Sunday, February 28, 2016

The Partners

Two boys hanging out in the market playing video games, while mom sells trinkets to tourists.
In many ways, this mission trip was more like a conference.  The director of WAR educated us on the sex trafficking industry, but she went so much deeper than that.  She used the names of God to be constantly teaching us and encouraging us on our 10 day journey.  Just as the women who have been exploited have physical, emotional and spiritual wounds that must be addressed, she knew that exposing ourselves to this dark industry would open the door for wounds within us.  She gave us space to laugh and cry and led sessions to just infuse our souls with who God is.
There were 7 women who joined us on this tour that partnered with WAR.  We had sessions where each one presented their story, the need in their country and the safe house they run.  They opened their hearts to us, sharing their dreams and the needs they encounter day to day.  Nepal, India, Uganda and Vietnam were represented.  I had the privilege of being a team leader for five of these women.  I got to go shopping with them, eat with them and give them as much love as possible.
Most of these women are native to the area they are ministering in.  Several of them are pastor's wives.  I got to watch them explore a new culture, ride a Ferris wheel for the first time and try new foods.  Above all, I got to see them rest.  These women are the warriors out there who are fighting for the women of their cities.  They sacrifice everything they have to offer life through God to the broken soles.  They came to tell us their stories and to observe other safe houses and product projects to help them in their own.
This was a beautiful way to bring the world to me.  I was able to listen to the differences in the sex trafficking trade in other areas of the world.  It gave me a tangible understanding, much greater than anything I could gain by reading a book.
My favorite memory was when we were driving in the van to our outreach project.  One of the women from India was in our group.  Our van made a wrong turn while following another van.  Our group leader was yelling at the driver "turn left, turn left!"  Suddenly the Indian partner, with her heavy accent, belted out "Left, left, you must turn left!"  We all looked at her in surprise.  She simply responded "You all are speaking American to him.  He cannot understand you."  She was right.  Whether it was her volume or her accent, the driver followed her instructions and got us promptly to our destination.

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