Year in Review

As the new year approaches we find it is the best opportunity to stand in awe and wonder of all that has unfolded in the lives of our girls and women. We are so grateful for growth and all the more we have stepped into as New Hope Girls.

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Thank you for being part of our story, our mission, the heartbeat behind what we do. We are so grateful to celebrate the triumphs amidst the difficulties that are littered within the daily realities we face. We say yes and step into even MORE as 2019 approaches. Please continue to pray for us, walk with us, and support us in whatever way you feel led in the coming year. We couldn’t do it without you.

Joy Reyes
Stepping Into More

This has been the year to look back and remember, one of constant change and growth. We are not exactly sure what is waiting around the corner, but we are certain it is more, and it is big. We feel a call to be brave! And each day is filled with hope of more. 

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We have held many little faces in our hands and whispered words that echo what we know and preach to ourselves... 

 

“I don’t know what’s coming, but it will be good.”

“There is more.”

“You were made for more.”

“God will make you brave.”

“You are not alone.”

 

We are determined to be faithful with what is in our hand. We keep reminding ourselves of where we have come from and this truth that has become our motto- “If you are faithful in little, you will be faithful with much.” We keep marveling in the reality that we now walk in the “much” of the “little” we held in years past and believe that we now stand in the “little” of what tomorrow holds.

 

We started in the barrio. With dirt floors and a treacherous walk up. We started where our girls lived. Above the streets that once named them. We were convinced that our small beginnings would be transformed little by little. Step by step. Through it all we have been growing in our endurance, in our belief that as we put one foot in front of the other we are being faithful to the calling we first received. We have stopped wondering when we’ll get to the top of the mountain, but rather, what else is there for us along the way, what new territory will we encounter, what else will be required of us?

 

We live in this tension. In a place where deep pain is met by true promise. We live on the front lines. As advocates, ambassadors, counselors, mothers. We’re with every girl in their healing. We are determined to see them overcome every wound. Stepping into the trenches, we become acquainted with their scars and every detail of their stories. We are truly convinced of our purpose as we see every one of our girls through their journey of rescue, refuge and restoration. And there are more, so many more. One at a time we reach out to them and bring them close to whisper...

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“I don’t know what’s coming, but it will be good.”

“There is more.”

“You were made for more.”

“God will make you brave.”

“You are not alone.” 

Joy Reyes
Healing Arts

She can paint for hours.

Peace resides

where unsettled anxious, restlessness and

internal chaos normally live.

But when she paints there is

just Peace.

I slid in next to her to bear witness to this truth.

“I notice such a peace as you paint.”

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“When I paint, I can breathe.”

She inhales and exhales as she says it.

I will never forget that moment.  It gave me a new resolve to integrate art more deliberately into our everyday lives.

There is power in art.

Creating beauty

Pure Communication

Raw

Free of words

On the road to healing, finding the words can be so hard, but maybe we can dance it out, act it out, draw it, sculpt it, capture it in a photograph…and then we can share it.  When we are ready.

 

"The transformative power of art is in the sharing"

- Brene Brown


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I am in awe each day with the level of depth and intimacy that can be achieved with some colored pencils, markers, scarves, photographs and music.  I’m not sure why I am so surprised.  I should know by now the power of “simple” when coupled with connection.

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“May the God of green hope fill you up with joy, fill you up with peace, so that your believing lives, filled with the life-giving energy of the Holy Spirit, will brim over with hope!”

Joy Reyes
His Lovingkindness

I had been telling people since January, that I would be in Seattle in July for an art training.   At least I hoped to be.  For years, I had been looking for the opportunity to learn how to use my love of art to help myself and others process and heal.  I knew there was power in creating beauty.  I feel we are made for it.

 

When I finally found an organization that would train lay-practitioners I was so excited.  I knew I would go.  I didn’t know how, but I knew I would go!  After locating the training, I quickly moved onto the next dream of who I would take along.  Who would help me launch art therapy within the walls of New Hope? There were lots of names and different factors excluded some of them, but I finally landed on the perfect fit.  I told them about it and asked them to make room in their schedules. 

 

I mentioned this desire in the last update sent to friends and supporters.  I still had no idea how I would get to that training, but I was certain I was going. 

 

Then, at a gathering, a new friend came up and told me she wanted to help in any way she could.  I told her how much I appreciated how she had already gone above and beyond in her loving support.  I hugged her deeply.  Then she mentioned that if I were ever to make it to her part of the US it would be so fun to connect. 

 

“Where do you live again?” 

“Washington.” 

“Are you close to Seattle?  Because we are going there in July.”

 

She told me that if the training was in the city we would be too far away to stay in her home, “BUT I have a million Marriott points and flight miles for that matter, and if I can help you in this way, I would LOVE to!”

 

I was thrilled at the thought, but I wasn’t going to hold her to it… then she wrote me. 

 

She was able to book our tickets and help pay for the hotel.  Oh, and first class was cheaper—Go God!  I applied for a scholarship for those attending.  We got it!  It was all falling into place.  I ran up and down the stairs, shaking my hands at the ceiling in gratitude, jumped up and down a few times and then literally did a happy dance before writing her to say THANK YOU! 

 

Her response-- “May the wonder of this adventure fill your cup!!!” 

Joy Reyes
Pursued

A new girl arrived on Friday.  She ran away on Sunday.  She ran right back into the darkness she had been rescued from.  She ran into the arms of those who had betrayed her, sold her.

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I have become really slow to judge over the years, and as I thought about this girl I chose to remember the times in my life I have run into the darkness.  

 

Afraid to hope.

Afraid to be seen.

Afraid.

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At an event recently, they sang this song…

 

Oh, the overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love of God

Oh, it chases me down, fights 'til I'm found, leaves the ninety-nine

I couldn't earn it, and I don't deserve it, still You give Yourself away

Oh, the overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love of Go

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Sometimes the unknown of what we might find in the light keeps us in the dark.

 

The fear of failing.

The fear of being known.

Fear keeps us in the darkness.

 

I began to pray for the opportunity to share this reckless, pursuing love of God with those around me and I heard the spirit whisper…

 

“You have to receive it first.” 

Before we can love with a reckless, pursuing love

--we have to receive it. 

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Lord may we be overwhelmed by your Love.

Love so fierce there can be no fear.

May we never long for the darkness we’ve been rescued from.

May we run toward the light.

 

But may we never forget that you found us in the darkness once

and if we find ourselves there again,

You will be faithful to go there with us.  

Joy Reyes
The Way of Compassion

There are stories that break your heart, that break you!  There are images that are too vivid, evil, dark and painful to get out of your head.  People ask me how we do it.  How do we manage all the pain without letting it get to us? 

 

The truth is that we don’t always handle it well.  We let the pain get to us.  We carry their burdens with them.  We cry deeply and we enter in.  All the way in. 

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Our mentor,

Jesus.

He entered in

All the way in

He loved deeply

Suffered deeply

He is compassion

 

Com—with

Passion—suffering

 

He let it get to him.

Move him

He reached down

His strength came from being connected to

Heavenly father

 



Joy Reyes
Stretched

As a child, the highlights and growth spurts in my spiritual life took place at camp, so now I take advantage of every opportunity I have to provide a camp experience for our children and girls.  This year, while many were enjoying Spring Break vacations, our older kids were experiencing a survival camp in the mountains hosted by YWAM (Youth With A Mission).

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A few years back, my daughter, Helina, along with New Hope intern, Corinne, participated in this camp and it was such an amazing experience that they wanted our girls to have it as well.  This year Helina went as a leader and was able to be a fly on the wall, watching each group challenge and bearing witness to much personal growth in each participant. 

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There is something about being pushed beyond what you think you can possibly do, taking you past your limits, allowing you to discover where your strength comes from and how strong you really are. 

I wondered if a few of them would talk to me or look me in the eye when it was over, as I knew it would stretch some even more than others. Being stretched can be more than frustrating. It can make you mad! 

Another special dynamic about this trip is that it always takes place during holy week --the week that stretched Jesus to the point of sweating blood.  The hardest week in history.  

Jesus is always our example to follow and if we choose to walk with Him in His resurrection we too will be called to times of stretching, suffering, death.


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They were so excited to go.  Excited to buy the equipment.  Excited to be going on an adventure for the week.  But they had NO clue what they were getting into.  Lol!  Do we ever truly know what we are getting ourselves into? 

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And yet God uses our excitement,

our initiative,

our obedience,

and He fills us with His power, strength and perfect peace. 

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By the way, they all did talk to me and look me in the eye upon their return.  Some confessed they had never been so happy to see Vidal and Grieci as they picked them up!  They were thrilled to have had the chance to learn how strong they are and how faithful God is! We are already looking forward to next year and praying about some of them returning as leaders. 

May God continue to open doors of opportunities to be stretched and grow into our best selves!

Joy Reyes
Loving Well
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The girls gathered around the 2018 calendar as I hung it up on January 1st and began to add the dates from my own crisp new planner.  It’s fun to see the all the months at the same time.  Every birthday and vacation and visitor is added as we learn of them, and knowing what’s coming makes the girls extremely happy!  They love to be in the “know”!

Looking at the events in the month of January, a newer girl read out loud with terror in her voice, “Dental team with Dr. Dave and Mr. Tom!”  I continued to write without even looking behind me and lightheartedly added, “Dr. Dave is the best, only the best for you!” 

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Then the other girls began to add….

“Yea, he’s the best”

“He’s so nice”

“It doesn’t hurt”

“I mean you can cry, but he won’t make you cry.”

 

That last phrase killed me.  I almost dropped my pen.  That is the kid definition of safety…

 

“You can cry, but he won’t make you cry.”

 

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In the past ALL our girls were terrified of the dentist.  Getting dental care was traumatic, and not only for the girls. The caregivers felt their pain and cried tears of compassion with them as they winced, screamed and wiggled with tight lips and clenched fists. Many left the dental chair without ever receiving care.  Their fear simply wouldn’t allow it. 

 

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Over the past couple years, the dental team with Barnabas Task has worked to build relationships and trust among our girls.  They hold hands, say prayers, cry compassionate tears and always tell the truth. That’s empowering!  They love well.

 

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And what we know for sure is that “Loving well extinguishes Fear!” 

 

To this team: we are so grateful for you and your compassionate servants who are not only healing teeth and gums, but removing infection that, if left untreated, can snuff out a life.

 

Love snuffs out fear. Love always wins. 

 

Joy Reyes
A look back at 2017
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There is no way to capture a year in a snapshot, a bullet list, a 8.5X11 piece of paper and each year as I am faced with the task of doing so, I am in awe of how much has really happened and how difficult it is to nutshell.  

God has been so good.  

YOU are amazing!  

This work is special and significant and we will never stop trying to remember,

to look back,

to count our blessings

and to live with a heart of gratitude.  

So here is to another year, We are full of gratitude and hope!  We are dreaming big and we can't wait to share it with you!

Joy Reyes
A Reason to Celebrate

There are layers of pain.  Many complicated layers.  There is an oppression that permeates every aspect of the lives that are affected by it. Children who have been victims of great trauma are filled with fear and operate out of a place of fear almost always! 

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There is only one cure. 

Love!  

Love covers a multitude of past failures,

traumatic experiences, and

truly erases fear. 

Seems simple and it is,

but what does that look like? 

How do we do it? 

Who has the strength and energy for

Wild Love

in the middle of extreme darkness? 

 

We have learned a few things in our years of service.  

The first thing is that we don’t know very much AND

that all our best ideas and solutions are born in prayer. 

 

We’ve also learned to celebrate things that should be normal but aren’t -

like sleeping through the night,

regular meals,

giggles, hugs,

“please” and “thank you,”

“I’m sorry,”

telling the truth,

taking turns, sharing,

a soft answer,

moments of quiet,

and the ability to give a gift and receive one.

Each one of these are miracles that must be celebrated!

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So when the girls decided to make a birthday party the moment they learned their newest sister had never had one…I melted. 

 

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Most every one of them had their first cake in our house. Many didn’t have a birthdate, and one little girl didn’t even have a name when she arrived.

 

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They made the decorations. 

Purchased candy with their snack money. 

Created gifts and hand written cards.

 

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This is the big stuff. 

This was empathy, compassion, initiative, kindness. 

This was LOVE!

 

I knew that if they were stepping out in love,

it was because they knew what it looked like

that they had received enough and healed enough to be ready to give. 

 

New Hope was founded on the idea of dreaming big dreams for our girls. 

The biggest dream we have for them is

that they would Love God AND

love others well! 

 

Evidence of this is true reason to celebrate!

Joy Reyes