Submitted by Reverend Linda Hanson, Global Ministries missionary serving at the Theological Community of Honduras, where she is a professor.
Angelica is a single mother of two children; Nahum, is 19; and Luz, is 7. She was married twice, and divorced twice, both times abandoned by the father of her children. She has no steady income and lives in a simple concrete block home, a home that measures seven feet by five feet, provided to her by a ministry of a local church. She feeds her family by selling food in the streets – she sold baked chicken until her oven broke down; now she sells cheese. It is hard work to sell food, and on a successful day she makes around 100 lempiras ($5.29). On less successful days she may clear only 25 lempiras ($1.33) despite working all day. She also grows corn and vegetables in her garden to feed her family, and to pay the costs for Nahum to go to take the bus to the university. Sometimes the 15 lempiras ($.80) daily that he needs is more than they can pay so he misses class.
Angelica lives in the neighborhood of La Era where the Theological Community of Honduras is located. La Era is a poor neighborhood mostly made up of single mothers and their children. A friend told Angelica that she could study toward bachelor's degree in theology at very low cost, and she arrived, delighted, in July. Soon, Nahum decided to study theology alongside his mother.
Angelica arrived at the seminary and began studying a few short months ago and all of her teachers noted an almost-defeated woman, a woman who wanted everyone to know of the difficulty of her life circumstances, a woman who told us all repeatedly how very, very tired she was of working hard day after day and never, ever having enough. She complained bitterly of the injustices of her life, of the struggle to survive. She hoped that we could provide her with a steady job. We couldn't; but, we listened, and we taught her theology and we listened some more. We pointed out her amazing perseverance and the gumption she had to come and study, the hope she showed in believing that she could get a bachelor's degree in theology. We agreed that her circumstances were terrible, unjust, and difficult and we talked about it in class, how oppressive systems worked against her and how we believed that the role of the church was to work against this oppression. She said nobody had ever told her that before.
After only a few short months of studying, we notice a different woman in Angelica. She is getting good grades in her classes. She arrives to class with a smile, she does her homework, she is always prepared, she participates actively in class, then she leaves to go and sell food in the streets to support her family. She still complains, but less. She still wants us to know of how unjust her situation is. Her life situation hasn't changed. She still wants us to know she is living in miserable poverty. Her family still struggles and is lucky to eat twice a day.
But, she also now is a woman who has rediscovered the hope that access to liberating theological education brings as she dreams of a different future for herself and her children.
More about this project: Theological Community of Honduras