When I turned 11 I found myself on the outside looking in.
I grew up in warm Southern California as the youngest of three.
I would describe it as an idyllic childhood…
Riding bikes with my brothers, lots of friends on our street and at school,
good grades, fun times of soccer and softball, and a loving family.
I also had a strong sense of who I was.
I felt anything was possible.
I felt I could conquer the world.
Then we moved…
My life was rocked to my core.
I no longer belonged.
I forgot who I was.
Moving to Texas at 11 is still one of the most impactful and difficult experiences in my life.
Not only did I move to a new town in a new state, but
I moved into a new and totally different culture.
I felt as if I had moved to a new country.
I did not have the right clothes.
My accent (or lack thereof) was wrong.
I even had different slang.
No matter what I did or how I tried to connect, I was constantly reminded that I was
An outsider looking in.
Once we entered Texas, I had lost my sense of who I was.
I did not feel valued but lost.
I felt as if I was stranded on an island, in the middle of an ocean.
Over time I found my way “in” through new friends
Who accepted me for who I was.
I made friends just being “me”.
I learned that I could overcome and rise above obstacles by being myself…
The one God created me to be.
As a child, I always cheered and spoke out for the underdog.
Now, I had become the underdog.
I had a new appreciation of the value of community and
This increased my life-long compassion for
Those on the outside,
Those considered less than,
Those considered not important or of value.
I should not have been surprised that the issue of fistula would resonate with me,
Even though at the time I felt it hit me out of the blue.
As I first read about fistula, the focus of Hope for Our Sisters,
I was not only struck by the injustice of the situation but
And lack of community
Suffered by these sisters of ours.
At Hope for Our Sisters we extend our reach beyond fistula surgery and prevention
By directly investing in each woman.
Just like you and me, each one of our sisters has value.
Each one of our sisters has a story to tell.
Each one of our sisters has a contribution to make.
Each one of our sisters has the right to rejoin their communities.
Each one of our sisters has the potential to change the world.
(NOTE: A session with the organization Resonate helped me tap into this story behind my passion for HFOS. I fully believe God broke my heart for this issue but I also believe He used this very difficult experience of mine to help fistula resonate with my heart.)
© 2017 by Brooke F Sulahian