The plight of women and children here in Mexico and specifically where we live in the Puebla/Cholula area breaks my heart.
Yesterday alone I was approached in my vehicle by 3 women and 4 children (under about the age of 8). One woman was about 8 months pregnant with three beautiful brown snotty-nosed children trailing her through traffic as she sold small handbags and chewing gum. Most likely she has more children at home and her husband is an alcoholic who beats her. Perhaps he has three other wives and their children he does not support. Maybe not, but that is how it goes here for so many women.
Another woman, thin and weary-looking, carried a sleeping child in her arms while she held up a doctor’s script, trying to get donations to purchase medicine. And yet another woman with heavy eye-liner pounded on my window to hand out an advertisement for the local porn night-club. A boy dressed in pressed slacks and a collared shirt about the age of my 2nd grade son tried to hand me a business card to a local store for a discount on exotic sex toys. The other children were dodging traffic to sell flowers, fly swatters and and fresh-squeezed orange juice. The children may or may not have a home and a family. I kept driving, stopping at the red lights and distracting my 4-year old daughter from looking out the window to see rows of Playboy magazine displayed for sale on the grassy median.
Can you imagine your children out in the streets?
Or your pregnant daughter selling gum by knocking on car windows?
Many of these “stories” are not “legit” and others are; there is little way of knowing as you drive through the streets. It has all become our daily norm and most people become immune to the sights, just part of the local landscape.
Recent stats in Puebla state that 283,236 children between the ages of 5 and 17 work. Some 106,295 of them do not attend school. These children and their mamas who are out working in the streets in this urban area and then more so in the rural areas are open targets for human-trafficking.
There is a “hotel” I pass often with high brown metal gates and castle-like towers in which late at night or in the early morning hours van-loads of women and children are brought in, assumed to be forced into slavery. It is a known and accepted fact, even to the police. But nothing is done.
I weep. And sometimes I pull over near it in an inconspicuous place and pray so loud the windows in my Pilot almost rattle. There are times when our prayers are like a soft wind, a weeping prophet or a tenacious bulldog. This gringo cannot storm the gates, but the armies of heaven can.
It was publicized that Mexico finally passed human-rights laws to protect women and children. Yet, bribes prevail and apathy ensues. The Government of Mexico does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it “says” it is making significant efforts to do so.
I spent time with a woman Monday night whom has worked for the last 20 years with her family in the villages rescuing women and children. She is a mother and a wife, just one year my elder. Her stories were horrific. Last week she had to take a 9-month old baby girl in for a hysterectomy as she had been so badly damaged by rape since her birth.
Yes, go ahead and vomit. I nearly did.
But then get on your knees with me.
Oh church, would you please walk away from all that distracts you and competes for your time and all your pettiness and get into your prayer closets? Turn off your TVs and movies that mock the beauty of human sexuality and the covenant of marriage. Women, stop flaunting yourselves and wearing bikinis and see-through blouses in front of your teenage sons. Save it for the bedroom. Throw out your Victoria Secret magazines.
Call a spade a spade. You are called to live holy lives. Holy. Pure. Intentional. Disciples. Grateful for the gospel of Jesus Christ that declares you are more sinful than you could ever imagine, yet more loved than you dare to hope.
And you want to change the world you say? Then pray.
I am convinced that history belongs to the intercessors.
This woman I spoke with, begged me with tears in her eyes to pray. I hope to visit her and these rescued women and children (who often deny anything has been done to them though the damage and evidence is obvious) and pray over them, for this obscene mess of sin takes the power of a Savior. It is too big for me and you.
Yes, the more I live and the more I see, the more I am compelled to believe that prayer and living out of a prayerful life is the only real thing that changes the world.
I have been studying more about prayer and I see that God has indicated His desire to release His power in our world when we request it from His throne. Jesus taught us how to pray when He said: “Our father who is in heaven, holy is Your name.” Then He gave is the “partnership phrase” as key: “Your kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” God has basically said, “What you ask Me to do as we partner on earth, I’ll answer with My love, My power, My wisdom and in My time with all the force of heaven’s throne engaging whom and what you ask Me to engage.” 1
There is little time to dance around this theologically and debate together about the sovereignty of God and the place of prayer and such. I have spent years trying to work through all of that and I have no pat answers. But what I do know is God works through the prayers of His people and this He has ordained. I am walking in the prayers of intercessors here and right now before the throne. Most likely, so are you.
Most Christians I have met do not take this seriously; they prayer-whine or pansy pray or tag on to everything as if a disclaimer, “if it be thy will” or run ahead and make their plans and programs. I spent my time doing this and then confessed it as sin.
You see, when we pray as individuals and corporately, when we seek His face in Scripture and when we worship, we WILL pray according to His will, for we WILL come to know His heart! And He will throw up His arms in relief that we have finally ceased to be afraid of presumption. We have learned to discern His heart and taken Him at His word to come boldly in His presence, in awe at His mighty power and holiness. Taking up our place as intercessors, we are covered by the blood of Jesus and empowered by the Spirit.
Can I get an “amen”? Let it be so.
Ask and you shall receive. Seek and you shall find. Knock and the door will be opened to you. He has sent us as His representatives, His redeemed image-bearers to set the captives free. That means we have to take notice of the captives and what it is that binds them. The root is often hopelessness. Which goes far, far back to the garden where the first relationships were broken and the DNA of the sin-seed began to be transmitted.
Only by prayer can those shackles begin to loosen and the Spirit of the Almighty breathe in hope. And if you have one ounce of disdain, a critical spirit, a tinge of unforgiveness, or a belief that your prayers are not effectual then let the Spirit deal with you or your prayers do not come from a heart that speaks truth (Psalm 15). God cannot hear you when you cherish sin in your heart.
I am pleading with you that you invoke the name of Jesus with me for the women and children here in Puebla/Cholula and the surrounding villages. Through intentional intercession, take your role on the earth-side and God will answer with His works and His wisdom from His heaven-side throne.
Let it never be said that for the sake of the thousands of women and children He so loves that we never took our place this side of heaven.