In Chile, 14 percent of the women between the ages of 15 to 19 become mothers. More than half of all births are to single mothers and women under the age of 20. These statistics have grabbed the attention of the United Nations, the World Bank and UNICEF. They’ve grabbed our attention, too.
That’s why the 2008 Indiana/Kentucky mission team headed by Pastor Lee Riggs, of First Baptist Church of Greensburg, IN, was so important. They helped launch Talita Cumi - Rise Up Little Girl. The girl’s club project grew out of a conversation with Pastor Lee and his wife, Lynn, sitting around their kitchen table back in August 2007.
In February 2008, 45 girls from six different marginalized communities, gathered for two days along with their mentors and the Indiana/Kentucky mission team. The purpose of this inaugural event was for the girls to get to know each other, play games, do crafts and introduce the girls’ clubs to them. Most importantly, they heard the important news that God loves them and can help them walk toward a bright future. Many of them accepted Jesus that day, receiving new life.
This was not just a two-day project though. These girls returned to their communities and the churches where they have been meeting once a week for two hours to do the same: play games, do crafts and participate in a conversation on the virtues that will help them build healthy relationships and good character. These clubs are intended to support our girls through spiritual development, a social network and a mentoring relationship. We are already seeing results in little girls like our friend Scarlet.
Scarlet lives in one of Temuco’s most marginalized communities, where Lord Merino and his wife Erica pastor a small congregation. One day shortly after her dad and brother had gone to prison for dealing drugs, Scarlet’s mother left her with a friend while she went to visit them. That friend visits Lord and Erica’s church. That’s how we found Scarlet.
When Scarlet walked into the church, she went directly to Erica and hugged her. Erica had never seen the little girl before, but talking with her, found out she lived nearby. Erica invited her to the church’s Talita Cumi girls’ club.
After a month or so of visiting, Erica called on Scarlet’s mother, to ask permission for Scarlet to officially join the club. Though Scarlet’s mom is not a believer, she was very emotional when she gave permission for Scarlet to participate. She told Erica, “Scarlet can participate in any activities that you have. Before she came to the club she cried all day every day because she missed her father and her brother, I didn’t know what to do with her, nothing I did worked and I didn’t know how I was going to get her into school in the fall. All the pictures she drew were of rain and clouds. Since she started attending the club, she has stopped crying and she has come back to life. Now she draws pictures, and they are full of color and sunshine.”
Thanks to your support the Talita Cumi girls' clubs project continues to minister to over 60 girls, with two new clubs scheduled to begin this month. Thank you for partnering with us as we share the light and hope of the Gospel with Scarlet and her friends in southern Chile.
You are invited to join the Missionary Partnership Network of individuals and churches who support the work of the Bolick family through prayer and/or giving. To learn more about their MPN or to receive their e-mail journals contact the Church Relations Advocate, Betty Helpa at firstname.lastname@example.org.