WARNING: The following story is graphic and disturbing...but real.
The three-hour drive from Caracas to Valencia took us through verdant mountains and fields of sugarcane. Our destination was Casa Abanza, a home we funded ten years ago. The scenic interlude between these two large cities served as a restful buffer and a time of mental cleansing.
The work we’re engaged in relentlessly assaults our senses and emotions. Without Jesus, it would simply be too hard to take. Whether in-country or back at the office in Colorado Springs, we are constantly confronted by the wickedness of this world and how it heartlessly victimizes the smallest and most marginalized of society. We are daily reminded of why the labor of this ministry is so precious, so needed.
After we were given a tour of the first and second children’s homes and related infrastructure at Casa Abanza, we ascended a rise that looked over the whole property. On this vantage point the ministry will be building their home for teenagers.
(Image: World Orphans VP, Scott Vair, looks over the foundation lines for the new home)
We surveyed the foundation diggings and asked about the types of children the two homes have seen over the past decade. The summary was what we expected for this part of the world – children abandoned by poor mothers at hospitals, the unwanted offspring of prostitutes, homeless souls of the streets, and those rescued from sexual and physical cruelty.
When Scott and I pried about the scenarios of abuse, the house "Papa," Ricardo, recounted a very troubling story of poverty, desperation and violence.
Four years ago a poor, mentally-imbalanced mother went to the City Mayor’s Office to seek help. She asked for money for bus tickets for herself and her four girls, aged 13, 9, 8 and 5. A man on the office staff offered to help personally. The children would later share that the man did indeed give their mother some money.
They never saw her again.
The four girls were whisked off to the man’s home. The mother vanished. It’s unclear whether she sold the children, was murdered, or simply disappeared to a new life.
Over the next fifteen days, all the girls were repeatedly and brutally raped at the man’s home...every one of them...including the five year old. They were captive sex slaves to pure evil, a devil incarnate.
The four sisters were found and liberated only after a neighbor heard crying and peered through the windows to investigate. She was met by the sight of a small child lying in a fetal position on the ground, bleeding profusely from below her little waist.
Due to severe and repetitious trauma, the 9 year-old girl, "Ana," is permanently damaged. She was literally torn from front to back. Nothing divided rectum from vagina. She still bears the physical pain and scars from her two weeks of captivity and carnage.
Ana and her sisters will always remember the evil ferocity of what occurred to them over and over again. They will always wonder whether their mother was also a victim or had bartered them into such dreadful hostility and horror.
After two years at Casa Abanza, two years of love and counseling, the children were placed into the Christian household of their grandmother. The father is reunited with them also. Although he doesn’t have legal custody, he is present and available.
Ricardo receives regular calls from Ana who is now thirteen. After Ricardo picks up the phone, the voice on the other end of the line gleefully replies "Hola, Papito!" (Hello, Daddy!) She tells Ricardo that she loves Jesus, is going to church, and is doing very well at school.
(Image: One of the young girls presently at Casa Abanza)
(Image: Casa Abanza Children's Home #2)