Caution, this story contains some graphic imagery. (The names of the girls in these stories have been changed.)
I’ve just returned from a full trip to the Dominican Republic and got to experience the work of VisionTrust in some projects I had never seen before. One of these was a Transitional Home for girls we partner with. Below are a couple of stories I heard while there.
Yoani was brought to the home at 10 years old. She was left there by her mother and stepfather. Her father knew she was being left but chose not to intervene. She had been seriously neglected and abused from birth and now would face the feelings of being abandoned. Yoani’s family may have been terrible people. You might say she was better off without them. But to many orphans any family is better than no family at all.
She began to slowly adapt to life at the home. Trying everything she could to make life unbearable for Ketty and Maria, her caretakers. People suggested they give up on her. They didn’t understand why they would tolerate Yoani. They said it was a noble thing to take in a girl like this so it was okay to just let her go. But there was something different about Ketty. No matter how much this girl tested and pushed, Ketty could not let Yoani be abandoned again.
Jaime came to the home when she was 6 with her 5-year-old sister. They were found on the streets, left to roam and search for food. Word was getting around that Ketty and Maria were people who could help and wanted to as well.
As Jaime’s story came out they discovered that their father raped her and her sister continually after their mother had died. He regularly used them as “mules” for drug trafficking from various islands. He had taken condoms and filled them with drugs then forced them “inside” his daughters. This, along with the rape, had severely physically damaged these girls to the point that they could not control going to the restroom on themselves.
After almost 10 years in the home, the girls had improved physically some, but the emotional scars are deep. Jaime, now 15, has gained the attention of the local boys and her desire for love and attention have begun creating new problems for her. For now, Jaime and her sister are doing well. They are learning more about their worth in Christ and are gaining more and more insight into how to see themselves the way Jesus sees them.
Yoani has a different story. Many told Ketty to get her medicated but she refused. She insisted there was good underneath the anger and violent outbursts that had begun. But eventually, it became more than Ketty and Maria could handle. After months of hearing Yoani’s detailed plan for leaving and killing her father, her mother, and her stepfather they chose to relocate her far from her “home”. She currently lives in a monastery under heavy sedation. The pain and anger has won…for now.
Ketty still has hope for Yoani. She knows and trusts in a God who is greater than any circumstance we face; even ones like Yoani has experienced. She still believes Yoani has a beautiful future ahead of her…
Ketty and Maria still house girls in need. They currently have 32 girls living with them and they make due with what they have and continue to love and encourage those whom God brings to their doorstep.
These are just two stories of many. There are others, girls who have been damaged more than most of us could imagine. Girls carrying hurt that goes far beyond the physical. And yet two women are standing in the gap. They make it their goal to make sure all the girls know Christ loves and accepts them. Join me in praying for this special ministry and for these young women as they grow in the truth of Christ.