I know what I’m gonna face when I do certain things and go certain places, and it is always uncomfortable. I’ve learned to recognize the lies, and understand the darkness that I feel, but that doesn’t mean I have any magic words to make it go away. It takes training to endure and press on and in and go ahead.
Sometimes it is discouragement and I question my being there. I often suffer from sleeplessness and sometimes I get uncharacteristically anxious about a lot of different things not even related to the work at hand. I just press into the Father, as hard as I can; and understand that these thoughts are unbidden, these anxieties are not truth, these feelings are false. I plead for and receive peace, joy, and strength.
This was a return trip to this place for me (click here for past note) but I was so grateful to have Betsy, my friend and colleague , along with me this week. She agreed that the place felt dark and oppressive, and both of us struggled a bit. We worked together so well and helped me so much!
We traveled to a place in central China to spend a few days with an organization (99.5% indigenous) that does outreach, aftercare, and long term social and vocational development for women in the entertainment industry. I am told that 100% of these women are trafficked by horrible means, some as young children, to work in “the business”. One woman, the office assistant, college student (journalism major), and our “go-to woman” for the week was once a trafficked person. You would never know it now!
Betsy taught about reproductive health matters and her props and models were outstanding! I wish I could post the look on the faces of the women as they were shown photographs of a baby in the womb at 8 weeks old, then 12, then 20… Astonishing!
I taught a little on faith and mental health, as well as some specific topics on substance abuse, PTSD, and depression. One (very) full day was spent doing medical examinations for the staff, the girls in the shelter, and other “family” members. Betsy was busy doing female exams and I took care of the other problems, including a seriously bad asthmatic 1 year old. Sometimes it wasn’t so much of a physical problem as it was of anxiety, or other worry, so I reassured them physically then asked Father to help with the rest.
Every place in China has a different environment of the “entertainment industry”. This time around, I did not go to these places, but it was evident that this business is thriving there. When we checked into the hotel (of a reputable national chain), within the envelope that held our electronic keys there was also an advertisement for, umm, certain services. Every night we got similar cards shoved under our door advertising the same thing.
One evening, I heard someone at our door. I opened it up and there was a young man crouching down trying to pass more cards under our door! A-HAH! Wow was he surprised! Good thing I don’t know very strong words in Chinese but he certainly knew that I was scolding him and very angry and disappointed in what he was doing. He apologized and tried to take back the card. I grabbed my camera as he went on to the other doors and snapped this photo of him running down the hall.
It is truly a tremendous blessing and encouragement to serve these people in this way. They are hard-core followers working hard and sacrificing more than I am to push back the darkness and bring as much of the Kingdom to their city as they can. Of course there is opposition. We expect it and train to deal with it. The blessings are also magnified in the process.
PS: don’t forget to think about that guy and the women he is selling.