Sheltering Arms

The acronym “TLC” is often used in place of the words “tender, loving care”. About 14 girls, ranging in age from 5 to 17, are in the sheltering arms of the Free Methodist Church in Bogotá, Colombia, and most directly being nourished and protected by a woman they all call Mama Ruth. Through her, they receive the TLC they desperately need.

When I was young and came down with the flu, I wanted my mama more than ever. When she held me close and stroked my hair after a bout of vomiting when she offered me a cup of cold water to drink and a cool washcloth on my hot forehead, I knew I was loved and cherished. I was safe in my mother’s arms.

I witnessed an act of love and beauty as I watched Mama Ruth blow on spoonfuls of hot chicken soup to feed one of her girls. She was helping her to regain strength after two days of the flu. It was a priceless moment of TLC.

During our 2014 Freedom Sunday focus, we called this home “Findesin,” which is actually the name of the foundation run by the church in Bogotá. They call this girl’s home “Panal de Vida,” or, when using English, “The Beehive.” ICCM is one of several partners standing alongside the church for the essential and expensive work of sheltering at-risk girls. The girls’ mothers cannot care for them for a variety of reasons, and the girls are fatherless. These girls are experiencing safety, community, family and the love of Christ in this home. They were made for love, and they respond beautifully to the loving community into which they’ve come.

ICCM National Coordinator for Colombia, Dolly Johanna Mora, assists with all aspects of financial management of the home, and with facilitating the girls’ letter-writing to their sponsors. She is pictured here along with Mama Ruth’s daughter Johanna and Dolly’s daughter Lina Gabriela and me. We have decided not to share photos of the girls to be especially careful of their protection.

Every year on Mother’s Day I miss my mom and my mother-in-law. Mother’s Day is sentimental and wonderful for many; for many others, it is a painful day, a time of acknowledging losses. Thanks to the FMC in Colombia and many caring sponsors and donors, 14 girls in Bogotá are receiving a mother’s love and protection at Panal de Vida on Mother’s Day and every day.

Thank you for standing alongside ICCM in this and our five other anti-trafficking initiatives. They all continue; they all need our support long after their moment in the Freedom Sunday spotlight has ended. To continue to sustain support for this project and our other intensive efforts at protecting the most vulnerable children from those who would exploit them, donate to ICCM anti-trafficking initiatives.