Ever since I arrived, I have had a special concern for my student girls. The girls here grow up without much instruction in many aspects of life. There are many cases of abuse and rape, many become teenage moms or get married at very young ages. It seems as the cycle only repeats itself over the generations.
A few months ago, I felt God was bothering me to start a project aimed for girls. I did not know exactly where to start, what to do, but this idea always came to me. "These girls need a solid base, they need guidance, they need something for them, they need someone for them!"
I shared my idea with my missionary partner, Gabi. She immediately loved the idea and got even more excited I was! I also mentioned the idea with my mother. In a conversation with a psychologist from church, she got into this subject, and she then talked about the Brilliant Girls Project developed by the Adventist Development and Relief Agency, from the Paulista Oeste Association. She even walked the second mile and ordered the material to implement my project and sent it to me on the mail! What a blessing it was to receive this material! It shed light on many possible activities we could do!
I also spoke with my aunt who is a missionary in Mozambique and does a wonderful job with teenagers and young adults! She gave me some counseling and ideas of simple things that can be done to help these girls!
Gabi and I started to draw plans and get the resources needed. The other missionaries got involved in the process as well. We decided to work with girls from ages 10 to 18. In addition to the five girls from our community, we also invited the girls from the São Bento and Prego communities, which are the closest to us (that is, close to our reality. The Prego community is 40 minutes away by canoe).
I confess that I was scared with the amount of teenage girls who are already have children and are married within this age group! These were the reasons I thought it would be a difficult and delicate work.
We prepared a space for our meetings, a place that would be theirs alone! At our first meeting, I confess I was very nervous, anxious, afraid of what would happen. It seemed that a project that I had thought so small, was already taking a much larger form. What if the girls did not come? How would they react? Would you like it? Would you go back to a second meeting? What exactly should we say or do to reach out and help them?
We prepared a place for our meetings, a place that would be theirs alone! At our first meeting, I confess I was very nervous, anxious, afraid of what would happen. It seemed that a project that I had thought so small, was already taking a much larger form. What if the girls did not come? How would they react? Would you like it? Would you go back to a second meeting? What exactly should we say or do to reach out and help them?
I went to the meeting with a tight heart! 14 girls showed up and it was more than I expected! In the middle of the meeting, we had a moment for prayer requests. Each person, if they wished to, could write on piece of paper any troubles, problems, or any requests they wanted to tell God and ask for His help. I also wrote my request, and there I told God that this project was too big for me, that I was not capable and that I needed His help. I knew He would be with me.
About the Author
Gisele was born in São Paulo and has a degree in Pedagogy and Biological Sciences. She began teaching at ETAM in February, 2018.