“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the sun,” taught the Qoheleth. True that. As I sit with my second cup of coffee this morning (okay, and third) and consider this past year, it seems 2023 may have been a time for not quite EVERYthing for Tamar’s Hope, but certainly a LOT of things. And my heart is just so dang grateful.
In January, Natalie and I found ourselves down to just the pair of us in this mission to love on sex workers here in Guatemala City. Then one by one, others joined efforts with TH through delivering coffees to women on La Linea, sewing workshops, hairdressing, fixing meals, product marketing and just being all kinds of serving. Last week we went out for a Christmas celebration with a team that has grown by six fabulous part-time staff and volunteers!
Iglesia Vida just marked their one year anniversary of hosting weekly worship services at La Puerta, the TH centre on La Linea. They’ve called it a “mercy campus” in their network of other church congregations as this one is uniquely for former and current working women. It’s another dream come true to see the building being used by other local partners with the same heart to serve these ladies.
Obstacles including a pandemic and lack of staff delayed the launch of our mobile ministry centre, but 2023 was finally the year we dispatched our converted school bus onto the road. Every Wednesday we park her in the middle of La Terminal, another cluster of prostitution in the city, and invite the women there to eat and chill out with us. And they do. By the dozens. It’s been brilliant to get to know yet more ladies and help them imagine new and different futures.
Then just last week, city hall decided to delight us with issuing the building license to continue construction on La Puerta. After 559 days of a bureaucratic dance with multiple government agencies, stacks upon stacks of papers and dozens of signatures, I can’t tell you what a triumph that felt. We put a large bow on said document and carefully placed it under the tree. Merry Christmas to Tamar’s Hope it was indeed!
In this final week of the year, I’m feeling my happy heart – for all the growth and expanded opportunities, and also for the many people alongside TH who make it all possible. Our sincerest THANK YOU goes out to each and every one of our supporters in this work.
We look forward to yet more and new good activities under the sun in 2024 and pray it will also be a time for including more financial partners. Overall donations for 2023 were down by 35% compared to the previous couple years, and we’re stepping into January with trending low coffers.
If you’re not yet part of this fantastic team of TH supporters, well hey, you’re invited! And all are also welcome to spread the word to any friends and family you know would love to “help sexually exploited women in Guatemala regain dignity and wholeness.” More resources are needed to pay our staff (who have come out of prostitution themselves), expand the outreach with the bus, offer more education bursaries as our reach extends to more and more women, and to complete the next phases of the construction project.
It’s a good time.