Skip to main content

Whisper in the Night

She came to our home after dark. She didn’t know where else to go and so she timidly applauded at the door. I answered the door and I saw a thin frame behind the night's shadows. Her weak voice made me instantly aware there was a problem. “Simone?”

“Si,” she whispered, almost embarrassed.

I asked her to come in and tell me what was going on. She was shaking as she told me that her husband and beat her because she had bought a small bottle of coke to drink with her daughter. She asked if she could stay the night, because he was surely still raging. It was the fourth time this year that he’d laid his hands on her delicate body. She was filthy and it tooked like she hadn’t showered in a week. She has no tooth in front; she’s been toothless ever since we met three years ago. Now, her protruding feature wasn’t her missing tooth, it was her black eye.

Her husband and mine work out together and are on the same adventure racing team. She thought of us because we’ve showed them kindness in the past. She hadn't eaten since lunch, so we gave her some food and clean clothes for a shower. We listened to her, prayed with her and told her we’d help. Our house is very small and we don’t have a guest room, however we pulled out our old futon and she crashed instantly to sleep. Suddenly my house size didn’t matter. What mattered is that she was in a safe place.

My heart breaks for the many abused women who suffer in silent shame. A newcomer to our church was killed four years ago by her brutally violent husband. She confided in a few other women that she believed he would kill her, but no one did anything. She came to seek help and we failed her. I vowed I’d never let that happen again.

In Paraguay these women have no place to go. They are whispering in the night and no one is listening. I plan to change that. I don’t know where or when, but I believe God will guide and provide a safe haven for women with no hope. Lord willing, I can be a link to help fill that need for the thousands of Simone’s out there.

“Jesus, give us compassion to reach out to women who are broken, beaten and downcast. Show us how we can serve those without a voice...the street children, the poor, orphans, and women. Wipe away their tears and wrap your loving arms around them. Fill them with courage to speak out and help the Church to stand up to end the injustices against the oppressed. Your word tells us that, ‘the Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit,’ and I thank you for that promise. Please draw Simone unto yourself, Father. May she cling to you and may she always feel safe in your grip. Please break the violent cycle that her husband, who saw his father abusing his mother, is passing on to his two sons. Help us to hear the whisper in the night.” Amen.


Popular posts from this blog

Christmas in Paraguay!

If you're wondering what Paraguayans do at Christmastime, they have some great traditions, including the "noche buena" meal on Christmas Eve at midnight.  They eat lots chipa guasu (a type of corn casserole, stay tuned for a recipe), asado or grilled meat (some eat it cold), salads, especially fruit salad, watermelon and drink mucho terere.

Families travel from all over the country, many even return from working in other countries like Brazil, Argentina, and Spain, to celebrate with loved ones. This is us at last year's Kurrle celebration in Asuncion. Festivities are anything but a silent night with fireworks, loud music and drinking cidra (hard cider). 

Most Paraguayans do not decorate Christmas trees (we decorate ours in shorts!) or emphasize Santa Claus.  Instead, they put beautiful nativities "pesebres" in their yards and in store fronts.  Kind of novel to focus on Christ at Christmas, isn't it!

To beat the heat, many Paraguayans go to a river to rel…

The Genesis of my story in Paraguay: Part 2

In Part 1, I shared how my first move to Paraguay was at age 5. At that time I was a minor, following my parents around. But my second move to Paraguay was at age 25 when after college, I—or better said, we—decided to move back to Paraguay. This time, the Genesis was a letter inviting us to help pioneer a new radio station there.

At the time I had just gotten married to my college sweetheart Julie. We were both enrolled in seminary, enjoying just being married and going to school. Among our hobbies at the time was traveling the U.S. and to any country that we had the funds to go to. During those days, we began running seriously and trained for our first marathons and adventure race. Our first marathon was the Flying Pig marathon in Cincinnati, Ohio. Julie and I finished together in what I thought was a pretty good time of 4 hours, 12 minutes.

One day, a letter in our mailbox got us thinking about plans beyond graduation. The letter was from Walter Franz, inviting us to help establis…

Paraguayan Weddings

On Valentine’s Day, we had the joy of attending the wedding of Sandra and Anastacio, young leaders in the church. Sandra is my assistant with Children of Promise and Anastacio, apart from his carpentry job, has a popular youth-focused radio program every night at 8:00 on our station.

We’ve been to quite a few weddings, and these are some of the uniquenesses of southern Paraguayan wedding celebrations from our North American culture:

1. Nothing is fancy. Emphasis is placed on the act of marriage and not on the decorations or food.
2. It is not an expectation that parents help pay for expenses. Most families just make it each month with regular expenses and cannot afford to pay for eleborate feasts. Most couples have to spend months saving for their own wedding.
3. Borrow as much as possible. Many times wedding dresses are borrowed 5-10 times, because few women can afford their own. Flowers, decorations, shoes and ties (Norb loans out his ties often...since he never wears them!) are …