By Emma Rivero with Kristin Coté
The teen moms’ group is a relatively new idea for us in Mission TEC Care Centre. We are only in the second year of running this program. We started the program as various ladies in the mission have seen members of the youth club get pregnant prematurely and have their worlds turn upside down with the arrival of a new baby. Many of the girls are single moms and don’t have the stability of a partner to help them in the transition of becoming a new mom. All of the girls have ended up leaving education, not finishing high school, and they now face a future with little or no prospects. Rarely do they find work as there is no one to look after their babies. Many have little or no self-esteem or self-worth. We as a group of women at TEC have had a desire to work with these girls and encourage them; help educate them; mentor them as fellow moms and give them a place where they are safe and can learn how to better parent their children.
Our program includes teaching on first aid, nutrition, fitness and wellbeing, budgeting and planning for the home as well as sharing something of the word of God every time they come. We have been blessed by enough resources to be able to send each young mom home with clothes for their children, a first aid kit, and a variety of little gifts throughout the year. We have also taken a trip to the swimming pool. The team of ladies hosting the group prepare healthy snacks. We started slowly with one meeting a month, but at the end of the year, they requested to have it more frequently and we currently hold meetings twice a month. Often times 3 or 4 show up each time, but in all, there are 13 young ladies on our list. The ideas we present are counter-cultural to what they’ve always known, so just being present for whenever they’re willing to come and hear takes perseverance. Young women are starting to hear the truth of the gospel and we pray that they would come to know and love the Lord Jesus, that they would become His witnesses and would in turn cause others to know and love him too, especially their children!
Here is one of the stories of God’s victory by His grace in the life of one of our moms and her baby boy. It began for us when one of the Care Center teachers took a KAI January intern along with a service team member for some routine home visits in the community. They encountered a malnourished baby only a few weeks old on the same day that the mother would run out of formula for her baby (health complications prevent her from feeding the baby herself). We were able to provide quality formula, much too expensive for the mom to afford, in order to establish some proper nutrition at this critical time. During a follow-up visit a few weeks later, the Care Center teacher delivered life-saving advice for the mom related to a very dangerous unrelated treatment she was unknowingly applying to the baby. Now this very young teenage mother and baby have begun attending the young moms’ group regularly, and we rejoice to hold a healthier baby and see a young lady growing and supported in her role as this baby’s mother.