A family of Survivors
Josie didn’t set out to establish a family; she started by acting on a desire to nourish vulnerable girls with a hot meal and the Word of God. The inspired Bible study group soon developed into a group of “sisters” that truly cared for one another and trusted their teacher. In turn, Josie felt a stewardship for the girls she served. Seeing themselves as a family came gradually.
At some point along the way, Josie was called “Mom” by one of the girls, and it stuck. Mothering really is the best word to describe the prayer, care, and love she gives to the girls. Each has her picture on Josie’s wall, a feature of the home that she enjoys the most. She sees to the emotional and physical needs of each girl, and guides them from as young as age 3 to 18-years and beyond. Josie excitedly shares how many girls have grown into independent adults, taken on responsibilities, found employment, or even an apartment to share with other CtL sisters. And she’s happy to see that even after graduation her “older girls” still come home from college on weekends for a meal with their little sisters (maybe with a load of laundry in hand).
She is quick to admit, though, that it isn't accomplished alone. Bonds of trust also developed with new girls, caregivers, and staff. In our recent Gathering Day meeting, Josie said, “The Lord has fully equipped CtL with the most amazing team to accomplish everything He wants us to in CtL.” Josie leads a team of 40, including caregivers, social workers, teachers, and security guards. This team works together as a family, building sisterhood and support for one another. Adults guide, advocate, and model faith and trustworthiness.
School and work fill the days, so the families of 46 in Alpas and 18 in Amaris are intentional with their time together. Meals, chores, and studies are part of the daily schedule, like any (highly organized) family. At night they congregate in their sala (meaning living room in the native Tagalog language) to read from the Bible and interact with recurring activities, like “Joyful/Thankful Tuesday'' and “Testimony Thursdays.”
Unique to this family, the girls have many sisters for support, or future roommates when they embark on their own. Girls don’t graduate from CtL; they are always a part of the family. Even when they move away, they show they feel connected by welcoming visits to their new apartments and coming home to visit.
Growing up in a family affords each girl to see examples of “productive and secure adult lives”—part of the CtL mission—in the women that surround them. In the CtL Home, girls witness faith-filled, independent, adult lives from the CtL Team.
The CtL Family centers their hope in Jesus. The scripture 1 John 4:19 says, “We love because he first loved us.” Jesus first showed us how to love each other. We show the children His healing love by example of faith and service. We work together as a family to learn how to care as He did. Together, we focus on building the kind of supportive setting to exhibit these qualities so children can learn and benefit from them. As girls grow in this nurturing home, they will become the example of faith and independence that will carry forward into future generations.