I am at the Relevant conference in Harrisburg this weekend.
Yes, I was just at a conference last weekend.
No, I am not planning to go from conference to conference week after week. I did not stay home with my children to travel the country without them.
I attended Relevant last year, and I was uplifted and encouraged. I love this conference.
At last year’s conference, I met Kristen Welch, author of We Are THAT Family, at dinner the first night. Kristen and I started blogging around the same time, and I have followed her blog for years.
At that dinner, Kristen shared her heart. She explained that she was fundraising to create a charity in Kenya, a country she visited during a Compassion missions trip.
Kristen explained that girls – young teenagers as young as 13 or 14 – in Kenya are being raped or sold into prostitution at unbelievable rates. Many of these girls become pregnant. High percentages of the the pregnant girls die before their babies are born (attempting to perform self abortions, committing suicide, being murdered, and during childbirth). Those who survive pregnancy and childbirth are left without a means to support themselves.
I was touched and made a donation to Kristen’s organization, Mercy House.
Again, I intended to make a donation from our meager bank account.
Then I saw this picture, taken at the Mercy House in Kenya:
These are babies. They aren’t quite as young as they look; they are between 14 and 17.
They’ve lived a lot of life. They’ve suffered a lot. They need help.
I was moved by these girls. I want to help them.
Really, I want to take them in, to hug them and love them and teach them how to be mothers.
That’s exactly what Kristen is doing, using local people and local resources, at Mercy House. She provides prenatal and postpartum care, nutritional counseling, trauma and crisis counseling (since almost all are victims of violent crimes), spiritual studies, basic education, life and home management skills, job skills, and a continuing program to follow up with girls who graduate from the house’s program.
I still gave a donation as planned. It was more than I could reasonably afford, but what my heart was feeling.
I hope you’ll consider making a donation, too. You can also make a purchase from the Mercy House Store. Many of the products are actually made by the girls in the house, and all of the profits from the store go directly to the house and its residents.
No one asked me to write this post, and I have not received anything in exchange for posting. I was just moved to do it.
© 2011 – 2014, Tara Ziegmont. All rights reserved.