Tuesday, June 28, 2005

A quick one...

This is just a quick blog about my trip. I cannot believe how faithful God has been this entire trip! He has given us favor every step of the way. He gave us this trip and has provided consistently for it. I have so many fun stories that I will take the time to write and put up here (but not right now). I did want family and friends to know that we are safe and that the trip has been amazing. We have a tour day tomorrow in France and then we will be flying back home on Thursday. I cannot wait to see everyone and share the way God has shown His love for the Commercial Sex Workers, Orphans and us on this trip. Please pray for a safe flight and I will see all of you soon.

Friday, June 17, 2005

Sweet, sweet India

As most of you know I will be heading to India in just a few days. The whole process of this trip is just amazing to me! It all started with a friend of mine (Jane) and me praying one AM of May 2004. At the end of her prayer she mentioned to bless "those girls in India" (talking about girls that are kidnapped and sold into prostitution over there). When I heard that I said "Why are you praying for girls in India? I have been praying for Asian and Indian women for a few months now." She said "Hum, maybe God has us going to India" to which I said - YA RIGHT!

In January of 2005 Jane called me back and said "India is on my mind again - I think we are going." I began to pray about this possibility thinking about all of the reasons why I couldn't go - I mean I wanted to, but EVERYONE wants to do things like that to help others, right? Reason not to go were a short but definite list - first, there was financially - I mean a trip to India would be expensive right? Then there was the fact that I would have to get time off of work and leave my husband for an extended period of time. I doubted that I would be able to go. Even with all of my reasons to not be able to go, I felt a love growing for these women that I didn't personally know... and it kept growing (even now I cry as I think about the abuse they are receiving at this very moment).

God is such an amazing God! He slowly began to chip away at all of my "good reasons" for not being able to go. First, He told me that money was not a concern and that He would take care of it. Second, I found out that I had enough time to take 10 days of vacation as long as I didn't take any more vacation hours between February and June. Third, my husband was supporting me in this! As Jane and I (and a team of awesome women that also wanted to go to India) kept praying it was like God rolled out a red carpet for us. All of the contacts fell into place. It was amazing! We found out about a home that had just opened up for prostitutes to go to so they could get out of the life of prostitution (which was thought about first in May 2004 - same time we were praying!). These women were thrilled at the idea of having a team of women come and love them (more on prostitution in India below). Then, as I began to share with friend and family about my trip I started to figure in my head where all my money could come from. I knew people that could afford to give a good bit towards the trip... I knew "I" had it in the bag. Again, God blew me away - instead of those people that I was "counting on" to support me, He used those people in my everyday life in an extrodinary way! Friends that do not have much extra in their weekly paycheck were giving me thousands of dollars!!! Churches that do not even have an official pastor started sending me checks. God truly humbled me through seeing His people give out of the abundance of their hearts. I can say today June 17th that not only is my $4,000 trip paid for - but I am still receiving monetary gifts that will be able to go towards medical treatment for these women! God has showed me through all of this that He is my Source, not a job or even my husband. God has showed me that when He calls us to do something He will provide the way. All we have to be faithful to do is take the next step forward. I serve an AWESOME GOD.

Prostitution in India:
-Average age of a prostitute in India is 12 years old.
-They start with girls as young as 5 years old.
-Families are either tricked into selling their daughter to a pimp (family thinks they are giving her a home and education elsewhere) or they outright sell their daughter because for many a daughter is a curse in India.
-Men believe that having sex with a virgin will cure them of awful diseases such as AIDS.
-They will starve, rape, beat and burn a girl until she "learns" how to service up to 25 customers a day.
-They keep the youngest in cages so they cannot run away.
-Dogs in India are treated better than these women.
-160,000 women and children are kidnapped a year in India for sex trafficking.
-The police department in Bangalore (where we are going) receive 120 women A DAY that have been kidnapped, raped, or beaten.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

And at the End the Beginning

I am trying a blog for the very first time… hopefully it will be a great way for people I don’t see often to keep up with me:).

I am beginning this blog at the end/beginning of an important part of my life. I have officially resigned from the job that I have worked at for 3 years. This has been such a hard decision because I have been so blessed at UTS. I have had an awesome opportunity to work with great people over these last few years. I have been touched deeply by the things that friends and colleagues have spoken to me as they find out that I am leaving. Everyone that I have come in contact with has helped develop me into the person that I am today and I am truly thankful for each encounter. There were times that I had to be tough and that was no fun for me or the person that I was being tough to, but I truly believe that I was trying to do my job correctly and to the best of my ability. I certainly made many mistakes as I learned to become a supervisor, but I really believe that I learned from each of those mistakes. There have also been more good times than I can count, and I will always remember the fun of almost burning down a building or having a life size paper-doll of me scaring others as they walk through the department. Of course what I will miss the most is just the everyday times with those that I truly call friends at UTS.

I guess if I had one thing that I could say to everyone that I have encountered over the last few years it would be that the good that they have seen is a direct result of the impact Jesus has had in my life. I have tried to be very careful and respectful of working in a place with multiple cultures and religions represented, because I do not believe that offending someone or hitting them over the head with a Bible is a way to reach out to them. I do believe that I have probably been too passive in the way I talk to people about Christ. I get angered by intolerance and people who judge or abuse others because they are different, unfortunately many people think this is the way Christians act. I know that there are many people that call themselves Christians that act this way but if they truly want to be like Christ, then they will do what He did for people that were different. Christ is our example and He didn’t curse or degrade those that were different and imperfect; He loved them, ate with them, prayed for them and eventually gave His life for them.

My biggest hope that those that feel they have seen nice or good things in me realize that truly it is the God that I serve wanting to love them the same way He loves me. There is nothing keeping them from Him, He is already loving them, all they have to do is accept that love and then grow in it.

I will keep everyone from UTS in my prayers (and my lunch plans :).