Life feels upside down right now. A week and a half ago, I was evacuated from the Dominican because of COVID-19 and the closure of the Dominican border. The borders were starting to close but I wasn’t ready to say goodbye. This post specifically is something that I put off, waiting for myself to process what was happening quickly realizing that that was going to be a long process and one that I would need to give myself time for. I thought I would start my process of processing and reflecting on my last 9 months starting with why I choose New Hope and to live abroad in the first place.
The past eight and a half months, I have lived in La Vega, Dominican Republic working at a safe house for girls. Working to protect them, care for them, educate them, and empower them. Through those months, I often would pause and sit in a moment wondering how the heck I got there. Wondering what got me there, how I got there, and why I got there. It is always important to remember what we have been through and what God has done in our lives to see what God is currently doing. He goes before us and He goes after us. He knew that that house in a same town of the DR was were I was supposed to be this year.
Through middle school and high school, I was always a bit hard on myself. I bet we all were a bit hard on ourselves for many things. As I grew up into my later high school years, that frustration with who I was and insecurity of who I had become weighed on me. This turned extreme as I had struggled with depression, anxiety and an eating disorder. I wanted to be better but I wasn’t sure how. I had hit rock bottom, ready to reach out for something or someone bigger than myself. I surrendered. The fall of my senior year of high school, I went to a treatment center where I learned to love who I am. I talked to Jesus everyday asking Him to show me why He made me the way He did and what I am supposed to do with this. I felt like the Lord said to me “it doesn’t end here”. God taught me that He made me perfect in His image, that whatever “flaw” I might see must be used to talk and connect with other girls and boys feeling what I felt. I surrendered and God healed me.
I knew what happened to me was important but what was more important was other girls and other women out there were going through similar situations and I knew that that was not their destiny just how it wasn’t mine. A lack of empowerment and confidence in oneself, comes from a past of hatred or a certain event that can make one to feel this way.
I found out about New Hope Girls on a study abroad for social entrepreneurship. Although the organization has a workshop providing jobs for women, I fell in love with the safe house side of the organization. The stories that each girl has are important to her but important to also understand that what happened to them does not define them. My view on life aligned with the organization’s mission of being created for more. I am created for more, these girls are created for more, we all are created for more. To be created for more is having confidence in who you are and whose you are as you move forward to what He has created us to do. I know that as a worldly perspective, to be created for me, we need education. This is what I provided to the girls at the safe house. With a degree in Elementary Education, I taught the girls that were in transitional care, meaning those who have just arrived the house and have just received their rescue. These girls are raw. Repetition of their true identity was essential in my everyday work. We would shout before each class “SOY IMPORTANTE (I am important) SOY AMADA (I am loved) SOY PODEROSA (I am powerful) SOY HERMOSA (I am beautiful”.