Today is Mothers’ Day in Peru. It is also 11 years since our ‘first Mothers’Day’ and the start of our work….Our thoughts today are with the women in prison for whom this day can be a painful reminder that they are not with their families. Others who have been released will be with their loved ones, and we give thanks to God for every face we can picture. Behind each one is a story, a story we have been privileged to hear and each story has broken our hearts. We were delighted to receive the GiftAid for the year just in time to be able to send Miriam a little extra this month, so our ladies will get a few treats. In these little ways we seek to show them that they are not forgotten and we know how much they appreciate these little gestures. We are grateful for all those who stand with us to make this happen. We are very much looking forward to Miriam’s visit in a few months, hopefully! Watch this space and we will let you know dates as soon as possible! In the meantime, if you know of anyone/any group that would like to hear our story, please do get in touch! For now, please join me in praying for our girls on this Mothers’ Day.
Today my thoughts are with the women in Santa Monica prison. I am thinking of our girls who are not with their families today, while other people are able to celebrate Mother’s Day. I think of one lady, whose son has always blamed her for being away from him as he has grown up and wants nothing to do with her now…..I think of another lady with 5 children who were in the care of her husband and sister, though sadly now they have got together and the children are being raised by them…..I think of yet another lady who wanted to get married and have a family, yet being taken meant those dreams were destroyed….And the one who has told her Mum not to come and visit her anymore because the journey is long and costly and she is elderly now…..There are so many stories I could tell….The pain of a mother, or a woman who would have loved to have been one….That is understood across cultures…
Well the Lake family have returned from a great two week stay in Lima! It was great to have our two families together for the first time ever and we shared many happy moments together, making memories which will for ever stay with us. A really wonderful present for our tenth anniversary of HSF! We took part in Happy Hearts Club, visited some of our ladies, visited both prisons and discussed lots of different issues relating to the work we do and feel we made huge steps forward. Of course there remain many things that need developing further, but on the whole we felt it was a very worthwhile trip. We hope to share our experiences with many of you over the coming months, if we have not already spoken to you. If you are a Facebook user, please like our page for mini-updates and don’t forget to check this blog too to keep informed of what is happening both here and in Peru. Many thanks to you all!
I realise that nothing has appeared on the blog for a while – this is because I have put lots on the Facebook page, so apologies…that is not to say there hasn’t been anything to report. Our best news so far in 2014 is that one of our ladies was released a couple of weeks ago – we were able to pay for the legal papers and she is now enjoying freedom after a few years, having been eventually declared innocent. The Ark is not needed on this occasion, as she has family in Lima, but it is there ready for the next person who needs it! In the meantime it will be our home for a couple of weeks as we head off to Peru next month! We are so excited at this amazing opportunity – for the first time ever our two families will be together and this is something we are particularly excited about! Really looking forward to seeing familiar faces and meeting new people, introducing my family to this amazing place and generally rejoicing at all that God has done over the years to this point. It is coming up to HSF’s 10th anniversary – and what a decade it has been! More on that on the next post perhaps….
Today is a very busy day for Miriam. She will be organising the Christmas party in Santa Monica prison with our ladies, then she will also put on a Christmas celebration in the minimum security prison, which she visits from time to time. Following that busy time and a lot of rushing around, will she put her feet up? Oh no! Today is also a very special day because Juanita has her graduation! She has managed to complete her university studies despite all the odds being stacked against her over the years. We are very proud of her and wish her all the best for her future! The ceremony is this evening and we look forward to seeing the photos! Tomorrow won’t be very relaxing either, as Miriam is still planning a few Christmas treats with individuals we support and on Saturday there will be the Happy Hearts Children’s Club Christmas party. Please remember all these events in your prayers and thank you for your support over another year. Without the generous support of people in this country, some of these treats would not be possible. We are grateful to you all. FELIZ NAVIDAD….
I have been reminded how much we take good health for granted in this country. When things go wrong, we go to the GP or the chemist without too much thought, but in Peru life is not that easy! Miriam has been suffering from migraines for over a week and is not able to carry out basic tasks at present. Her sister is suffering from anaemia which is also interfering in her day-to-day life. Please remember these ladies in your prayers. Over the years HSF has sent financial gifts towards medical costs when possible. Thanks to our supporters we hope we will always be able to do so. I hope to report back with encouraging news soon! In the meantime, as always, they are grateful to have friends who care for them, though far away…..
As we all enjoy the summer sunshine and more relaxed way of life here, it is hard to think that it is not summer in Peru! Life continues as normal during the colder part of the year over there. The children have just had a short break from school and have started up their studies again. There is nothing significant to report at this time, but that does not mean there is nothing happening. So in the midst of the summer fun here, please don’t forget our friends on the other side of the world and keep praying for the work of Hope and Song to Freedom! Thank you!
One of our ladies (who was released a few years ago) suffered a haemorrhage at the week-end and needs an operation urgently. She was very distressed on Sunday and Miriam spent time with her. She has been told she needs an operation – she has had to have others in the past, and as always, there is a cost involved. We would be grateful for your prayers for this dear lady: for peace, for wisdom and for provision….as usual, it is good to know there are people far away thinking of her!
Sadly one of our ladies had her house broken into this week. The thieves took some important documents and many items, including the blankets on her bed! She is just grateful she wasn’t at home, or she might have been attacked! So many of our women (who are no longer in prison) live on their own and feel vulnerable from time to time. No insurance usually, due to cost, so very difficult to replace items. We are sending some emergency funds so our friend can buy some essentials. This is what the general fund is for, so we are grateful for our supporters who allow us to help in times of need…..
The ladies in Santa Monica are learning new skills. This week they have a special workshop where they will learn how to make something. In the past we have been able to do this in a limited way, although now we have new contacts and are excited about really getting going on this. Miriam attended a silversmithing course last year and we hope that she will be able to learn other skills to pass on, as well as experts themselves being able to go into prison and teach the ladies. This gives them an interest and a focus and when they have products to sell, this gives them a small income too. We hope to be able to report more on this in the coming months!