I will never forget our first rescue. She was eight! I will never forget walking into that place around noon. As the door opened I was hit by the smell of alcohol and the air was heavy. I had walked by that place hundreds of times before and never truly “seen” it. I know I didn’t control my face and I’m certain I was shaking. I didn’t know what to say, but I didn’t have to say much. A woman shouted, and a little girl grabbed my hand declaring she was coming with me. We walked out!
She was tiny and confident. At the age of eight she had lived so much. She knew of pain and betrayal and of the dark and scary things that move in the night.
There were a few things she didn’t know yet…
I told her I didn’t know what I was doing. I told her I would fail her. I told her I would do my best, but it was GOD who had rescued her. It was God who had heard her cry. It was God who knows all things. All she had been through. All her pain and mess and trauma. He sees all of her AND He LOVES her.
I told her there was NOTHING she could do to separate her from His love. Nothing good enough and nothing bad enough.
She didn’t believe me, so she began to put those words to the test.
We wrestled. She tested. She raged. She kicked and screamed. I thought we might lose her. There were layers and layers of woundedness, bitterness, brokenness, trauma and abuse.
We told her she was a princess. We told her she was a child of God. We told her she was loved. We told her she was brave and valuable and new. We fought every lie with God’s truth.
A few weeks ago, we interviewed her as she longs to tell her story to the world.
What would you say to the girls that still live in the barrio?
For me, the key is, don’t lose faith in yourself. It all depends on what you believe.
Look at Wanda, she lives in this barrio but she is not here.Women like Greici and Wanda and Joy--They believe in who they are, they’ve made goals.
Sometimes, they tell us things or we dream of things, but we let them go because it is too hard and we think we are not going to be able to do it. I would tell the girls, they are the ones that create their future. You don’t have to wait until you are a big star to show the world who you are. You can start when you are little and you can do beautiful work for the world that starts in yourself. So that’s why I think, the advice I would give is to believe in yourself.
What do you want people in the United States to know about you?
Well, I want them to know first that I am a child of God. Because He took me to a house called Light and Hope and gave me a New Hope.
Do you feel like the princess you were dreaming to be?
I feel like more than a princess. When you read story books of princesses and everything is perfect. What I know now is the real princesses aren’t the ones who live in a gold palaces they are the ones that will challenge the world and confront the world to find the gold.
What should people in the United States know about the New Hope Girls house of Hope & Light?
I want them to know that the title is more than a title, it is a reality. We are using God’s word as a double edge sword to help girls like me and others who are like me. There is a New Hope found in knowing God and knowing who you are and who you can become in the future. Imagine if this house didn’t exist I wouldn’t know God and I wouldn’t know what a real princess is. The one who fights or the one who just has it all. If New Hope didn’t exist, then there wouldn’t be girls that know who they are, and they would not be ready to help others know who they are.
Who are you?
People tell me I have a gift of leadership. I see myself as a guide. Taking people from the darkness into a different place where they can realize their dreams and become who they want to be. That’s exactly what New Hope did for me.
Boy things have changed over the years. Before, there were times I wanted to run away. Now I’m looking at the reality that I have two more years before I turn eighteen. It is going to be hard to confront the world. I grew up in New Hope, I lived in this barrio, but God pulled me out. And now, as I go out into the world, there is no one telling me what to do. But the thing I keep thinking of is that-- I was born in this world but I am not of this world.