MEDELLIN, COLUMBIA – The 911 Life Ministries’ website makes one thing very clear.
“WORSHIP is at the center of everything we do at 911 Life. True worship is more than just praise and adoration. It’s pouring out God’s love in practical and tangible ways to those in need while training others to do the same in their own communities.”
911 Life Ministries is the fruit of a seed that was planted in the hearts of Tom and Jennifer Atwater on the streets of Cartagena in 1995.
The Atwaters had moved to Columbia to teach English as a second language. One evening as they were out walking, they spotted a paper bag lying on the cobblestone street ahead of them. Intending to pick it up and dispose of it, they were startled to find a small baby alive inside. They knew that this situation was an indication someone had to do something to help alleviate a problem, the scope of which they did not yet fully understand.
As they learned more about life in Columbia, they discovered that 84% of children there are born to unwed mothers. This problem was creating havoc for both the mothers and the children. Even if the children were not abandoned as babies, they typically ended up living on the streets and fending for themselves.
Mothers don’t usually abandon children willingly so much as they do it out of desperation. In their despair, they do what they think is necessary for their own survival, hoping that someone else will find and take care of their child. Little do they realize that they will experience even deeper despair as an unforeseen consequence of their poor choice.
911 Life was birthed “to help restore the vulnerable women, children, and families in Columbia. . . Our focus is on rehabilitating the entire family through the powerful love of the only perfect Father – GOD.”
Their multi-faceted program leads participants into spiritual growth, character training, educational and professional development.
911 Life for Mothers
The mentoring and discipleship ministry for mothers is The Woman of His Dreams. In this program, women gain emotional assistance from Christian psychologists, spiritual assistance through daily times of pray, educational assistance where they learn about Jesus Christ while studying ESL, and vocational assistance through the 911 Beauty Certificate Program.
Who’s watching the children when the mothers are involved in the 911 Life program? Other staff members are looking after and caring for them in the King’s Kids, where the children are mentored and discipled using materials created especially for their spiritual and emotional growth.
911 Youth Center
The Youth Center provides young people with teaching and tutoring in literacy, math, English, music, arts, and sports in an atmosphere free from the negative influences and peer pressures they face. In classes, sports, and youth nights, the young people are consistently taught about the God of the universe who loves them and cares about every detail of their lives.
911 Hope House
The first 911 Hope House is scheduled to open in April 2021. The project will become home for mothers between the ages of 18 and 30 with one to three children between the ages of five and ten. Professionally-trained resident staff will be available 24 hours a day for the mothers and their children, keeping the family unit intact. The 911 Hope House program takes families through three phases that ultimately prepare them to live independently and support themselves financially.
Worship is at the center of all 911 Life activities, so they have a place set aside for worship where staff, program participants, and other believers can spend time together honoring our Lord and Savior. Although there are regularly-scheduled worship times, believers are invited to worship at the site at any time. This serves as a reminder that “WORSHIP is at the center of everything we do at 911 Life.”
Orphanos.org describes 911 Life Ministries’ focus as “to raise up powerful and passionate Christian leaders in every area of influence, helping and guiding the emerging generation into the knowledge of the goodness of God. [911 Life’s] goal is to build into their strengths and talents, helping them reach their full potential.”
Source: 911 Life Ministries, Official Website