As I travel to different areas of the world I have the wonderful privilege of meeting women who are working hard to change the world they live in. They are women who face poverty and hopelessness due to circumstances of birth and gender but they are learning how to push back and little by little their world is changing. These women are championed by people who know the power of small changes. Safe houses, workshops, training centers, micro loans, feeding centers, medical stations and more are giving women a chance to feed their children, house their family, and become a respected member of her community. But we can’t stop here.
My friend Allison Hale is one of these women who is determined to make a way for women to change, grow, and thrive. She has an outreach ministry on the streets of San Pedro de Macoris in the Dominican Republic. Allison and several other incredible Dominican women are reaching out to women in dire need and offering them an opportunity to change their lives. What I love the most is the holistic approach they take to rescue and restoration. Yes, they help these women get the food, water, medical attention, and training they need to support themselves in respectable, safe ways but they take another step that I think is the most important step — the heart.
The Most Important Issue Can’t Be Ignored
When we talk about empowering women, we can’t leave this part out. At the core of every woman is her emotions, feelings, and her search for hope. The basic necessities of life will make them “feel” better for a little while, and it is true that standing on their own feet gives them a great sense of worth, but what heals the hurts? What deals with the scars of abuse and brokenness? What empowers the heart?
These are the real questions and I believe they have life-changing answers. I have been counseling women for over 25 years and I have learned that where you are born or what socio-economic class you were born into doesn’t matter when it comes to the heart. We are all searching for answers whether rich or poor, man or woman, American or Dominican.
The answer for the heart is the gospel. Although it is mocked as shallow and those who stand by it are considered politically incorrect, I have witnessed the life-changing results it produces. I have seen broken lives mended, abuse and scars healed, miraculous doors opened, and women empowered in ways that stagger the imagination. I have seen first hand the results of those who receive it, and I have stood in awe as their lives changed, grew and were transformed by the power of God. If seeing is believing then I can’t imagine what more is needed than a life that is changed on every level. We talk about financial change and the fact that their entire family is now in a position for a positive future but I have seen more. I have seen women who now have the ability to teach, to train, and to impact their community, their nation, and the world with the power of their life story. It is more than circumstances, job status, or health that has changed — it is a life that is changed!
Change is like dominoes, it tends to impact everything around it. I am praying for change for the half a billion women around the world who still cannot read and the 62 million girls who are denied the right to education. I am praying for a life-giving change for the millions of women and girls who are enslaved due to trafficking. I am investing in women around the world because I believe they are worth the time, energy, and sacrifice. I have seen the multiplication factor that happens when you touch the life of a woman because women are impactors! So many stories are still being written and lives hanging in the balance. I am glad to know there is hope. It has been my joy to be a small part of their stories and to give them so much more than they are expecting.
To find out how you can be a part check out Hearts & Hope Global Solutions.
Written by Reba Bowman