"Mom, how did you choose the name FLORECE?" My son's question gave me a reflective pause in the midst of a bustling week of preparations. The word "florece" in Spanish means "to blossom" and by God's grace, the FLORECE Prenatal & Family Counseling Center has indeed "blossomed" in its final few weeks before opening to the community of Iquique. What has been beautiful to observe is that not only has the physical property itself been pruned and prepared, but the vision and commitment of our volunteer ladies has also flourished as they see this longtime dream come to fruition.
Some of our volunteers can trace their beginning interest three years ago to a pro-life conference held at our church in June 2013. Eight months later in February 2014, ten women traveled to Peru for a training conference and to visit a functioning pregnancy center first-hand. In the years since then, around thirty women have participated in some form of training. Some have stayed and some have gone, yet our core group has invested hours upon hours in studying, learning and growing to be ready for the opportunity that is now before us.
For the past three weeks, the training that was only theoretical for so long has been transferred into practical application as our volunteers began fulfilling their weekly scheduled hours in the downtown FLORECE property. We are currently experimenting with a four-day-a-week schedule. This gives us a total of seven shifts with fourteen women committed to serve, generally in groups of three. While we are not yet open for clients, we are practicing exactly what it will look like when that happens very soon! Walking through the process, reading our literature, and role playing with one other has allowed us to see what works smoothly and where we need to make changes on forms and procedures. Safe to say, it has been both thrilling and nerve wracking as we realize our own limitations yet choose to trust in God's promised enabling.
It is in this context that I have truly seen our ladies "blossoming" into women of purpose, prayer and partnership with one another and the Lord to fulfill His purpose through FLORECE. It has been a powerful reminder of our roles and identity as the Body of Christ. None of us has all the knowledge or confidence or ability to carry out this ministry alone. Together, however, we instruct, encourage and challenge one another to step out in faith to serve the women and families of Iquique with God's love and in His name. To God be the glory for what He has done and WILL DO!