FIELD STUDIES Download Here for Pictures with StoriesDownload Here for VideosStories From The Field2019-2020Bosnia Drug Rehab Center: Ella’s StoryElla was raised in a happy, middle-class military family where God was never mentioned. She meta Roma man while in high school and married him soon after graduation but divorced him beforetheir daughter, Dana, was born—just after Ella’s 19th birthday. Ella joined the military when the warstarted, leaving Dana with her mother. She soon met another man whom she married and continuedto visit her daughter, but the visits became infrequent as her attention focused on her new husbandwho had a son.Although the couple prospered financially, something was missing. The two began abusing alcoholand using recreational drugs, which led them into heroin addiction and stints in and out of jail fordrug dealing and theft. They left their children for Ella’s parents to raise.Eventually, the couple attended a Christian-based rehab center in a neighboring country, wherethey committed their lives to Christ. Since their conversion nearly a decade ago, Ella has served inministry to the Roma and worked with women who are rebuilding their lives following incarceration;she also leads an outreach to a women’s group in the village where her mother was born and raised.Stories From The Field2019-2020Bosnia Drug Rehab Center: Sandy’s StorySandy was jailed for the first time when she was 16. She met Ella while both were serving time.During the years they were in and out of jail, the two became friends. Sandy told Ella about herpainful childhood, having to work every day with her mother at a bar. When Sandy was 12, hermother married the bar owner. The three lived in a small, one-room apartment over the bar. WhenSandy’s mother worked late, the man began sexually abusing Sandy. After two years of abuse, shedecided to run away. Sandy cut her hair and began dressing and talking like a boy, before joining astreet gang, stealing and selling drugs. She eventually had a son and daughter, who now live with hermother, since Sandy has been in and out of jail over the last 20 years.Ten years ago, Ella met Sandy again when the team started visiting the jail. They’re now unable tovisit in person, but the two stay in contact by phone; Ella also takes Sandy care packages. Sandy wasreleased a few years ago, but after becoming addicted to antipsychotic meds she was again jailed fortheft. Ella and the team continue to share God’s love with Sandy.Stories From The Field2019-2020Bosnia Drug Rehab Center: Dana’s StoryUntil Dana was 14 years old, her life was filled with feelings of shame and rejection. Her father, analcoholic, left her mother just before she was born. Eventually, her mother, Ella, left Dana with herparents to start a life with her new husband. Dana couldn’t depend on her father because of hisalcoholism. Although her grandparents showed immeasurable love to her, her stepbrother, and hercousin—they were given nearly anything they asked for—nothing could replace the absence of theirparents.When Dana was 14 years old her mother returned from rehab. Ella kept talking about Jesus and thechurch she was attending. Dana went to church with Ella and later accepted Christ at a Christiancamp. The past 13 years have been a long process of rebuilding her relationship with Ella andlearning to trust her heavenly Father for all her needs.After high school, Dana attended Bible school and eventually completed a BA in Bible and Theology.While serving as a missionary in Macedonia, she met her husband, an ex-addict, at a Christianconference. They now live in her hometown, where they have an outreach to local children. Danamentors tweens and teens and helps with a women’s ministry. She and her husband joyfullywelcomed their first child, Aron, this fall.Stories From The Field2019-2020Bosnia Drug Rehab Center: Janet’s StoryJanet is Ella’s younger sister. Both enjoyed a peaceful childhood, working with their parents ina small village store the family owned outside their mother’s birthplace. Janet and her husbandmarried young and were happy together until they began drinking and using drugs with Ella and hersecond husband. After several years, Janet’s husband stopped using when he gave his life to Christ;shortly thereafter, their young son, Ian, was born. Tragically, Janet’s husband died just after Ian’sbirth due to a congenital heart condition complicated by his years of heroin use.For nearly a decade, Janet struggled with choosing sobriety over her drug use, overdosing six times.She moved in with her parents so they could help her raise Ian, along with Ella and her husband’stwo children. Finally, Ella convinced Janet to go to rehab, where her commitment to Christ tookhold—she has been clean for the past seven years. The Lord has renewed Janet’s heart; she and Ellaboth serve with the women’s ministry and among the Roma. But Janet’s life hasn’t been easy. Twoyears ago, the two sisters’ mother died of congestive heart failure. Last year, 19-year-old Ian died inhis sleep due to the congenital heart defect he inherited from his father. “The Lord is the only hopethat sustains me through tragic times,” Janet says.Stories From The Field2019-2020Cambodia Addiction Center: Ruom’s StoryOur children attended Sunday School, so I thought everything would be OK for them. To my greatshame, our youngest son, Vanneut, the son I loved, spiraled downward into drugs. I sold all that Ihad—my land, my belongings—to get help. But it didn’t achieve anything. With few social servicesavailable here, some parents protect themselves from their own children by hiring a governmentworker to arrest them and put them in a “rehabilitation center.” Presumably, the beatings will bringthem to their senses. But this breaks our hearts; it only makes things worse. I didn’t do that, but myson ended up in prison anyway—with a price on his head. But then God did an amazing thing—Hefreed Vanneut from his cell. We had to put him somewhere to keep him safe, so we begged the RuralMinistry Training Center to accept him—no one else would take him! Through the program he wasreleased from his addiction and graduated—with honors! His goal now is to help others like himself.He is now on staff at a new kind of rehab center, where those who have been controlled by all sortsof substances learn to put themselves under God’s control. My son, who I thought would be the endof me, is now a source of hope and encouragement for me and others.Stories From The Field2019-2020Cambodia Addiction Recovery Center: A Grandma’s StoryI’ve raised my children; I should be able to sit on the hammock and give directions to others for running thehousehold. But no, it’s not like that. Addiction, an inability to live together, and the lack of a future plan haveleft me, the grandma, to deal with the fallout—children with no one to look after them. And worse, those whoshould be caring for them are still depending on me for food. Many of my neighbors are facing this sameproblem.But one of my grandchildren found new life with God, who is her Rock, her Healer and Provider! For a whileshe was doing great. I don’t know why, but she took a wrong turn and married a man like her father. He, likeso many others, is struggling with addiction. He, too, knows God and wants a different life from what he hasalways known. But now they are in a mess. One wrong turn could ruin it all. They cry; they want to returnhome. Who can show them the way back? There has to be a step for them between making a decision of faithand living a new life on their own. The Addiction Recovery Center is that step, where they are taught simplelessons of life that they can practice in a safe place.Stories From The Field2019-2020Cambodia Addiction Recovery Center: Dani’s StoryMy parents were drunkards. Dad killed my mom; then he sold me. I was raped by my adopted father,thrown out of the house by my adopted mother, and by 11 years of age I was a prostitute, comfortingmyself with alcohol. Eventually, there was nothing else in my life. I abused my own children andbecame their burden. But then I heard an amazing thing—a God who was able to do the impossible! Idecided I wanted a new life. So, I slept at the gate of the missionaries’ home. They asked me to movein, and God truly changed me! I learned how to live without alcohol, to eat dinner with family, to putmy children to bed with a prayer, and to laugh at my youngest child’s jokes.I craved more healing, because my addiction was consuming. I needed to work through so manythings! My emotions were broken, my coping skills non-existent. I needed a program set up for myneeds. The missionaries loved me, but they were unable to stay with me at the house all the time;there was no other place I could go. The accidental death of my son sent me into deep despair, andI ended my own life. But through my death the Addiction Rehabilitation Center was born in theminds and hearts of the missionaries. It was built too late for me, but there are many others whoneed it and can find help.Stories From The Field2019-2020Cambodia Addiction Recovery Center: AnonymousI don’t know how it happened, and I am so ashamed. My parents are good people—church leaderswhom all their peers look up to. I never meant to cause them such pain. I just wanted to do myown thing for a while: I rebelled, stayed out a bit late, had some “not so good” friends—nothing toohorrible. But it all led to drugs and an out of control life.I crashed the motorcycle my parents gave me to help me feel loved. They are desperate; I hear it intheir voices when they beg me to change my ways. But the standard demands for obedience don’twork. Even my mother’s tears can’t stop me. They want me to come home. I am destroying the familythat I love, but I can’t beat the drugs. I look like everyone at school, but I’ve got a horrid secret tohide, and I don’t know where to turn! When I was a child, I gave myself to Jesus but forgot aboutHim somewhere along the line. I want to return, but it seems impossible. I have heard about theAddiction Recovery Center. The staff approached my dad about it—they say there is hope! They’vehelped others return to God. With His help, maybe I can be freed and return to my family and to theplan God has for my life. Please, God!Stories From The Field2019-2020Paraguay Youth Camp Ministry: Sandra and WilliamWilliam and Sandra lead a youth group in San Antonio, Paraguay. Although many of the teens inthe group are from unchurched homes, they enjoy meeting every Saturday to play, learn, and grow.Sandra and William had an opportunity to attend a church youth camp when they were younger, andit had a deep impact on their lives.“First, I think it’s important for the youth to have the opportunity to meet new people, to relate toother young people their own age,” Sandra says. “Also, for each young person to have the chance fora personal encounter with Jesus Christ, just like I did at camp—that was the beginning of my journeywith Him.”“I’m thankful I had the opportunity to attend camp because it affected me greatly,” William adds.“Because of the camp dynamics, I learned teamwork and was exposed to God’s Word. I learnedmany things I’ve never forgotten. We have a window of opportunity to reach these young people ina way that they enjoy and respond to—at a crucial time in their lives.” William and Sandra will play acritical role in developing the Paraguayan Alliance Youth Conference.Stories From The Field2019-2020Paraguay Youth Camp Ministry: DaihanaDaihana is a college student in Asunción, Paraguay. Her testimony follows:I was very fortunate to be able to attend a Christian camp when I was in high school. I know manyother kids didn’t have that chance because of finances. My days at camp were some of the best ofmy life. It was the first time I really felt God’s presence. I had grown up going to church, but I didn’treally understand what it meant to have a relationship with God. I think there was something aboutbeing in another environment that allowed me to hear from God in a different way. I felt free to askquestions in a way I couldn’t at home. Many of my friends had similar experiences and were set freefrom things that had a hold on them. The things that I learned at camp continue to affect me. I knowI make better decisions and I have avoided many problems in my life because of what I learned there.I’m grateful to have had the experience.Stories From The Field2019-2020Paraguay Youth Camp Ministry: KathyKathy is a high school student who will have an opportunity to attend youth camp for the first timethis year. When asked about what she hopes to gain from camp, she explained:Last year I had the chance to attend the Alliance Women (formerly, Great Commission Women)retreat and spend time with other ladies. I’d love the chance to do the same with young people myown age who have the same goal—to seek God and know more about Him. That’s why I want to goto youth camp—through attending camp, I hope to be set free. There are times when teenagers feelfrustrated, angry, or stressed by so many different things. So, I want to spend time reflecting on thesethings, and I want to learn more about God, more about Christ—and to also have fun! Sometimes Ifeel a great helplessness when I see so many young people without God and without the desire toknow Him. For economic reasons, many of them don’t have the opportunity to go to a camp. This iswhere I feel powerless. I don’t know how to help them; I want them to know that they are not alone,that there is a great and glorious God who helps and protects us.Stories From The Field2019-2020Paraguay Youth Camp Ministry: Nelly and Digna (sisters)“Events like this (youth camp) give us the opportunity to get to know young people from other churches,which we can’t do simply by visiting on a Sunday morning or at a special event. I have many friends whomI first met at a youth retreat, and it was an amazing time to spend with them. Having special events just foryouth is also a great opportunity for us to invite our friends who don’t go to church. They can meet otherChristians and learn more about God. My favorite part of attending camp was hearing others’ testimoniesabout how God is working in their lives and how they are growing in relationship with Jesus. It was alsospecial having speakers specifically for us, talking about the things that matter to youth and affect our lives.”Stories From The Field2019-2020Uruguay Encounters Ministries: AnalíaWhen I was young, I had a deeply negative encounter with religion. I didn’t want anything to do withthe Church after that.I’ve since experienced God’s love at different stages of my life, like when my first child was bornprematurely and with complications. But nothing has brought me closer to God than when I wentthrough a marital crisis. I opened my heart to Him during that time, and I no longer felt alone.If it hadn’t been for God’s love, which made me feel like I mattered to Him and that I wasn’t alone, Idon’t know what I would have done.Now God is my confidante, my Father. He guides my steps. Before I thought God was just far away;I knew He existed, but I didn’t feel like He was part of my life. I am 47 years old, and I have spentalmost all my life looking for Him. Now I feel blessed—stronger. I know it is not my will, but God’swill that guides my life.I would like for my friends—all women really—to open their hearts, to take the time to reflect andhave an encounter with God. In this way they will never feel alone again. He is closer than we think.Stories From The Field2019-2020Uruguay Encounters Ministries: MyriamGod is my Companion, my Creator, my Everything. He accepts me just the way I am and gives mehope for a better life.It hasn’t always been this way for me. I experienced God’s forgiveness because of my mother’s death.All I felt was hate toward the man who murdered her, until I began attending a small-group Biblestudy. I learned that God is love and He forgives me. I never thought I was worthy of His love. NowI know that He gave His Son to forgive us. I also learned that justice belongs to God, not to me. Heforgives and punishes; it is not my responsibility. As a result, God removed the “backpack” full ofunforgiveness and pain I had been carrying around.Before, I just thought about God when something bad happened, but now I talk to Him every day. Ifeel Him so close to me, and I have learned to trust Him in everything. He always come through.I wish that my friends—and all women in Uruguay—could experience His love, know His forgiveness,and know that He accepts all of us. I would like them to have faith in God and learn how to pray,because that is how we get closer to Him. I would like us to be a community of faith that helps eachother, despite our differences—that would make Uruguay a better place.Stories From The Field2019-2020Uruguay Encounters Ministries: NataliaGod is my everything. My Friend, my Father, my unconditional Helper—my Strength. He is thesource of unending love in my life.I have experienced His love in many ways. The first time I recall is when my newborn daughter wasbeing transferred to an intensive care unit at a hospital in another country. The outcome did not lookgood. But my husband and I felt like God was with us, even though we were separated from her. Ididn’t doubt for a second that she would recover. God was in the middle of that situation.In the past, whenever I have seen people do wrong things, I have had trouble seeing them throughGod’s eyes of love. Especially people who hurt others, or who have hurt me. I have learned to forgivethem and rid myself of a victim mentality—to love and forgive them and let go of the pain. It’s been aprocess. But seeing people who demonstrate Christ’s love is what has changed me the most.We live in quite a secular country, and it is not easy to be a Christian here. Religion is looked uponas a weakness, considered unintelligent. My hope is that other women will have the opportunity tohave a personal relationship with God and experience something as wonderful as I have.Stories From The Field2019-2020Uruguay Encounters Ministries: RosemaryAfter more than 10 years of Alliance international workers praying for her and sharing God’s lovethrough a weekly English Club, Rosemary, in her mid-80s, turned to God amid a deep strugglewith depression. On November 28, 2018, she prayed and opened her heart to Jesus after readingIsaiah 61:1–3. She was ready to exchange her depression and hurting heart for God’s oil of joy andgladness. Symbolically, she took off her black sweater and gave it to Jesus; she then put on a redsweater representing His garment of praise. Years of painful solitude washed away as she cried onmy shoulder and received God’s love flowing through her. In the months since, she is doing muchbetter and is thankful for her relationship with God. Rosemary gives us warm hugs and greets uswith a deep smile of appreciation every time we meet. She has even attended church.Recently, we asked Rosemary about how we could reach out to other women in Montevideo. Withouthesitation, she started talking about her heart for the many older single women living in the city whoare unseen and without community, often left alone because of broken family relationships. She seesthem every day and has already become a conduit of God’s love toward them!