7: Resiliency (WARNING, this entry contains difficult details)
One of the things that has been most striking during this trip is the strength of the Lord manifested through these young women and girls. As they gave their testimonies over the last two days, we have listened to the horrors that have been endured by each and every one of them. Some have been prostituted, others have been poor and hungry beyond what we can imagine. One jumped out of a second floor window because she was being beaten so badly she preferred possible death by hitting the ground than death by fist. She was pregnant at the time. Several have had people try to kill them; one fled to the jungle to escape her murderous father and remained there for four days alone and frightened. She was eleven at the time.
And yet, they not only endure but are joyous. Trulyfilled with joy. And it begs the question: How can that be? Over and over we heard the same answer to the question. It’s the strength of Jesus. It’s faith, it’s hope. They feel secure living at the Safe House where they receive not only actual food, but spiritual nourishment. They are crowded in together, desperately in need of more space, but they are loved. They are cared for. They are provided for. They are grateful beyond expression.
One of the young women, who is now seventeen, learned about the Safe House and began going to church there even though she was Buddhist at the time, because she could get some food. She not only became a Christian, she brought in her sister who did as well. This would have never happened if it wasn’t for this ministry. We are incredibly blessed to partner with Leik and Irene as they rescue children and young women in singles, doubles and sibling groups. They go into brothels, they hear about children and bring them in before they are sold to brothels, they bring in children who have no hope, they bring in children who are starving. They love them. They care for them. They nurture them. And our Hillside family gets to help. It’s a rare privilege. We are blessed by them as we bless them with our support.
Sarah read a scripture this morning reminding us that He who began a good work will be faithful to complete it. We trust in the Lord to fulfill this promise and have faith that he will. We are all one family. They are ours and we are theirs.