Tuesday, June 8, 2010


I’m home once again and convinced that a year has never gone so quickly or been so defining. While I am enjoying catching up with family and friends, I find myself missing South Asia already. I hope to have the opportunity to share with many of you personally about our work and how structural change is coming- slowly but surely- to places that need it most. And of course, this year has held so many fun memories even beyond the work… survive highway travel in auto rickshaws- check; make beautiful jewelry with rescued girls- check; master the art of making chapatti (almost) check; see the Himalayas- check; learn how to get rid of lice- check (and check).

As mentioned in my previous posts, this year has held many moments of struggle with God regarding the injustice that seems to reign in some places in the world. Yet, as I reflect on this year, I feel affirmed that God has ordained that we be His hands and feet to bring justice to those who have been denied it. I have learned that when men and women of God stand in the gap on behalf of the oppressed, He is faithful to give them the power to bring justice for those who have been denied it. Of course, this doesn’t always happen according to our timeline or plan, but it’s happening. As my final update, I want to share a story of one of our cases that illustrates God’s goodness in working things together for good.

A few months ago we received a referral of a young woman whose mother had threatened to send her to a brothel after she completed her school exams. This was no empty threat- her mother had trafficked her younger sister two years earlier to a brothel in another city where she had been forced to prostitute to support the family for the past two years. After receiving the information and investigating accordingly, our office worked with another IJM office to rescue both sisters the same day. As with many of our young clients, the 17-year-old girl rescued from the brothel presented as hostile; she wanted to go back to her family, despite their abuse and exploitation.

It took about two months to have her transferred to our city where her sister could meet her. Their initial meeting went terribly, and we all worried that the older sister would regret her decision to go against her family and seek justice for herself and her sister. Our office continued to support the older sister while praying for these sisters diligently.

The week I left, I had the privilege of supervising the second visit between these sisters along with one of the IJM Social Workers. I watched in amazement as the girls slowly and calmly warmed up to each other, began telling stories, and laughed together. Another IJM client living in the home also joined, and we found that this girl, fifteen years, had been speaking words of truth and comfort to the younger sister- her new best friend. The result had been a transformed attitude in the young sister. A victim of commercial sexual exploitation herself, this girl encouraged the young sister to learn something while in the aftercare home and to consider what her life would be like if she returned home. She shared her own story of betrayal by her family and was able to minister to the young sister in a way that no one else could. What had meant to destroy was being used to bless.

As we drove back to the office, I was overcome with the manifestation of Isaiah 61:1-3 that I had just witnessed. I continue to revel in the beauty of God’s timing and divine appointment of this friendship.

“The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion— to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor.”

I would be remiss to sign off without thanking you one last time for all your prayers, encouragement, and support over the past year. I feel so incredibly blessed to have had the opportunity to see God bring beauty from ashes, give gladness for mourning, and bestow praise instead of despair… all for the display of His splendor. And I ask that you would continue to remember the victims of human trafficking for commercial sexual exploitation and continue to support the work of justice however God moves you to do so.

With love and thanks,



Holli said...

ann we are PRAYING for you as you transition back.... I really can not begin to imagine the burdens you carry, the heart ache and how I am sure you will wish to go back...
I am sure that God will continue to use you in HUGE WAYS!!!

Kevin and Erica said...

I am so thrilled by the experience you were able to have and the lives you were able touch during your time in India! And I know you will continue to impact lives and continue the quest for justice all around you, wherever God leads you. I hope that sometime in the future, i can hear more about your time there. I'm sure i could learn a lot from you!
love, Erica