Reflections of our first day in Abidjan by Colleen Shoemaker

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Colleen writes…

Yesterday was such a full day, full of warm hearts, overwhelming stories and heat. So many new images in my mind. So many new realities to consider.

I had trouble sleeping last night as the women and men who courageously shared their stories marched through my head. They came to the office to share how Project Hannah’s (PH) Women of Hope program has made a difference in their lives. Each one of them had been despair when they heard the radio program and cried out to the PH team for help.

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One woman stoically shared how she had searched in vain for healing, many times from men of God who took advantage of her situation. One young mom who was trying to be obedient to the Lord while all those around, including Christians, were telling her to do otherwise. One young man who called out from prison, where he’d already been for a year without knowing the charge. One man who was so far in debt he saw no way out and was despondent.

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Okay – that was just yesterday morning. See why I had trouble sleeping last night? My mind was just full of the day.

It’s easy to sit in my office and lose sight of the impact of Project Hannah. Yet, after yesterday, there is no doubt in my mind. Project Hannah is God’s and He is using it to change hearts for His glory. He is reaching down to the brokenhearted, the scared, the lonely and the desperate. Then in His great love He invites them to be healed. He pours out His love, using the beautiful women of this ministry who give so much of themselves to be Jesus to those who call out.

You have no doubt read the story of our afternoon. Here it was so real. In Sandrine’s house, seeing where and how she lives, kissing her cheek, holding her beautiful Moise and weeping as she tells her story. How could I not weep?

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Here was a beautiful young woman; she’d been left alone with two kids, and another on the way. She was pregnant, no job, no welfare, no money, no one to help … nothing. There was simply no hope … at all. Did I mention she was HIV positive too? No hope.

You know the story. She tried in vain to kill herself and her unborn baby. But God had another plan. She still seemed a little dazed as she told us that the cars avoided her as she stood in that busy intersection. One after another, they swerved to miss her. Remember, it was a dark night. It was raining, and it was at a busy intersection. It seemed like a good plan.

But God had another plan for Sandrine’s life. He wanted to show her His love and rescue her. And He did. She heard the Women of Hope program and learned that there IS hope. You read the story (or you still can – just read “Behind Closed Doors” below). You know the middle of the story: she found HOPE in Christ. God is still writing the rest of her story.

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My emotions are raw, and it’s going to take some processing. Yet God is here. He continues to show me that He’s got this. He’s got me, He’s got the team, and He’s got the women (and men) of the Ivory Coast in the palm of His hand. What a big God we serve.

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One thought on “Reflections of our first day in Abidjan by Colleen Shoemaker

  1. Thanks for sharing. Thinking of you, and glad that you have this opportunity to see, hear, encourage, and make a difference.

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