Today was the first day of training. I went in this morning, knowing that it would be an emotional day. I think tomorrow I'll bring my own box of Kleenex.
Anyway, today was kind of an overview day. An opportunity to meet each other and begin the "getting to know you" process. It's always nice to hear how the Lord led people into missions. Each story is different. Encouraging. Challenging. I'm always amazed anew every time I share my story; each calling in my life has been significant and memorable, with many confirmations along the way. It's not that you forget your own story. I mean, how could you? But hearing yourself tell others about the path God has led you down serves as a stark reminder of the journey. Kind of like collecting seashells to remember a particularly enjoyable afternoon at the beach.
This afternoon once the training was complete for the day, Joyce asked us to think about what we'd learned and try to pick out a few things that stood out to us. For me, the two things that stood out the most were the video clips we watched. The first was a partly animated, partly live-action video clip telling two sisters' stories. One was promised a better life abroad by a family member. The other, by a significant other she had fallen in love with. Both men betrayed them. Sold them into sexual slavery. I can't think which betrayal would be worse: the trusted, favored family member, or that of the supposed soul mate. To be reminded that there are parents, husbands, family members, and friends who would sell their own children, wives, nieces, cousins, and friends into sexual bondage..... It's unspeakable. Unthinkable. As someone who grew up in a loving, nurturing home, I can't even imagine it. How does that kind of pain even heal? Sometimes I am absolutely overwhelmed when I think about even attempting to minister to children and women like this. What in the world makes me think they'd even listen to one word I say?! And yet, I know I'm not really the one speaking to or reaching out to them at all. It's Christ in me. Through me. Praise God, because I am so inadequate to the task.
The second video clip was based on the ministry, "Remember Nhu". The founder of this ministry was in a seminar, saw the pictures, and heard the story about a little girl named Nhu. He was instantly sobbing in his seat, broken with the knowledge of what this little girl endured. And I remember thinking, that was me. That was what happened to me. I was sitting in a seminar, blissfully unaware of the scope of the issue. When I was confronted with it in the form of stories, pictures, testimonies, I was wholly unprepared for the emotional, physical reaction I had to it. I have never been more burdened in my life, my spirit has never felt so heavy. I walked around for the next two days after that seminar in alternating states of passionate anger and shock. I was fired up one minute and sobbing the next. As I've mentioned before, I came home from the seminar and allowed life to distract me. There were children to educate. Trips to plan. More training to prepare for. So many things--not even bad or unnecessary things--distanced me from those girls I'd been so burdened for. Then, in the middle of our July training, we visited a church one Sunday with the intent to speak to the church mission's committee. That was our intention, anyway. But God had other plans. In church that particular Sunday, was a missionary leaving the next day to minister in Bangladesh. Their ministry was to women who'd been forced into prostitution--and the children conceived in that existence. My heart was broken anew and all the same feelings and burdens came rushing back to me even stronger. Just like the founder of "Remebering Nhu" recognized that he simply must do something to help those poor girls, I knew it was something God was putting on my heart as well.
He's yet to show me exactly what role I'm to take in the ministry. But I've no doubt that He has a plan for me in it somewhere.