It’s a hard thing, explaining to people what a “market girl” is. Especially to those people who have not experienced a real market here in Ghana. It’s a sub-culture, another world, a place you wouldn’t let your children go alone. Yet I see them, these little helpless girls and boys. Some of them wandering as their mother sells, others, have ran there seeking a place to belong. It’s an “every man for himself” kind of place, only the strongest will survive. Because of this, the weakest of them, the young children and women, become hard. Their thoughts are devoted to where they can hide the only money they have so no one will steal it, which pack of girls to sleep next to so they aren’t molested at night, and how to pay for hospital visits to check the baby growing in their belly. Their words become harsher, they spout curses at the drop of a hat, their children don’t receive a loving or affectionate tone, and speaking with kindness becomes a foreign language. Most of these women are not old, in fact, they are barely grown. Yet they are forced to grow up fast in this world of stealing, fighting, sex, and drugs.
You can imagine the type of person this creates. A girl who listens to no authority, doesn’t trust anyone, takes what she can get her hands on, uses lies and manipulation to get what she wants, spits words like fire, and is fully capable of using her fists.
Now you may be wondering why I would willingly go to these markets and bring these girls into my home. I know, that God is sovereign over all things, He is sovereign over which girls come to the house, which girls hear His message, and which girl’s life is changed. This does not mean it is easy. But I know that under that hard outer shell, inside that hardened heart, and creeping through that harsh tone, is the daughter of a king, THE ONE TRUE KING to be exact. This place is hard to access, and does not come without time, headaches, and unconditional love. But to watch Jesus save a life, to reach those places, it is worth every heart ache. Some girls aren’t ready, their market lifestyle is to far ingrained in them, woven into the fibers of their being. It is too much for them to be in a place of peace, no fighting, no struggling, no lying, no conflict.
This was the case for our sweet Gloria. Seventeen years old and six months pregnant; shaped by years of running to the market instead of school, following an abusive boyfriend, and creating a mask of manipulation and lies. She couldn’t handle this new environment, so she left. Not only did she leave this house, but she left her best friend, Lucy. God planted seeds in both girls, however sometimes it takes longer for some seeds to be able to grow roots. Gloria’s seeds are planted, it may take years for them to make it past that hard stone, but they will someday take root. As for Lucy, God has blessed us by letting us watch as those seeds take root, and even begin to grow. So not every girl who comes to this home will make it. But I serve a sovereign God, whose plans for His children far exceed any which I could dream up. So I will keep my eyes focused on Him, listening to His calls, waiting for Him to show me the next heart which needs to be cultivated.