Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Prayer Circle + As Our Own

This little girl was recused before her future was stolen from her.

Does the term Prayer Circle ring a bell yet? I'm hoping to get the word out more and more -- the Prayer Circle is a prayer meeting that meets once a month to pray for our sisters around the world. And not just any sisters, but those who are at-risk, in bondage, involved in sex trafficking, and more. My first "awakening" of the intensity and seriousness of this issue came about in February when I heard the president of Women at Risk speak at our Women's Ministry Luncheon. To read the recap, go here.

The Prayer Circle was birthed from that Luncheon. A women's ministry volunteer, Diana, decided the least she could do was start praying for these sisters and ask God to stir the hearts of more women...eventually hoping the a full on movement would spring up from our church. I've seen the movement start to get going and I'm hopeful we'll soon have some tangible ways the women of Moody Church to get involved in very practical ways.

In the meantime, As Our Own is in full force! As Our Own is a community-driven movement in India that rescues vulnerable children from certain enslavement and exploitation, caring for them as our own. For over five years now, Moody has supported As Our Own. Here’s a moving account from their work. Below is a story I want to share with you for two reasons: (1) I want you to know how you can get involved with As Our Own -- the favor of God is clearly on this ministry and they are always looking for more partners; and (2) you can start making a difference by joining our monthly Prayer Circle! For details on when we meet, click here. There are no strings attached to the Prayer Circle, just come and pray and expect God to move. 

A Story of Courage, provided by As Our Own Staff

"Many of our girls have been rescued from the certainty of second-generation sex slavery. Their mothers are the ones who are enslaved in brothels—they are the ones with horrific stories of abduction and abuse into the trade.

This is true for Prema.* And so we look back to her mom’s story, to see how her mom became enslaved.

Her story starts when her childhood ended, when she was just 11 years old.

One day after school, she and a friend went for snacks at a roadside food vendor, as was typical for children in her area. These two precious girls had no idea they had been targeted by predators. Their snacks were laced with drugs, causing them to become delirious. As they stumbled about, the predators watched and waited for them to collapse.

Three days later, the drugs Prema’s mom was given wore off. She awoke a prisoner in a brothel. She endured the horrific torture and sexual exploitation that constitutes the sick initiation of a new sex slave.

In time, Prema’s mom discovered that she had been relocated some 2,500 miles across India—the same distance it would be from New York to Los Angeles. She now lived in a large city with people who spoke a different language, held captive by heartless and cruel men. She had no hope of escape and no ability to figure out how to return home again if she tried. Her captors told her she had to work off her debt. Their threats, intimidation, and torture made it clear there was no other option.

When Prema was born some years later, her mother had no way of getting her daughter out of the red-light district . . . at least, no way on her own. Hope for Prema was as nonexistent as it was for her mom.

But then Prema’s mom connected with As Our Own staff members. That’s when hope ignited, because Prema’s mom knew that if she entrusted Prema to As Our Own, her daughter would have a chance at a life outside the district. She made the incredibly difficult decision to place Prema in our family.

The love, care, education, and training that Prema is receiving thrills her mom’s heart. Prema’s mom is now an inside advocate for As Our Own—she encourages other moms to also entrust their girls into our care.

Prema’s mom is an unlikely advocate for hope, but that’s what makes her witness all the more powerful. She knows firsthand how the extreme poverty in India places girls at great risk.

She knows, as we do, that these girls will face a dark, horrific future—unless someone intervenes.

God has opened the door for As Our Own to rescue girls before they are exploited, giving us the privilege to care for each one as our own—for life. It is a privilege to love and invest in the lives of these children by giving them a new family, loving care, an English education, opportunities to nurture gifts and talents, a college education, and more.

In addition, As Our Own works to break the societal patterns that produce treacherous situations by strengthening communities through pastors, leaders, and churches that can take the transforming love of Christ to those in need. We are building strong communities through our Lighthouse Church Network and training strong leaders and pastors at our Hope College, all to break these cycles for girls in future generations.

For more information about As Our Own or to get involved, contact Sherry Quam Taylor (operations director for As Our Own—and also a Moody-supported missionary) by e-mail at info@AsOurOwn.org or visit www.AsOurOwn.org."

*Pseudonym used for safety reasons.
  
This moving account shows that caring for women at risk is a huge undertaking. Let’s seek the Lord together in how He might use us at The Moody Church to be His advocates for women and girls in treacherous situations. Hope to see you at the next Prayer Circle!

Simone

1 comment:

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