International Ministries

"Showing Up"... Because???

December 6, 2009 Journal
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We didn’t know who or how many would come to the meeting.  We had the barest outline of a program.  We had no way of predicting what would happen.  Communications with our local organizing committee were difficult, sometimes impossible.  All we knew was that God called us to be there, to sponsor a conference and so we “showed up”.  And what we experienced at the International Christian Alliance on Prostitution (ICAP)/Central Asia regional conference was truly God’s Work.  I can’t tell you the name of the country we were in because of security concerns.  Just know that it was a 12 hour travel jaunt for me from The Netherlands.  And it was worth every minute of lost sleep to spend time with some of the boldest, bravest, most creative and beautiful Christian women I’ve ever met.  

Thirty-five of them “showed up” for 3 days to the conference, which came out of a vision that our ICAP/Central Asia leader, Ann Marie Isenring, had last year.  Thousands and thousands of Central Asian women are victims of human trafficking each year, ending up in sex-tourism destinations and wealthier countries all over the world.  They are vulnerable because of poverty, deceit and abuse.  The Good News is that despite obstacles which would discourage most people, there are women who are entering into the darkness, offering Hope and Healing to victims and those at risk.  We had the opportunity to meet some of them, hear their stories, see their ministries—and be inspired by their courage and trust in God’s Call and provision for all they do.  

We felt led one day to spend a significant period of time talking and praying about the obstacles which impede grass-roots ministries in this part of the world.  I would have guessed that finances would be at the top of their list, based on my experiences in other places in the world.  But I was astounded that I was wrong.  Yes, finances were mentioned—but it was way down on the list.  Higher on the list were such issues as corruption and organized crime, lack of governmental support, difficulties with communications.  Near the top of the list, and the topics which elicited the most discussion and concern were those which involve the local church:  church members who don’t want to have anything to do with these “dirty women and children”; pastors who offer no support to ministries; Christians who cannot show the kind of love and acceptance that Jesus Christ showed to the outcast of his own society.  It was painful to hear—but unfortunately, I’ve heard the same on every continent.  We wept together, and we prayed—that we would receive wisdom and courage to challenge the obstacles—through God’s great Love and Mercy.

Thank you….for your support of God’s work through me, which gives me the great honor of witnessing God at Work in distant lands.