I finally pick her out in the sea of 4th graders, my doe-eyed daughter with her mama’s freckles. I call her name and wave. She sees me and runs toward me full tilt before plowing into me with circling arms. I use every inch of my own to return the favor and hold her close. She feels loved and protected next to me, and it shows.
I think about how not every daughter knows her mama’s arms as a warm place of protection.
Last week I spent time with one of my favorite women, Kristen Welch. Kristen is one of those rare people who is ridiculously easy to talk to even though you don’t get to do so very often. She is one of the most savvy moms I’ve ever met, and she is gracious and warm with a beautifully compassionate soul.
A few years ago, Kristen founded a non-profit called Mercy House Kenya, a maternity home for young women in Kenya. Mercy House, which houses 12 moms and 12 babies, is funded almost entirely by regular women like you and me in the United States. The mothers in Mercy House range in age from 15-18 years old (!!) and are rescued from the streets of Nairobi and one of the largest slums in the world. There, it’s all too common for women to be raped or forced by their families into prostitution for food.
The young residents of Mercy House did not choose to get pregnant, but they have chosen to be mothers.
Each of these beautiful daughters and their darling babies are getting hope and a fresh start because of Mercy House.
Each of these beautiful daughters now knows the warmth and love of arms that protect.
And *you* can help make those arms reach further and hold tighter.
At Mercy House, the girls already learn life skills like cooking and sewing. They are building their individual accounts through jewelry making. What is missing is a room specifically for education, reading, writing, and business skills. Because while Mercy House strives to meet the girls’ physical, mental, and spiritual needs during their stay, it desires to equip its residents with the tools necessary to build a thriving environment for their families after they leave.
And your donation – no matter how small – will go a long way to help construct this building.
And your donation – no matter how small – will go a long way to wrap arms around one of God’s daughters.
The redemptive work and healing that occurs at Mercy House is an amazing testament to God’s power and grace. Might you consider helping Elizabeth, Pauline, Lucy, and the others by contributing to this project? I’ll bring the nails if you bring the hammer and we can do this together!
UPDATE! The classroom is fully funded! Glory be. Thank you to all who contributed! If you would still like to contribute to another project for Mercy House, please visit here.
Images 1, 4, 6 and 7 by Bess Brownlee