First Person: Praying Esperanza finds true Hope

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2021 Summer Sojourner Emma Robinson leads a Bible study ministering to women in sex work.

2021 student missionary Emma Robinson leads a Bible study ministering to women in sex work.

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Editor’s note: In June and July 2021, four summer student missionaries served at the Touch of Life Foundation in the Colombian Andean town Bucaramanga. At this facility, Venezuelan refugees had an opportunity for a shower, clean clothing when available, a small breakfast, a Bible story and a listening ear. The students also worked in prayer outreach, women’s ministry and a sewing ministry.  Twice weekly, the young women held evening meetings when those involved in sex work were invited to come worship, listen to a message and share a meal together. This was one of Courtney Mobbs’ favorite times serving at the Foundation. She tells the story of Esperanza*: 

The first time I met Esperanza, it was my turn to share the message at our women’s meetings. The previous several days had been extremely discouraging. Few refugees had come to the foundation, and I was struggling to see my purpose for being there. However, I had prepared a message from Psalm 22, a passage of raw emotion that has been God’s comfort to me for the past several months. The hour came for our meeting and not a single soul was there. I was so disappointed. I sat down before the Lord and helplessly asked Him to bring people. I had done my part in preparing and was completely reliant on Him to bring souls to hear His Word.

To my great joy, about 10 minutes later people started pouring in, and soon we had 13 women who had come to worship. God was so kind to remind me that He is sovereign over all things and yet He also gives me a purpose.

After the meeting ended, Esperanza came up to me, introduced herself and shared with me how grateful she was for what I was doing. She explained to me how encouraged she was by the words shared from the Scripture and by our ministry to women like herself. In the coming weeks, Esperanza came to almost all of our meetings. We could not talk for long afterwards due to COVID-19 restrictions, but Esperanza often shared with us her immense joy and gratitude.

We came to our last week in Colombia. As much as we had enjoyed worshiping together, the time had come to say goodbye. When I told Esperanza that we were leaving, tears sprang to her eyes. She shared with us how much she had been encouraged by our meetings, how she had felt loved and seen by us, and how much she would miss us. I was speechless.

The Lord revealed to me through Esperanza just how big an impact we had. Esperanza left that night with tear streaks on her face but holding on to the truth that God was going to be with her still, through every circumstance. She had a trust in God that gave her strength to continue on. The Lord had revealed to me that I did have a purpose in serving, and I was making an impact, at least in Esperanza’s life. And that was enough.

*Esperanza means Hope. Please pray that Esperanza puts all her faith in the only Hope.

Courtney Mobbs served as an IMB summer missionary in Colombia.

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