President Laura Chinchilla
I watched in astonishment and horror as the women contorted their bodies in painful, humiliating ways. Once again, I discovered that I was far more naïve than I thought.
I was teaching a course for facilitators at CEDEPCA, el Centro Evangélico de Estudios Pastorales en Centro América (the Evangelical Center for Pastoral Studies in Central America), an organization closely affiliated with the Universidad Bíblica Latinoamericana where I work.
In the first class, I asked my students to describe the women who attend their classes. Two persons were assigned as “statue-makers”, to mold the women into forms that would express who their students are. They created tragic figures who were depressed, humiliated, frightened, intimidated, beaten down, angry, bitter, resigned. “Where are the positive images?” I asked. “The strong, confident, successful, joyous women?“ After all, Costa Rica just elected a woman as their president! They looked at me sadly. “We don’t see any of them here.”
My experience with CEDEPCA has been a rude awakening for me. The women who attend these groups are trapped into narrow traditional roles that deny them the right to leave the house without permission, to study, to work, to be informed about the finances of the household. Many of them are physically or emotionally abused. Most of them believe that their situation is God’s will for them and their churches reinforce the teaching that women are inferior and incapable of managing their own lives or taking leadership. The women are unaware of the many laws in Costa Rica protecting their rights to a full life.
It has been a special privilege to work with these committed teachers, all volunteers, with their passion to help women realize their potential. Thank you for making it possible for me to be a part of this ministry. Together we partner to bring the news of God’s transforming love to those who need hope and solidarity.
Please keep in mind that October is World Mission Offering month, when you have a special opportunity to support American Baptist mission work around the world. Please give generously to continue to make possible these important ministries. You can give directly through the website at www.internationalministries.org or send a check to International Ministries, PO Box 851, Valley Forge, PA 19482-0851, written to International Ministries. If you wish to support my ministry, write a note in the memo line clarifying “support for Ruth Mooney”.
Together in ministry,