Education is at the heart of World Wide Village. As a Christian organization this extends far beyond classroom learning. Our desire is that Haitian youth grow not only in intelligence, but also in wisdom and love for the Lord.
As World Wide Village has been focusing efforts in the villages of Williamson and Luly, a common issue has continued to surface. There are many single, young mothers in need. These young mothers – often only teenagers – are trying to make it on their own with no regular source of income and no father figures to help raise their children. This is a huge problem.
Marielle Sander, a representative of the United Nations, believes that “to advance economic growth and development in Haiti, it is really important that each teenage girl has the right to have control over her own body and over her future. A pregnancy by choice, not by chance.” As of today, 11% of adolescent girls in Haiti have already had at least one baby.
Many believe that basic education on fertility and better access to birth control is the solution to this problem, but we believe there is a better solution… a solution that gets at the heart of the issue. A solution that is found in God’s Word.
Not unlike teenage girls in America, many young girls are looking to find their unique identity at this age and often seek attention from young men. This attention – usually in the form of physical intimacy – makes teenage girls feel loved and accepted. Our desire is that teenage girls in Haiti would know that they have another option for feeling loved and accepted and it’s found only in God.
God says, “I have loved you with an everlasting love” (Jeremiah 31:3) and “I will never leave you nor forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5). This unconditional love from God stands in stark contrast to the conditional and temporary love that Haitian girls find from the young men they are seeking.
This problem is also exacerbated by the fact that it is very difficult for young women to provide for themselves in a developing country. Jobs are scarce and education is limited. For many young women in Haiti, they believe that finding a man is the best way to survive. We know there is another way. God’s Word says that we can depend on Him to meet our needs. “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you” (Matthew 6:33).
Even though we have met many young women who turn to relationships with men to meet their needs, we have also met young women within the church who are seeking God. They are committed to keeping themselves pure even though it is counter-cultural. Our desire is to show each teenage girl in Haiti that she really does have “the right to have control over her own body and over her future.” The way is through drawing closer to God and depending upon Him.
God’s Word says that we are chosen, blessed, free, treasured, forgiven, a friend and a daughter of the King. These are truths that teenage girls in Haiti need to hear. Our prayer is that these truths will permeate the culture in Haiti. As teenage girls wait for Godly men, there will be less teenage pregnancies and the cycle of poverty and dependency can be broken.
Your support of WWV is helping us walk alongside the local church in supporting these young women. Sara Aten (WWV missionary) and two Haitian WWV staff are teaming up to provide ongoing Bible studies and discipleship of these young women. They are teaching them the truth found in scripture and encouraging them to follow God – and being a faithful friend and mentor. Ray Aten has even offered to babysit during these studies for the young women who have already suffered the consequences from wrong choices, but know it’s never too late to start following God!
Join us in praying that every teenage girl in Haiti would know that there is hope because God is forever faithful. God’s faithfulness and unconditional love for His daughters can change Haiti.
Pictured: Judy Bieker, Sara Aten and Chalina (a young mother who recently accepted Christ as her Savior)
Since this article was first written, we are celebrating that eight young women have decided to accept God’s free gift of salvation through Jesus Christ and begin their journey of following God. Now that’s something to celebrate! Thank you to everyone who has prayed for this ministry and to Ray & Sara Aten for faithfully following God’s calling on their lives to serve full-time in Haiti.