Pictured: Gayla and her daughters at the Girls House of Hope Rescue Home.
When you go on a mission trip to Zambia, you never know how God will use you to touch the lives of the children and families you encounter – or how God will use THEM to touch YOUR life.
Gayla has known about African Vision of Hope since the very beginning. Although she had always been supportive, it wasn’t until she heard one of the children tell their story of transformation at the Gala 5 years ago that caused her to know it was truly time to get involved. “I get goosebumps every time I talk about it; just hearing the story of Abagail, a girl living in the streets and the hardships of living in Zambia. My heart broke open when I heard about the lives of girls like her. I knew I had to do something.” One of Gayla’s passions is to help women and girls who have been abused, which aligns with the mission of the Girl’s House of Hope. The Girl’s House of Hope Rescue Home takes girls from the streets and gives them a warm bed, nutritious meals, an education, and a family who loves them. Gayla and her husband began giving to the Girls House of Hope. In addition, Gayla made the wooden sign you see displayed on the front of the Home. (Pictured, Judi Bertels, CEO with her husband Bob, Gayla, and mission team members in front of the House of Hope.)
She had never been on a mission trip, but CEO Judi Bertels was always asking her to go. “I dragged my feet for years, and it wasn’t until my daughters expressed interest in going that I finally gave in. It meant a lot to go with them.” When she stepped foot in Zambia, the fears that had kept her from going to Zambia quickly vanished. During their trip, Gayla and her daughters were tasked with encouraging the girls at the House of Hope through creative avenues like art projects. Some of these girls had never heard encouragement before being rescued. No one had ever spent intentional, one-on-one time with them and made them feel valued. Gayla was thrilled to see the girls at the House of Hope were happy and thriving. She was encouraged to see that they have found a home and a family after learning that, if these girls would not have been rescued, they would have been sold into marriage or become trafficked.
(Pictured, Gayla creating a hand print wall with girls living at the House of Hope.)
The overflow of love Gayla received from African Vision of Hope staff, students, and boarders during her trip to Zambia changed her life. Her husband commented “I’ve never heard you as happy as you are,” during a phone call home from Zambia. She was shocked at the hopefulness of the children she met, even in their seemingly hopeless circumstances. God used Gayla to touch the hearts and speak hope into the lives of the girls living at the House of Hope. And He used the girls to speak encouragement into the lives of Gayla and her daughters.
“My prayer is that people do not become numb to the stories of Zambia; that people would not just let these stories go through their heads and not do anything. I pray God opens their hearts to the beautiful people of Zambia. I want people to know that when they give to African Vision of Hope, every dollar makes a difference. I know that when I give there is a life-changing impact being made.”
(Pictured, Gayla with Rachel and Deborah, two young women living at the House of Hope.)
Take it from Gayla; when you give, you can be confident your gift is making a tangible impact on the lives of orphaned and vulnerable children across the globe. Your gifts towards rescue homes are rescuing young girls and boys from hopelessness and giving them the opportunity to fulfill the purpose God has for their lives.
How will God use you?