by Kristen Welch, Founder
Her daughter got pregnant at 14.
“She was in the sixth grade,” she tells me.
She wasn’t promiscuous or disobedient; she was desperate. I didn’t ask what it was like to let your little girl sleep with old men for food because the tears rolling down her cheeks was answer enough.
Her pregnant daughter is now a young momma, rescued and thriving at the maternity home in Kenya, supported by Mercy House Global.
Our family started the non-profit more than 7 years ago for survival prostitutes, for girls just like this daughter.
I sat in this mother’s home a couple of months ago in Kenya, with my 14 year old next to me and I could barely breathe. My family crowded into a space smaller than our bathroom at home and we squinted in the dark to find a place to sit.
When our eyes adjusted to the light, we cringed as bedbugs crawled all over us.
This momma told me how her son was still owned by a neighbor down the sewage-littered road in the slum. He works all day and most nights—not for money, but for food.
I wondered if she knew we call this slavery.
She told us how she boiled corn and tried to provide for her seven children after her drunkard husband ran off, but month after month she came up short and had to make desperate decisions to keep her family fed.
I didn’t know what to say or what to do, but I knew that we had to do something or her daughter and grandchild would never be able to come home.
I won’t lie; as I scratched my crawling skin in the stifling heat and could still feel the glares of men staring down my daughters as we walked to her house, I couldn’t wait to leave her home. I didn’t feel brave at all and longed to return to my normal.
But as soon as I thought it, I heard the words thunder in my heart: This is her normal.
I closed my eyes and silent tears slid down my cheeks. My God, this is 75% of the world’s normal.
It’s a truth that’s easy to avoid: a small percentage of us have most of the world’s resources to last a life time, while a large percentage of the world don’t have enough for one day.
It’s so easy to get absorbed in our own little world that we completely miss the way the rest of the world lives.
And I can say it because that’s what I did for a very long time. But I dare you, I beg you to here this truth:
your normal isn’t the world’s normal and the greatest deception is that you believe that it is.
This way of life is normal for millions and millions of people.
Before we left that house, I pulled out my phone to show her pictures I’d taken of her daughter and granddaughter at the maternity home the day before. She tenderly touched the screen and wiped her eyes, her pride was evident.
Then I showed her this picture of her granddaughter and I couldn’t stop the tears then.
You see, her granddaughter was named Kristen after me. Baby Kristen made Agnes and I family forever.
I grabbed this moms hands and I squeezed them tight and I whispered in her ear, You are not forgotten. You are valuable. You are priceless.
We left her home and found a place to shake out our clothes and we cried over lunch with the heaviness of the world’s normal.
We already offer small business and parenting training but our small team racked our brains on taking the next steps to provide new jobs and a central workspace for the desperate mothers we had visited that morning.
Teachers and a work space had been hired before our plane landed on US soil. And we worked backwards to figure out a way to buy looms and kilns and ask God to provide one more time.
And although Ann wouldn’t want you to know this, she texted me in a dark moment when my faith wavered and said:
“We would like to provide looms and kilns for women you are working with. God doesn’t call us to a convenient life—He calls us to an important life…
We aren’t meant for self-gratification, but eternal greatness…and greatness is giving our lives away. Thank you for giving us a chance to serve with you, Kristen. Maybe someday I can sit at some looms and by some kilns—and hear how God has made miracles happen—and we will tell those stories, sister.”
I wish you could have seen the look on this mom’s face when we told her she had a job and would begin learning how to make ceramic beads.
It was priceless.
And that’s why we are inviting you into her story and women just like her because when we give our lives away, we are given unspeakable joy.
Every woman everywhere deserves to know that she is loved and valued by the God who created her.
She is priceless like a treasured pearl.
She isn’t a commodity to be bought and sold, but she has been paid for by the precious blood of Jesus.
Tell her she is priceless. It’s the goal of the dozens and dozens of ministries we work with who work to remind women of this truth.
We are joining our hands around the world and raising money for 8 non-profits who exist to empower women in oppression and poverty with She Is Priceless, a Global Giving Day.
We are donning our pearls (#putonyourpearls), taking selfless selfies, giving sacrificially and standing up to say we see these injustices, these desperate women who are begging God for provision so they don’t have to make desperate decisions.
Will you give to one of the organizations we are partnering with–working in hard places, with the most vulnerable?
Will you please join with us today and boldly declare with your time and resources we see you and we are here to say, you are not alone. He is with you.
Because women around the world–including you–are priceless.