Im back!!! Our team of 8 returned to the states on Tuesday, October 30th with our lives and hearts transformed forever.
First, I am amazed at how God drafted eight complete strangers from different parts of the country for this mission. Although we were meeting for the first time we shared one thing in common; His heart and vision for the poor and the oppressed.
Secondly, our mission trip to Cambodia was very eye opening and empowering. We visited the SHE Rescue Home as well as several other ministries that all play an important role in the fight against human trafficking. Each one of them is a piece of the puzzle, and it was interesting and beautiful to see how all the pieces come together. Some do the investigations, build a case and work with the local authorities to make an arrest and rescue the girls. Some are refuge homes where the girls go after theyve been rescued and evaluated for healing, counseling and restoration. Others are vocational ministries that teach the girls different skills such as baking and sowing. They not only provide vocational training but they also assist with job placement by hiring them at their place of business or referring them to other places. Ultimately, the goal is to empower the girls and young women to live and sustain a healthy lifestyle. We also had the opportunity to see what integration looks like. We visited one of the girls who has been integrated back into the community and ministered to her family. We learned that integration is an ongoing process. Ministry does not end when the girls return home, but rather it is the beginning of another phase of ministry which requires counsel, guidance, life skills, prayer and ongoing support.
Additional stops included ministry at one of the villages and feeding at the slums. I cannot begin to put into words what these visits did for me. The people in the village asked us to stay for lunch. We knew it was a big sacrifice for them to prepare a meal for our team, yet they kept coming out with more! Later that evening we visited the slums, a place where people build their shacks from pieces of trash, metal, cardboard, and anything else they can find. The ground is composed of everything from mud and trash to stool and urine. We walked around and handed every person a bottle of water and a bag of bread rolls. As we pulled out the last bag of rolls we realized there were two children left. The bag had to be split between the two boys but instead of complaining they placed their hands together in prayer pose and thanked us for the food they had received. This is when I broke. I couldnt fight back the tears anymore. Their living conditions are heart breaking. And quite honestly, Im not sure that if the roles were reversed that I would have been grateful for half a meal. This was a very humbling experience.
The last experience I would like to share is the time we spent in the Red Light District. We split into teams a couple of different nights (I missed one of those nights due to sickness) and visited different bars where we had the opportunity to talk to working girls and lady boys. Although there are many stories I could share, Id like to tell you about Annie. After having small talk with some of the girls inside the bar, my friend and I stepped outside to sit in the patio where we could get fresh air. This was when Annie approached me. She came up to our table and asked me if I was a Christian. I was caught of guard by her question because its not like I was waiving a banner or wearing a shirt that said Im a Christian. However, we dont have to carry around a bible or wear a large cross around our neck for people to know we are followers of Christ. They recognize the light within us and are drawn to it. Her question led to us having a wonderful conversation about her life, her previous work (seemed she had high end clientele), her dreams and desire for a better life. She had been reached with the gospel 5 months earlier and I was there to encourage her to continue her walk. I was reminded that some plant and some water. God used me to water and I am so thankful for the opportunity He gave me to speak into her life and pray for her. She is seeking a new job opportunity so I ask you to pray and ask the Lord to open up a new door that would provide for her and her family.
My time in Cambodia was very humbling and I returned to America with immense gratitude. I had to fight through some physical, emotional and spiritual battles that God used to build my faith. The enemy was trying to knock me down and make me weary to keep me from fulfilling the mission at hand. But when I was weak the saints around me were strong. They prayed, as you prayed, and His power was made perfect in my weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9). I have never experienced so much darkness, but I held on to a mustard seed of faith and won the battle because greater is He who is in me than he who is in the world (1 John 4:4). I want to thank all of you who gave and prayed. Your support and prayers are what made this trip possible. The money you gave went to all of the above projects. In addition to blessing various ministries financially, doing fun activities with the girls and feeding the families in the slums, I want to tell you that part of your money went to a grandmother who is now the sole caregiver of a 1 month old baby with aids. Thank you for sowing into the kingdom! Now, may He who supplies seed to the sower, and bread for food, supply and multiply the seed you have sown and increase the fruits of your righteousness 2 Corinthians 9:10.
To learn more about how you can help fight human trafficking please visit Rescue Her. Together we can make a difference!