These women were baking for their children at a project in what happens to be the first ever Baptist church in Bolivia. The project serves vulnerable kids from the peri-urban areas of the city which are inhabited largely by miners and their families. One of the mothers who has training in baking coordinated with this group of ladies to teach skills a few times a month. We set about making pastels and buñuelos, two traditional Bolivian pastries. As we worked, we debated the recipes (as too many cooks in a kitchen do) and talked about our lives.
The mother in charge was giving instructions on how to knead the dough and her words struck me:
“Knead it gently, as if you were stroking the cheek of a little child. Don’t punch and smack it like your husband does to you”.
I realize that this is not a problem unique to these ladies, this church, or this country. Many women around the globe live a similar struggle. I am challenged to consider how the church can be a light and a resource to women who feel trapped. Are our churches places women would feel comfortable going to for support? Are we prepared to respond?
I asked them what the church could do to help. They shook their heads and shared that they worried bringing others into their problems would only drag more people into their pain. I fear we still have a long way to go and much more to learn about bringing light into this darkness.