambilla people be foreign to me?
No. I can’t presume my cultural upbringing is above theirs. Yet, the Lord’s statutes are. So how do you bring truth to a foreign people who have lived one way for so long? You can imagine how hard this is for Pablo and Belen, the missionaries and only two Christians in this community. It’s a lot for them. They wear so many hats in order to influence the people of this community. Furthermore, their voice and authority is limited. There’s a chief whose word trumps all in this village.
My mind is always solutions-based. So although I know the teaching for the girls is important, the parents need the teaching and understanding as well. When I asked Belen why the parents couldn’t go to the mountains to have sex (as that’s where the kids sneak out at night to do the same), she said unless the chief tells the community to change, nothing changes. The teachers, as well as Pablo and Belen, have communicated their concern to the parents, but they need the backing of the chief.
What if the chief never decides to advocate for them? How can we help? Is someone reading able to build partitions for their homes? Could this change this situation?
First and foremost, the understanding of who God is and who they are in Christ will teach them to honor their bodies, so pray their hearts would be open to the teaching of God’s Word. Pray that Belen and Pablo’s influence in this community would increase. Pray for the heart of the chief. Pray that they can identify and build up leaders for Christ in this community. Lastly, pray that Belen ad Pablo would not grow weary in the work God has called them to.
Change is a process–slow and often tiring, but may it be evident in due time.
This is Belen’s story, and now you’re part of it.
**In my next post, you will hear directly from Pablo and Belen as they share their hearts for the people of Chuquibambilla.
Until Heaven or Sooner,
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