International Ministries

Tulips and Trafficking....

April 28, 2016 Journal
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Happy Spring to All!
You know that it’s my favorite time of year in The Netherlands—because the tulips are in bloom!  I love taking my walks for exercise in the Keukenhof gardens—and hosting numerous folks who come to visit. 
 
I call this time of year “trafficking and tulips” because people come to my home from all over the world to learn about human trafficking in all its ugliness—and then are able to re-group, visit the flowers, and realize that God created such incredible beauty—provided for our Delight.  My home provides a comfortable base from which guests can learn from those working in stellar anti-trafficking projects here.  And then we head to the gardens to balance our souls and hearts. 
Our plans change — but God’s plans are perfect!
 
For nearly a year, my calendar said that I was supposed to go to India to attend the board meeting of an important anti-trafficking organization. During the year, I discovered (on good ‘ol Facebook!) that a friend of mine, Monica McDowell, who I’ve known since high school. was now living in Bangalore, where the board was meeting—and she invited me to lead an international women’s retreat over a week-end after the board meeting.  And then, to my dismay, after all the plans were made, at the lastminute, the board meeting site was moved to London!  Ordinarily, I wouldn’t have accepted an invitation to go to India to lead a women’s retreat that didn’t have much to do with anti- was trafficking work—but they were counting on me, the plane reservations had been made—and so off I went after the London board meeting.  And what a fabulous, God-ordained time it!  
The women were from India—and all over the world.  As I shared my own journey through my life, being led by God’s Love, I was honored to hear theirs—some of them heart-breaking.  There were opportunities for prayer and counsel.  And I was blessed beyond measure by their kindness and encouragement.
I was given the opportunity to preach on morning in the Sunday worship service for the wider church community.  I shared about Jesus’ mandate to welcome the stranger, and what meaning that has for us in Europe with relation to the recent influx of desperate refugees.  I’ve rarely experienced such rich and insightful feedback from a sermon from so many of their personal experiences—some, as refugees themselves….          
MATCHING GIFT OPPORTUNITY
If you have considered contributing to my support for the first time—or giving an over and above gift,
From April 15-June 15
(or whenever the funds run out!)
YOUR GIFT CAN BE MATCHED!
Just make sure that you notate 
“Matching funds towards Lauran Bethell Support” on your check (written to IM) or in your on-line gift.   Go to: <www.internationalministries.org> for more information. Thank you!
And a serendipity….in Kolkata!
 
Just before I left for India, I received a message from a young woman who is working with “Freeset”—the pioneering organization which is transforming Kolkata’s red-light district “economically and spiritually from the inside out”. 

Pip Rea has devoted her life as a nurse in service to the women who have come out prostitution and are working in the Freeset factory. She wanted some advice from me about other aspects of after-care, so I decided, since I’m in India anyway, why not just fly up to Kolkata and meet with her face-to-face?!  Her new ministry, “Tamar”, working in partnership with Freeset, is offering much needed physical and emotional care for the women.  I “kidnapped” Monica and we flew up and spent a fully packed day, consulting and listening. 
The day was rich with learning and sharing.  I LOVED catching up with the founders of Freeset, Kerry and Annie Hilton, seeing their fabulous new building and hearing about the “new things” God is leading them into. What a week rich with God’s Surprising Blessings and Opportunities! 
THANK YOU for your prayers:
   
  --for wisdom when I’m consulting with those who are seeking to begin new ministries or expand already existing ones

    --for safety during my upcoming travels
    --for wisdom in choosing the best options with regard to the renewal of my Dutch visa (which expires early next year)
    --for guidance as we plan the next “International Christian Alliance on Prostitution” (ICAP) Global Conference—offering training, encouragement, networking for hundreds of people involved direct service ministries with victims of trafficking/prostitution
    --for inspiration from God for the words to say in sermon preparation for preaching
    --that I can keep up with all the requests I get for advice, consultations, information….for God’s wisdom to know what to say “yes” to, and what to decline 
   --that I continue to have good health so that I can take care of the wonderful people      who will be staying with me in the next several weeks…
 
With great gratitude for:
    --Providential meetings 

    --Financial provision:  The good news is that 96% of my support is committed!  
    --The exponentially increasing numbers of people who are involved with anti-human trafficking endeavors
    --YOU, who care and pray and support me in so many ways!
 
With Love,
Lauran
 
Schedule for the coming weeks:

April 13-27:  At home in The Netherlands, with a calendar wonderfully full of guests!
April 24:  Preach at International Christian Unity Church (ICU) Gouda
April 28-May 2:  ABC of Nebraska Annual Meeting
May 10-16:  Global Consultants Consultation, Valley Forge, PA
May 21-28:  International Christian Alliance on Prostitution (ICAP) Leadership Team planning meeting in my home (coming from all over the world!)
June 9-14:  North Carolina—Board meeting of Make Way Partners
 
FOLLOW MY TRAVELS IN “REAL TIME” ON FACEBOOK!  “FRIEND” ME!