So, as anyone who knows me even remotely well could tell you, I can be very stubborn and, like most people, I am definitely not someone who enjoys being wrong.
Most of the time.
However, today is not one of those times. Today I was proven wrong…and I couldn’t be happier! 🙂
When I returned to Ukraine to fight human trafficking, it was with the understanding that I would very possibly be one of very few people working here in this field. It was a very overwhelming and daunting thought – to have to pioneer, on my own, such a huge fight against such a huge monster. But, I was determined that, if that was what needed to be done, then I would just have to do it.
Today, however, that understanding was proven false…and in a HUGE way! I met with some incredible Ukrainian ladies today, whose organization (the Western Ukrainian Center “Women’s Perspectives”) has been battling against human trafficking in this country for 12 years! And they are beautiful, and strong, and wise, and compassionate, and are covering so many bases and helping so many people.
In the past 12 years they have provided job training to countless women as a way of preventing women from falling for “employment opportunities abroad” scams and becoming victims of trafficking. They have developed relationships with everyone from police officers and border guards – training them to be able to identify possible trafficking victims; to attorneys and judges – offering rescued victims justice against their traffickers. They have reached out to the villages of Ukraine, where most of this country’s trafficked victims come from – to educate village government officials on the signs of someone who has been trafficked. Many times, victims manage to get home, but are so traumatized and live in so much fear, that they don’t talk about what they’ve been through or even let anyone know what happened to them. So, the village is trained to be able to identify victims, and can then direct them to this organization where they can get counseling, judicial help (if desired), job training, financial aid, etc.
I spoke to them about my desire to go into the schools, and it sounds like it may turn out to be a bit more difficult than I originally thought. They have done some educating in schools, but said that there is so much bureaucracy in the Ukrainian school system, that it’s very difficult (near impossible) for anyone not associated with the Ukrainian school system to do any kind of education within school walls. But, I know that my God is bigger than the impossible, and I believe with all my heart that He can give me any and every contact and connection that I need to get into the schools to educate Ukraine’s children! No bureaucracy is gonna stand in my way!
After talking with these women, it also sounds like there’s a great opportunity for me to work in the area of getting church leaders and congregations involved in the fight. When I mentioned that part of the work I had been doing with my friends in Nashville was educating churches, the ladies got very excited. They said that this is a very big need in Ukraine, and getting churches to get involved in helping has been almost impossible for them. (Which, honestly, is disgraceful and upsets me more than I can tell, and if I had time right now I would more than gladly jump up on my soapbox and rant for a bit. But, I don’t (aren’t you relieved? 🙂 ), so maybe I’ll save that for another post.)
This Wednesday and Thursday (Sept. 22-23), Women’s Perspectives is hosting a conference in Lviv about human trafficking, and I have been invited to be one of the speakers! I am indescribably honored, and feel indescribably inadequate to share the stage with such amazing women. But I am so thankful for this opportunity, and will absolutely do my very best to honor my Jesus and to honor the millions of trafficking victims around the world!
There’s so much I still have to learn, but right now I am just so high up on Cloud 9 from having met these amazing women, and so thankful to have the opportunity to be partnering with them against this unfathomable evil.
I would be so blessed, and so grateful if you would pray for me! Some things that you could specifically pray for are:
- Wisdom to know what to say at the conference this week.
- That God would fill people’s hearts at the conference with passion for justice. The women I met with informed me that there will be some church leaders in attendance, so please especially pray for God’s Spirit to move their hearts.
- That even now, in advance, God would begin to cultivate favor for me and connections with Ukrainian government officials in the area of education – the higher up, the better. No prayer is too big for God!
YOU are such a huge blessing, and I can’t thank each one of you enough. Every time you read our blog, send us encouragement, pray for us, spread the word about our ministries to your friends, etc – it just means more than we can tell you! So thank you!…a million times over, and with a million prayers that God will supply for every need that you have according to His grace and wisdom!
Big Love in Jesus…