TRANSFORM a life? In 5 minutes?
Highly unlikely under normal circumstances — but there’s nothing “normal” about these circumstances.
Let me tell you a story . . .
They began life as little girls living in poverty; a reality which, by itself, does not equate with a bad home life. But these little girls weren’t just poor. They were abused, exploited, abandoned.
They were children for only a very short time before their innocence was lost.
By their 12th birthdays, many of them were prostituted—often by their own parents. Drugs, alcohol, and theft were their norm. Exposure to murder wasn’t unheard of.
they are cycle breakers of poverty and neglect. Contributing members of society.
Caring, compassionate wives and mothers
How can that be?
All of these young women had the good fortune to be sent by the court system to Hope Unlimited for Children. There they not only received food, clothing, and shelter . . . but also an education and job skills. They experienced stability, most for the very first time. They discovered what it means to be “family”. They learned about unconditional love.
And on a special day each year—while opening dozens of Valentines sent by people just like you and me—they learned about healthy womanhood, self-esteem, and purity.
They learned that their past does not have to dictate their future.
These precious young women live in Brazil. Since 2007 when my Renaissance Man became president of Hope Unlimited for Children, I’ve had the privilege of meeting them, hearing their stories, and rocking their babies. We’ve shared meals, laughter, worship and tears.
As women, our pasts may not get to dictate our futures, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy to overcome the past. The young women I’m thinking of today had much to overcome.
Some were afraid to become mothers for fear they wouldn’t know how to parent—for fear they would unwillingly model the unhealthy choices they saw in their earliest years. Another agonized over what should have been a beautiful bonding experience with her baby; each time she nursed her firstborn, she battled memories of childhood abuse.
Last weekend, I saw pictures of several new “Hope” babies, some with their smiling parents and curious siblings. I saw a new generation who, thankfully, will experience childhood as it was meant to be. Their path is vastly different from that of their parents because the cycle has been broken.
The pictures reminded me: Hope’s mission is being successfully achieved.
Transforming the lives of children at mortal risk, providing them and their future generations a productive future and eternal hope.
But the job isn’t finished. There are still young girls at Hope. Still cycles waiting to be broken. There are still lives to be transformed.
And you can help. This year, as you make Valentines for friends and family, make an extra one—or ten—for my young friends in Brazil.
Your cards can be store-bought or handmade. Crafted or computer printed. Large or small. They can be adult calligraphy or a child’s scribbles. They can include a brief note or a LOVEly epistle. (We’ll translate for you.)
In other words, there are no design guidelines!
Between today and April 1 (because Brazil’s Day of Love isn’t until June), send your cards to:
Hope Unlimited for Children
P O Box 100
Jefferson City, TN 37760
Your 5-minute investment in a young girl’s life will be time well spent. I promise.
By the way, this makes a great project for families, civic groups, church groups, school classes. But please don’t be tempted to think this is a “girls” project. The guys in my life know how to cry over exploited little girls, and they’re more than happy to make a Valentine. I suspect your guys might feel the same if you tell them.
To read more about Hope’s Valentine Project—and more stories of girls who received the cards—see a few on my sidebar . . . or see them all HERE. Get ready to be inspired!
Will you join me? Please leave a comment and tell me you’re in!
And please share this post on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter — and email to your friends.
Let’s spread some LOVE this Valentine’s Day!
On behalf of the girls . . . Thank you very much.