What an incredible day! The team split into 3 groups and headed out to local high schools to teach Moldovan teenagers. Our group - Michelle, Prudence, and myself were paired with a man named Peter who is a social worker and spends his time educating youth about trafficking, domestic violence, pregnancy, professional goals and much more. He is on staff at BoL, and has managed to cultivate relationships with the high schools to the extent that he is invited in on a regular basis to teach about these very important social issues. We sat in and taught during 6 different classes. The grade levels varied with each class as did the personalities and attitudes of the children. Moldovan teenagers are not very different from American teenagers, in fact they are very much alike in many ways.
Peter did not incredible job with his presentation and Q&A about the treatment of women in a marriage relationship. The kids are bright and articulate, and had a lot to say. For example, one of the questions Peter asked was if a woman provokes a man enough, is it okay for that man to hit her? Most of the kids answered 50/50. They said that yes a woman can provoke a man enough to get to that point, but it's still not okay for the man to hit her. Peter also asked by a show of hands how many kids in the class had father's who showed love and affection toward their mother's. Some raised their hands and other's did not. Peter kept emphasizing the role of the man and how it is the responsibility of the man to love his wife no matter what. I love that! He also addressed the one's whose parents are divorced and told them that the divorce is not their fault, and they should never blame themselves for that.
After each presentation he gave, we got to address the class and speak on different issues, tell them about ourselves and what we do in America. I talked about my job, the ministry I'm involved with, and life in Las Vegas which seemed to excite and intrigue them.......probably from all the movies and videos they see. I explained that living in America doesn't mean that we do not have problems or that we are all rich......because that is the impression of most here in Moldova especially the youth. We each had something to share and boy did they have a lot of questions! The program that Peter has created and has brought into the schools is to teach prevention. A lot of these kids who have dreams of going abroad end up accepting job offers which lead them into trafficking. Praise God for men like Peter!!
After we left the schools, we headed back to the restoration home to spend some more time with the girls. We split up 3 ways and did art journaling, crocheting, and self defense. I stayed with my room mate Michelle who taught the girls self defense....which by the way is something unheard of in Moldova for women. When she spoke and explained the concept of self defense it was completely foreign to them. As she continued with the help of an interpreter, I started seeing the eyes of each girl light up like a Christmas tree! It was incredible.....I was trying to imagine what they were thinking....is this really possible? Can I being a girl really defend myself? and it's okay? Wow! After Michelle explained the fundamentals, she began to demonstrate different techniques on how to protect and defend yourself if the need arises. She initially used one of our other team members as her "dummy" to demonstrate....but then.....she asked for volunteers from the group of girls in the class. Slowly and with a little coaxing they started to step up. As I watched them learning the moves and techniques, and learn how to roll a proper fist and punch, I was overcome with emotion from the empowerment I saw in their eyes and the excitement that flowed out from each girl to realize that it's okay to defend yourself and fight back if someone is trying to hurt you. One word to describe it: INCREDIBLE! After that there was no stopping them :) I sat and watched overcome by emotion and my tears just flowed. These girls have always been victims and have never been taught that protecting yourself was okay.
Needless to say the day ended with a bang, and some barriers were broken and some hearts became more receptive to the strangers in their house.
Stay tuned for day 4........... www.hopechest.org