So here we go.
The past few years, I have had a huge heart for women trapped in sex slavery. It all started when I read my all time favorite book, Redeeming Love, by Francene Rivers. It is a fictional book, but based of the Book of Hosea in The Bible. It is an incredible story of how God redeems a prostitute. I wanted to help women who felt like there was no hope for them, and thought the only way to make money was to sell their bodies. My heart for this began to grow for this specific area, and I knew it was because God wanted me to do something about it. I had no idea how, but I just began to think and pray about how I could help. My passion really began to grow for sex trafficking and sex slavery once I got to college.
As soon as I heard John Saenz talk about the mIme experience in Chapel, I knew God wanted me to go. I could feel the tug on my heart saying that this would be the perfect opportunity for me to see if missions was something I want to pursue. It was long enough to really become immursed in the culture, I would still take classes and be able to be a student (the only way I knew my parents would go for this), my scholarships would still apply to everything, and my room and board money I normally pay Evangel would be applied while in Bangkok. I began to be a little discouraged when he said they would not be starting this program until FA-11, my senior year, and the semester that a lot of my upper level Math classes are offered. I knew I could not miss those, and I knew I could not take them online/independent study. But then he said they were interested in taking a small group of girls to work with his wife in the SP-11 semester. And the best news, that his wife’s ministry mostly worked with prostitues, sex slavery, and their children. As soon as I heard that, I wanted to sign up. So I went to a meeting to hear more about it and began filling out an application. Out of fear, I didn’t turn the application in right away. I finally finished it and turned it in a couple weeks later. And much to my dismay, the trip was full! I was so sad, I had been praying God would open a door for me to help out with sex slavery and I thought this was my chance. So that was it, the trip was full for the SP-11 semester, the only semester I’d be able to go.
During spiritual emphasis week at Evangel (about 5 months later), I felt God bringing this opportunity back up in my mind. I was confused why, and somewhat upset because I didn’t think it was very nice for Him to lay this back on my heart when we both knew the trip was full. Once again, I doubted God and His ability to be all-knowing. After wrestling with Him about this, I got an email. I was in the library studying about a week later, and an the email said a girl had backed out, and they would love for me to come in for an interview. I was so excited! I knew God was going to work things out. I got so excited, I skyped my mom and Jenna right away to tell them all about this exciting opportunity. (This was not the first time they’d heard me mention it, but the first time I told them about it, they didn’t think I was really serious about it.)
Since I was so excited, I just figured everyone else would be too. The thing with skype is that you cannot hide your expressions like you can when talking on the phone. Immediately after I told them, their faces both were far from thrilled – it was more as a “I hope you’re kidding” look. I knew that look. I’d seen it before. I was so disappointed because I wanted everyone else to share in this excitement with me. But my family obviously looked at it from a different angle, the realistic angle. They brought to my attention all the things going on Thailand with a recent war broke out against the government, among other safety concerns. [I should probably mention that my dad had been diagnosed with Prostate Cancer only a week before-so they were dealing with all of that. How can I argue with someone during such a time like that?] My mom and sister broke the news to my dad, who was ever more upset about this than my mom, he just wanted to keep his little girl safe.
I interviewed anyways on a Tuesday. I receieved an email shortly after saying they would love to have me go. So I didn’t talk to him until Wednesday. He sounded like he had his mind made up that he didn’t want me to go. Myself, my amazing roommate, Jes, and a couple othres prayed that God would change my dad’s heart. Thursday he told me he would support my decision if I felt like I was supposed to go. Friday was the last day I could tell them if I was going or not. So I called Dr. Martindale Friday and signed up. And here I am, 3 months later, on a plain to Bangkok, Thailand.
Thanks to everyone who helped support me on this trip both financially and through prayer! I would not be here without you.