I am so blessed to work with these girls that have been rescued from sex trafficking, and to be able to allow God to use me to be a part of their restoration. At the same time
sometimes it can be extremely difficult.
I wanted to cry when we asked if there were any questions at the end of a training session and the youngest of the girls asked me
“what do you do if your hands are tied behind your back?”
Holding back the tears I all I wanted to do was hug her and tell her that that will never happen again to her, but the truth is you just never know. Another girl asked
“what do you do if it’s a small bed and you are hanging off the edge of it?”
Yeah, I would not classify my job as always being easy, but it is worth it in so many ways.
Day one with these girls is always the hardest, they don’t know who I am and they definitely don’t trust me. They have been through so much, how can I possibly gain their trust? But what’s amazing is that within just a few days everything changes. How? God!
Day two I would love to say is a lot better, but it’s gradual. The first day we did wrist releases, it is effective and empowering and at the same time is minimal contact. By day two we move onto more techniques that have minimal contact but more than the first day. We do side head- locks and escape from a grab from behind. These girls start to slowly trust, but more importantly their confidence in themselves starts to grow, and you can see it.
On the third day this week, something phenomenal occurred; as I walked in I was greeted with a huge hug and asked how I was doing. Now this may not seem like much, but this particular girl has never said a word since day one, let alone initiated any physical touch. Again I had to hold back tears, as she held on to me tightly as to say thank you. I later found out that this is also the girl who is rapped by a family member over and over. I wish I could show you pictures of her from day one and day three. I could swear she grew a few inches, but that could just be because she is standing taller. Her confidence is growing and you can tell she is becoming empowered. Her smile today helps me to remember why I’m here.
Not everyday is easy, there are no sick days. We travel a lot, which is hard to keep a schedule for your family. You miss your home and your bed, especially when your not feeling well. I have to home school when we’re on the road which can be hard when your working too. I have had the flu for a couple of days now and we have had to pack up everything and change hotel rooms too. And still manage to keep our daughter on track with homework, and make it to train the rescue girls again today. But I wouldn’t trade my life in nor change anything. Nothing compares to the hugs I receive and the gratitude from each and every girl we’ve trained. Nothing compares to the life lessons and the love my daughter receives form being a part of this journey with us. (you can see her getting her hair braided by one of the girls above). I’ve been told many things such as, “Now I know I don’t have to take it anymore.” And “now I know that if it happens again, that I don’t have to just lay there, that I can fight back, thank you for showing me this.” My eyes fill up now as I write these words, and yet I know that unless you’ve seen this transition then words just aren’t going to cut it.
None of this is because of what Jon or I can do, it’s all by God’s hand. I am proof that if He can use me then He can use ANYONE. It’s not what you or I are capable of doing. It’s what God can do through you, if you are willing. It’s not always easy when you step out in faith, but if it were easy, then it wouldn’t be called faith.
Today is day four, and the girls are full of energy, confidence and excitement! They are sore (and rightfully so) but they don’t want to give up, they know that what they are learning can literally save their lives. Tomorrow is our last day with these precious gems. I can’t wait to come back and work with them some more in the near future. And I will be praying for them everyday. You can pray for these precious gems too, and matter of fact you can also sponsor them.
Day Five is always hard, because we have to say good bye. It’s one of the hardest parts of this job. Even if it’s only for a little while it’s still hard. They trained so well this week and today was no different. They all have come leaps and bounds. Today they get tested. It’s where for one minute they fight standing up using the techniques they have learned this week to escape, and then one minute on the ground (with me). It can be very intimidating, and scary but they always do great. From very lil to no trust at all these girls are now running up and grabbing us and trying to take us to the ground and wrestle while laughing and having fun. Many even telling me detailed things of their past. A trust and bond like no other has formed.
Today was a very hard day as far as emotions, there was one girl (we’ll call her Faith) that as she stood up to test immediately started shaking her head no and ran off the matts. I sat next to her and explained that we would never force her to do anything she does not want to do, and that she does not have to continue. I told her that we were here to empower her and equip her incase anything “out there” were to happen but not to create fear but rather empower her with confidence. With some relief in her eyes she nodded and then began to cry and tell me how she had a vision from her past and some horrifying things that happened to her, and that she got scared and couldn’t do it. I then explained a little about my past, being rapped and how flash backs have always been a part of my life as well. I told her of my journey and how God has changed my life from victim to victory. I don’t know what all I said, and I never tried to push her toward going back on the matts, but suddenly I noticed she started reaching for the gloves, I was confused and probably asked ten times if she was going out there, I reminded her that she didn’t have to. I cried, (although I tried hard for her not to see me cry) as I slowly fought with her on the matt, she did amazing. I don’t think there was a dry eye in the room. Words cannot describe the amount of joy when she was done whooping my rear end, let alone the confidence that grew in her. It was hard to say good bye, but since we are only 3 hours from Chiang Mai we will most likely see these girls again pretty soon, but it’s still hard. There has formed a bond over the past week like no other. Today is a lil easier since we will see them Sun afternoon. We have been invited to join them for a trip to the 3D museum. We are so excited and can’t wait, especially Cy Cy.
Jon and I aren’t the only ones to build a bond with these girls, Cy Cy has been like a lil sister to them. They give her things, spend time with her, and laugh with her. In one of the pictures you’ll see Faith braiding her hair. It touches my heart that she can touch theirs in a special way.
Today we went to the museum with the girls. It was an awesome time. Faith spent the majority by my and cy cy’s side, but I noticed she wasn’t getting in any of the pictures with me or the girls. When I asked her why she said she wasn’t pretty enough. I must admit that I lost all capabilities of uttering words for a second or two, but then the Holly Spirit took over, and I shared with her as well as most of the other girls about how beauty is not measured by height, or looks, but by how Christ see’s us. I’m not sure she was thoroughly convinced but we did take a lot of pictures together and we all had a great time. Thank you everyone for your support for SWAT Ministries. God is using it to reach so many precious people.