BGC Women partner with a 2-3 year mission project that will encourage and support ministry to women in Canada and around the world. We are committed to designating 10% of our income to support this project.
2017 - 2020 Hands Extended to Honduras:
Girl's Prison/Transition Ministry
Our three year project will assist Anna and Gordon MacKenzie in Tegucigalpa, Honduras. As our BGCC missionaries they serve with Manos Extendidas, a mission group well established in Central America. Manos Extendidas regularly visit the prison for girls, ages 12-18, and are developing plans for a transition house with job training.
This is presented as a four part project:
1. Raise money to establish a transition house
2. Send practical resources for ministering to young girls in prision
3. Grow our partnership through ministry project teams
1. Establishment of a transition house
Provide safe, affordable, transitional housing for teen girls coming out of prison, who have made a decision to follow Christ and have demonstrated their desire for a new life upon receiving their freedom.
We believe a firm foundation with Christ is essential for their success in life. The girls will be encouraged to develop spiritually, educationally, emotionally, socially and in areas of self-esteem, self-worth and value. They will work towards becoming self-sufficient as they learn new skills and are mentored by loving adults, serve in the church and gain work experience.
Each girl will meet regularly with a TRANSITION HOME leader to determine a plan of action while they are in jail, upon attaining their freedom and as they begin their new life, to set personal goals, and measure their goals based on agreed upon time frames.
2. Practical resources for ministering to young girls in prison:
There are limited resources or activities available to the girls. When Anna and her team visit throughout the week, they bring in books and the Bible to read, supplies for the girls to make and sell their crafts and balls for games. Your group could supply items to be taken into the prison by the visitors.
- Crafting is therapeutic recreation: most love to draw, paint, design cards, journal, etc
- Craft supplies such as beads and yarn are used to make jewelry and baby items (profits are used to maintain personal items in jail or are given back to their families to buy food)
- Board and card games are enjoyed
- Soccer, badminton and volleyball can be played in the courtyard
Nelly with Brenda the artist: Translation: "To stand before life... We must be on our knees before God"
If you are interested in supplying any of the above, or if you have other ideas, please contact Anna directly to discuss it with her, they minister to approx. 70 girls.
How can we send aid?
- Send parcels with short term mission teams who have a scheduled trip. $50 will cover the additional baggage charges. Gordon can put you in contact with a group or individuals who will be visiting next.
- Mail or courier to Anna MacKenzie as an option is being looked in to but at this point sending with travellers is the best option ….TBA
Special/Time-sensitive (Christmas) Project
Christmas is a hard time for the girls. In the past Manos with the help of donations from others have blessed the girl’s families and the workers of the jail with food baskets. Last year we were able to make up over 80 gift bags. This year our goal is 100.
There is a local church that puts on a Christmas dinner for the families. We want to help out the families and workers so when they go home they have food for the Christmas holidays.
Some of the girls are in jail for stealing (food for families). Christmas is hard for them without their families - and knowing their families have no food compounds their grief.
Become a spiritual parent (penpal) to a girl in prison
Are you willing to write and pray for a girl in prison? Write a note of encouragement, including a Bible verse that is meaningful to you, something about yourself and a picture, and we will partner you with a girl in the prison. Manos Exendidas will translate the letters, and teams will transport the letters to and from Honduras. You can be a part of giving the love and hope of Jesus to girls who need encouragement.
3. Partnership Teams
Chris Newton reports on the team that went down March 17-23, 2018:
Why go on a team?
The purpose was to build relationships with the MacKenzies and with those they serve among. Practically, we accompanied the MacKenzies through their regular visits to two preschools, girl's prison, and street/feeding ministries.
We want to see, learn and experience what God is already doing in Tegucigalpa Honduras through Manos Extendidas and through fellowship with whom God has called to Himself .... the missionaries and nationals to encourage the work, looking for sustainable ways to continue transformational work there. We are all weak and broken 1Corinthians 1: 26-31. It's not just about projects but presence and proximity.
It's about the relationships we build as we go down to learn... the fellowship and encouragement! It's like a reconnaissance mission. ♡ We are working, serving alongside one another with nationals and missionaries and girls in daily activities moving towards long-term sustainable ministry.
It's about God transforming lives in communities. It's not about necessarily what we have to give as a team but to learn to understand and be challenged in our thinking and motivation, humbled by that which fellow believers have in Jesus... operating from their brokenness as Jesus provides His identity/enablement through their gifts and assets moving towards poverty alleviation. We have an incredible opportunity to humbly come alongside the work God is already doing through them by supporting them and engaging with them and journey alongside, accomplishing things we could never do as a short-term group/outsider in such a small window of time there.
We do not want to get lost in the desire to do things, fix things. (tangible constructs evidencing what 'we' accomplished:) but to slow down...create space... fellowship... walk alongside… through the realities, the difficulties/joys of ministry... that which works... and that which doesn’t:) to come alongside in prayer, support and encouragement. Ultimately seeking/discerning how we fit in, long term.
*** Lord willing, we will take a second team down at the close of the project in 2020.
Manos Extendidas hold regular meetings in juvenile prisons (separate prisons for boys and girls). They have started up peer group sessions, English classes & other trades allowed by the government in the jails. The children in here range from 10 to 17 years (with the occasional 18+ that have been forgotten about by the system). With Manos, they are being given a second chance at life outside of gangs. They are getting their education while serving their time and learning trades to establish themselves outside of prison.
Pray that the girls in prison will desire more than what the gangs can provide for them. Pray that the Holy Spirit will use their time in prison to draw them closer to him.
Through generous donations, Manos Extendidas has a contract in place for the building a boy’s transitional home to continue education and skills while living a normal life outside of jail. Manos wants to see these boys given the opportunities for a successful future. There is currently no transitional home for girls, but through ongoing support and donations, they hope to start one as soon as possible. These kids are simply children of impoverished families that could not afford an education and had to rely on gangs to care for them so they could eat, have a place to live, and survive. Speaking with most of the girls & boys there, they wish there was another way, and with the support of Manos Extendidas, many have been able to transition from jail to entrepreneur with their own small shops, salons, and store fronts.
There are currently two possible sights of the girl’s transition house. An older 4-bedroom house and another, with 7-bedroom’s and a gated yard. The March team visited both locations and the second one especially grabbed our hearts. The owner is a believer. She invited us in, we prayed with her and sang songs and it ‘felt right’ to all of us. Negotiations have started on the purchase one of these houses and we continue to pray. Manos is seeking the right couple to be the house parents so the girls will (for many the first time) have a model a godly relationship and positive interactions with a mother and a father figure.
Pray that the Holy Spirit will guide the people of Manos to a home that is large enough to house and have rooms for job skill training the girls coming out of prison, who desire to more forward in life. Pray that godly house parents will be found to live in the transition home.
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There are many more ideas and resources for ministering with Hands Extended to the girls in prison through Anna and Gordon’s ministry please contact Chris Newton firstname.lastname@example.org
Photo album – please do not use these images on Facebook or other public domains w/o permission.
These teams have visited Honduras:
Shelly Tonen, Lifebridge, Dartmouth, Nova Scotia.
In August 2015, I was on a week-long mission trip to Tegucigalpa, Honduras. One of our ministry areas was visits to the girls prison. This is a prison for girls from age 12-18. We were told that some of the girls were in there for gang-related activity which could include anything from drugs to theft to murder. I have to admit that I was expecting to see some very hardened girls that might scare me if I got too close! I was blown away from my first visit. These girls were just young girls craving attention and love. Despite the language barrier, we sat down in the courtyard and one of them indicated that she wanted to paint my nails with some nail polish that we had brought them. It was an activity to break the ice as we started the process of getting to know each other. I saw her beautiful smile when she laughed and could see the little girl inside who had to grow up too fast and never really had the chance to be a little girl. Some others of our group engaged some girls in playing soccer in the prison yard. The next day, we brought little clay animals for them to paint and thread to make friendship bracelets and they loved it. We brought along T-shirts and tie-dye so that they could make their own unique T-shirts. All of these activities served as a means of building relationship, getting to know these girls, giving us a chance to show them the love of God, letting them be girls for an afternoon. On our last day, we decided to play a game with them. We all wrote down our favorite bible verse. Each of the girls took a turn drawing a verse out of the hat, finding the verse in the bible and reading it aloud, and then trying to guess whose favorite verse it was. We had no idea that this little impromptu game would turn out to be such a powerful time as it gave us a chance to share a little testimony as to why that verse was our favorite verse. When we finished, they wanted to play the game in reverse where we had to pick their favorite verses out of a hat.
We ended our last day there by standing in a circle, holding hands and singing worship songs. I can't express the power of that moment. The Holy Spirit was in that place and touching the hearts of everyone in that circle.
|I couldn't stop the tears that were pouring down my face as I prayed for these girls that I had grown to love in just 3 short days. I did not see thieves or murderers - I saw young girls that could just as easily be a student in my high school class or a youth in our church youth group. I believe God gave me the eyes to see them as He sees them. He wants to give them His love, His peace, His joy and His hope for their lives. I was so sad to leave them but so very glad knowing that Anna and Nelly are there to continue being Jesus'|
Because it was a prison facility, we were very limited in the items that we could bring in to the prison and cell phones and cameras were prohibited. However, there was a prison guard there who gave us permission on the last day to take a photo but we could not include any of the girls faces. In this picture, our mission team is standing at the foot of the stairs, and the girls are sitting on the steps so that you just see their backs. But if you look along the railing of the stairs, you can see the tie-dye T-shirts that they had made earlier in the day.