International Ministries

Some Rejected the Gift, but To Those Who Received . . .

December 20, 2009 Journal
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Dear friends,

I never thought that giving a gift could be so difficult. Our outreach team planned to bless the women in prostitution with earrings made by the NightLight women and a little note of a Christmas greeting. We were excited as we headed out with bags full of gifts. It didn't turn out quite as we expected though.

Receiving and Rejecting 

We entered the bars first to bless the Thai women. They eagerly received, opened, and put on the earrings. The other women saw and came running to receive as well. Even the men who work in the bars asked if they could receive. The gifts prepared for the Thai women ran out within 15 minutes. Giving to the Thai women was fun and we regretted not having more to give.

It was a different story when we went to bless the trafficked women. We offered the gifts but most walked past us and wouldn't even take a look. We tried again. They looked at us suspiciously wondering what was in the packages and why we would give them a gift. They didn't trust us and were not going to take a risk. We were rejected a lot. We tried convincing them it was free, it was safe; it was just a gift to bless them. A few did receive the gifts. When they opened it, their eyes lit up and they immediately put the earrings on. Some who had initially rejected the gift then changed their minds and came back to receive the gift. Many never did receive the gift offered.

The Darkness Has Not Understood

As we struggled with the rejection, I couldn't help think sarcastically, "Well, this will make a great newsletter." I was waiting for this Christmas outreach to be inspired for my next newsletter. I hadn't expected it to be so hard. This isn't the good news people want to hear. But, as I wrestled with the experience of rejection of our gifts given in love, I pondered the words of John: "In him was life, and that life was the light of men (and women). The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it . . .The true light that gives light to every one was coming into the world. He (Jesus) was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God." John 1:5, 9-12

Imagine the excitement in heaven as God prepared to send His gift to the world. The gift came to bless, to save, to offer peace, and eternal life. It came with no strings attached; all the people have to do is receive it and all of heaven rejoices. The gift has been given but many people walk past God and his gift; they are not even interested. Others look at the package, admire it, but are afraid of what price they might have to pay, so they turn away. Some want very much to receive it but they distrust the giver and are afraid to open it. Those, however, who eagerly accept, receive more than they ever expected. Their delight and gratitude is contagious and they convince others to receive the gift as well.

To All Who Receive

This year we have been able to offer a gift of new life to many women. 12 Thai women accepted the gift of freedom from prostitution. Many more Thai women are eager for it and are on a waiting list to receive. 6 Thai women and 2 Thai husbands accepted the gift of new life in Christ. Most of the trafficked women are afraid to consider the offer of freedom and though they look at us with longing eyes, their fear and the watchful eye of their agents keeps them from receiving. In May however, two African women accepted the gift and they were able to go home safely to a new life. Since July, two Uzbek women have accepted the offer of freedom from prostitution and the gift of new life offered through Christ.
This past week NightLight celebrated Christmas at two parties: the company party and the church party. The women danced and sang beautifully in worship to God. Many brought boyfriends, husbands, children, relatives, and friends to the parties. Two of the women gave testimonies of the gift they have received through Christ and the joy He has brought them. At the end of the church program an invitation was given to receive prayer. Many (30-40) came forward eagerly to receive. Even those who have not yet accepted the gift of Christ, received a blessing through prayer. Though they didn't fully understand, they felt the presence of the One who gives life. "Lift up your eyes and look about you: all assemble and come to you; your sons come from afar, and your daughters are carried on the arm. Then you will look and be radiant, your heart will throb and swell with joy." (Isaiah 60:4-5)

Our hearts were filled with joy as we saw how many friends and family were invited to see and experience the True Light that we celebrate at Christmas.

NightLight continues to bring the Light to those who live in the land of the shadow of death. We are so grateful for the prayers and support of all who make it possible. May your Christmas season be filled with the Light and may you receive all the abundant blessings God has for you this coming year. We look forward with eager anticipation to what God has planned in 2010 to bring freedom and life to many more women. Thank you for coming alongside of us on this incredible journey. The Light shines!
Annie Dieselberg
CEO NightLight