No hobbits here, but I have made it back again after an eye opening several weeks. I think that I’ve been somehow avoiding writing because I haven’t been ready to process but I can tell it’s time. With some solitude and a little iced coffee, I suppose it’s okay to let the tears fall freely.
First I want to share about Rahab’s Rope, wonderful nonprofit I was privileged to join in ministry. Started by Vicki and David Moore back in 2004 after Vicki heard stories of young women and girls being trafficked for sex, they have three locations in Bangalore, Goa and Mumbai. Additionally, Rahab’s has a store location in downtown Gainesville, Georgia where they sell products that the women create to generate revenue for the ministry.
God has shown them incredible favor and opened up opportunities for them in the darkest of places—their predominant position of ministry is directly inside the brothels and red light districts where they spend time teaching (both reading, English, trade skills and most importantly, about Jesus), loving and building relationships with the women that are enslaved. Rahab’s partners with International Justice Mission to actually rescue women, but they also don’t give up on the girls that are unable to leave, or even more incredibly, not ready to step away from the only life they know.
I can’t speak highly enough about the dedication and bravery of the long term staff that walk into places most of us would consider unthinkable and spend their time serving and loving those the world at large might consider unredeemable. To me, that is the very heart that Jesus had while he was on earth, and it is part of the beauty of our God—there is no one, no one, who can find himself (or herself) out of His sight or out of His reach.
I’ve never been more passionate about a cause in my life, and I stand 100% behind Rahab’s Rope, International Justice Mission and any group of believers who not only are dedicated to helping women in a tangible, physical, practical way, but also recognizes the need for the spiritual healing that only Jesus is able to offer.
The Children’s Home: Mumbai
With specific numbers varying from source to source, it’s estimated that there are between 20 million (Hindustan Times) and 31 million (UNICEF) orphans in India today. Some children are abandoned by their families, some are orphaned by AIDS, some are ‘illegitimate’ children of commercial sex workers (CSW), some are HIV/AIDS positive themselves. Any way you choose to look at it, there are staggering amounts of children who are in dire physical need; it goes without saying that the spiritual poverty is just as devastating.
Partnering with local brothers, who are also pastors, Rahab’s is caring for about 75 children between the ages of 2 and 18, the help of full time national staff and short-term volunteers from the States. All of the children living in the home are either 1) orphans, 2) children of CSW and/or 3) HIV positive. Together, Rahab’s and the nationals have been able to arrange scholarships with different schools around the city so the children are able to receive an education, as well as a more stable living condition that is found at the children’s home. The little ones have their basic needs for clothes, food, shelter, health care, education, loving care and play met—and they learn about Jesus.
I’m not able to post most of the photos I took for safety reasons; some of the children are still being sought after by madams in the brothels and putting images of their faces on the internet is ill-advised. Rest assured, they are completely and flawlessly precious.
Where I come in
As a short term volunteer I spent my time in the children’s home, predominately with the young 5 – 9 year old boys, doing VBS activities, helping the boys get washed, dressed and ready for the day, playing little games and doing lots and lots and lots of cuddling. It’s difficult for the kids to get enough one on one cuddles and attention that all children inherently need, and that is the most valuable thing I was able to contribute during my time. Love given to honor Jesus, no matter how seemingly “insignificant” or small, is never love wasted. It is the very heart of God.
I also had a chance to meet other girls my age passionate about the same things as me, despite the differences in our backgrounds. There was a time where I would have said that two nursing students, a nutritionist student, a missionary kid/psyche graduate, a naval officer, an ex-elementary teacher and myself wouldn’t have anything in common, but we all shared a love for Jesus and a desire to be His hands in a world much darker than the one we grew up in. I can’t explain how encouraging and exciting it was to see these ladies in action each day, and to share a living space with them. We shared so much fun and so much heartbreak over the little ones and the experience would not have been the same without them.
Several of the girls are still over there and you can read more about their day to day activities and learn how to pray for them and the littles ones on their blogs:
Moments in Mumbai – Kaitlin Chance
The Scarlet Cord – Valerie Gomez
(To Be Continued)