Each day of Vacation Bible School this summer the children tossed spare change and dollar bills into the wicker basket. Little hearts and hands moved to do something in response to what they were learning and now know. That 200 women are forced into slavery a day in India.
And that isn’t even the full story.
When you can’t tell young people the atrocities carried out on other human beings, you know you’re dealing with evil.
We called it slavery, modern day slavery. But it it so much more than that. Two hundred women are forced into the commercial sex trade every day in India alone.
This fact also moved Vicki Moore to do something as well about ten years ago. She began to search for more information and learned that every year, over four million women and children around the globe are trafficked into prostitution and slave labor. She was then led to start a ministry, Rahab’s Rope. The ministry provides food, shelter, and protection; a place of education and training; a place where the whole person is ministered to spiritually, physically, mentally, emotionally, socially, and financially. It is a place of hope; a place of transformed lives.
I’d like to share about Rahab’s Rope on a regular basis here on my blog in order to bring attention to the horrors of Human Trafficking and to a wonderful ministry that purposes to help and heal those caught in it. Below is a beautiful post on loving without hesitation posted by “MJ”, a staff member. I pray that it will encourage you to learn more about Rahab’s Rope. I also pray that you will be encouraged to rejoice in the love of our father in heaven and his ongoing work of restoration and renewal in our world…even within the sex trade in India.
In India, there are beggars and street kids everywhere. It’s painful. Small children with visible bugs crawling through their hair approach you, using sign language for “food”. A ten year old girl approaches with an infant in her arms. Women without legs drag themselves across your path. Every shape and size, they follow you to your car and knock on your windows. They approach you on the train. They poke you on your arm… over and over and over. And when you don’t respond, they begin performing: back flips, cartwheels… anything to up the ante. It’s truly heartbreaking. Especially in light of the fact that panhandling is often just another form of trafficking. You can purchase a child for less than the cost of a cow. And there are doctors who will perform amputations on perfectly healthy children because it increases the amount of revenue they can generate.
We were walking one day when she approached us after lunch. Instead of handing her money, our team lead slipped her arm around her shoulders. Momentarily startled, Rose* nestled in beneath her. She talked and entertained and became our tour guide. It should have been more obvious- and I suspect that to our team lead, it was. It was just another performance. No different than the back-flips or the tight rope act. All with the expectation of receiving when she was finished. Our team lead chose to love her anyway… determined, again, to break through the performance.
With the children, it’s easier. Get down eye level. Make a joke. Ask them their name and they are pulled out of “work mode” pretty easily. With Rose*, it was much more sophisticated; more ingrained. What was playing out before us, without us even knowing, was a battle of determination between these two women- each determined to break the other first. It was a heart breaking exchange. With Rose*, she took on what I can only assume is her daily role play: I’ll be whatever you need me to be. You could watch each transformation as it took place: I’ll be your entertainment. I’ll be your friend. I’ll be your project. And our team lead: determined to break through each act until there were no more left, continued to demonstrate love and patience and was nurturing. She clung to the hope of making a connection.
When Rose* finally realized that her efforts were not going to yield the outcome she was hoping for, she became disillusioned and desperate: She pleaded. She waited. And then she got angry. “You’ve wasted my time. Do not come back.” The act was over. You could see our team leads human heart fold into itself. She ached… and she was hurt. I told her I loved how she continues to do it anyway… and then silently wondered if she really does. Does she still do it as often as she did 18 months ago? 6 months ago? 2 months ago? I know firsthand what continued hurt and disappointment and lack of response can do. It hardens you- it makes you jaded- it makes you wonder if all of your efforts are in vain. It makes you want to stop and sometimes, despite all of your best efforts, a part of you does. In a word? It makes you hesitate.
But that is all based on my own first-hand experience… from work or from ministry. This time, I watched it unfold as a bystander. And looking at Rose*- I saw myself. How many times have I performed for the Lord? Fulfilling my “Christian Duties” with the expectation of a return on my investment? How many times have I stood before Him and demanded a response? I’ve gone to Church! I’ve prayed the prayers! I’ve read the Bible! I’ve loved my neighbor. I’ve tithed my 10%! Where ARE you?! Why aren’t you giving me what I’ve asked?How many times have I turned from him and said “Forget it. You’re not worth it.”
It’s never been quite like that, but might it just as well be? I may have never turned from Him completely- but have I ever said “Fine. You’re not answering, I’ll figure it out on my own? I’ll find my own way? My own solution. My own devices. My own comforts.” Isn’t that what I’m doing every time my need for security sets in and I respond to it? And if it broke my heart to watch the hurt that our team lead tried not to show- how much greater is the pain the Lord has felt? Pain that I, myself, have caused? I’m humbled, again, by just how great His love for us is. Constant. Unwavering. Without hesitation. And we are such a hard species to love.
I am so incredibly thankful for this ministry of Rahab’s Rope and for the courageous group of young women who reside together in India. Through their example, and the Lord through them, I re-learned discipleship. And I was reminded that we are called to love without hesitation. Life is hard and thank God for His grace because, in it, we’re allowed to grow. At one point or another, we’re all a little bit like Rose*. But love prevails and hearts soften. And so, because of the relentless, consistent, unhesitant love of the Rahab’s Rope team, I also got to stand witness as the Indian women embraced love. And then they began to emulate it. They hugged. They shared. They fed. They washed feet. They reached out. Ministry is a partnership. It’s a beautiful, and sometimes a painful, dance of give & take, teach & learn… all in the freedom of grace.
MJ – Venture India Volunteer (The Mumbai Project)
- for the protection of this individual, a pseudonym has been used.
For more information on Rahab’s Rope, please visit their site by clicking on the logo below:
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