Anna's Story, The Exodus Road

Anna’s Story: Part Two – Slavery – Laos

We’ve already journeyed with Anna through the process of being trafficked and today we venture deeper into part 2 of Anna’s story which involves her actual slavery. As you can tell from previous posts, I’ve chosen to write this story from the perspective of someone who knows Jesus. I did this for many reasons including understanding the reality that this can happen to ANYONE as well as imagining some of the struggles that might come in trusting that God even exists when one finds themselves in a situations like this. Yet, even amid the struggles and doubts Anna can draw hope and strength from Christ. However, we must remember that for many “Anna’s” around the world, a faith and hope in Jesus Christ is a completely foreign concept. They have absolutely NOTHING to draw hope from. As you read the next part of Anna’s story, pray for those, like Anna who do know Christ and ask God to encourage them and give them strength in that faith today. Also pray for those that don’t know Him, ask Him to work in miraculous ways to reveal Himself and His love and His hope no matter how hopeless their situations may seem. Lastly, continue pray for the many organizations, including The Exodus Road, who are working every day to rescue “Anna”s, and be a part of God restoring the world to himself. Check out the link above to see information about the latest rescues and ways to get involved.

Anna’s Story: Part Two – Slavery

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March 6, 2013
I’m so sick of this place, God. I don’t even feel like a human anymore. I never know when someone is telling me something true or when they’re just manipulating me into another awful situation. I tried so hard to get out of it. I demanded to be released… that only resulted in more… well, let’s just say I won’t do that again. Will I be here forever? I saw what happened to Alina and Regina when they tried to escape. I don’t have any money anyway and haven’t seen my passport since it got handed off to that Chinese guy on the bus days ago. So even if I got out, I wouldn’t make it far, especially since I kind of stand out here with my white skin. I guess the only way to survive is to just stay here. I don’t know how I’m going to go on. I don’t know if you can even hear me anymore God after all the things I’ve done but these few minutes that I get to sneak away with my journal every few days are the only thing that keeps me going so I guess you must be real in some way. If so, then help me do whatever they want me to do so I can stay alive.

March 10, 2013
Sunday. You would think being trapped in these dark rooms I’d loose track of the days, but I can always tell when it’s Sunday because we start earlier on Saturdays. I should be sleeping right now, especially with another long night ahead of us, but I can’t help but think of Marta, Ruslan, and Liza who are probably walking into the Cathedral in St. Petersburg right now. Do they even know I never made it to America? I can picture Pastor Peter at the front getting ready to teach from the Your Word. Oh the Bible. I wish I still had mine, but I’m so thankful for Mrs. Alena who told us to hide it in our hearts like Psalm 119 says. Sometimes some of those verses are the only thing that gets me through another night. Ones like Isaiah 41:10

“Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God, I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

If I’m honest, God it’s hard to believe that you are here, with me, in such an awful place. I don’t know if you’d ever come into a place like this, so dirty, so broken, but I remember the stories Mrs. Alena told us… I think there was even one about you talking with a prostitute. If that’s true, Jesus, then maybe there’s hope for me?!? Help me trust this is true and give me strength. One of the other verses from Psalm 103 she had us memorize says you forgive and heal and redeem our lives from the pit. I need you to save me from this pit, Jesus!

I wonder what hymns they’re singing at church today; I keep thinking about this one verse from one of my favorite ones:

Christ the Victorious, give to your servants
rest with your saints in the regions of light.
Grief and pain ended, and sighing no longer,
there may they find everlasting life

I can’t wait for that day Jesus! Bring me out of this pit I’m in. End the grief and pain. Give me a new song to sing because the only one in my heart right now is one of hopelessness and despair. And as I head off to sleep tonight, give me rest and strength, because I don’t know if I can live this life one more day.

Anna's Story, The Exodus Road

My Friend Anna…

Today, as part of my commitment to blog for rescue, I wanted to begin telling you the story of my friend, Anna. While Anna’s story I’ll write about here on my blog is fictional, the events of her life are reality for many in the world. Anna’s life represents one of the 27 million slaves The Exodus Road and other organizations seek to rescue from the horrific reality of human trafficking. Anna could be your daughter or sister or friend. Anna could be you. Each Monday, we’ll get a glimpse into Anna’s prayer journal and see how easily someone can find themselves trapped in a horrible situation with no hope for rescue… but hold on Anna, RESCUE IS COMING!

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Anna’s Story: Part One – Sold and Trafficked – St. Petersburg, Russia

February 18, 2013
Dear God,
Well, I turned 15 today. Part of me wants to thank you for those 15 years of life. The other part is just filled with worry of what the years ahead will hold. But anyway, it was a good day! Mama even managed to take some time to have a small celebration with me, Marta, Ruslan, and Liza before heading out for work tonight. We didn’t have much to celebrate with, but ever since I started working at the bread shop 2 years ago, at least we have food on the table most nights and we thank you for that God.

Be with Mama tonight, God. I know I pray for that every night, but worry about her so much. I worry what the men will do to her; even worse, I worry that she won’t find enough men who want her and then she gets in trouble with the owners. Does she really think I believe the lies she tries to use to cover up what she does? I see the bruises. I see the pain in her eyes each morning when she comes home. I guess I should be used to it by now, but I feel like there must be a better way. I trust that you love us, Jesus, but sometimes it’s hard when I see what mama goes through. I also worry so much for my younger siblings. They won’t believe the lies much longer either, especially Marta, she’s old enough to start putting the pieces together. Soon she’ll probably have to go out and find a job as well. I had to give up my dreams of going to college, but I don’t want her to have to too. God, please, show me how I can help. There has to be a better way. Help us, Jesus. Help me find a better job to be able to help my family!

Well, I should probably go check on Liza and Ruslan. Keep us safe tonight God and bring Mama home safe as well. Bless the next year in my life and thank you for one more day to be alive.
In Jesus’ Name I Pray, Amen.

February 21, 2013
Oh Papa! As you know, Mama had a bad night last night. She couldn’t even pick up little Liza as she ran to give Mama a hug when she came home this morning. Something has to change. She can’t do this any more. Pastor always says to pray big, bold prayers. So God, I ask tonight for you to give me another job, one that makes more than the one at the bread shop. Mama can’t keep doing this night after night and as the oldest I need to do more. So give me a job, Jesus. In Your Name I Pray, Amen.

February 24, 2013
Jesus!
Could it be true?!? Are already be answering my prayers for something more I could do. It was just two days ago when I asked for a better job, one that would give us enough money so Mama wouldn’t have to keep going out night after night. And there it was, on my way home from church this morning, the sign in the window of the store:

Nanny’s Needed!
Includes a Free Trip to America
Pay: $1000/month

I couldn’t believe it God. It seems too good to be true, but I know how to take care of kids I’ve taken care of Marta and Ruslan and Liza since papa left. I’ll be a great Nanny. And I’ve always wanted to go to America. And the money… Oh Jesus… with $1,000 a month Mama could quit her job and move with the children to a safer place in town. She could get the medicine she needs for all the illnesses she’s gotten from having to sleep with all the different men each night. She could get better! And maybe I’d be so good, I could get a raise and then bring them all to America to live with me! I can’t wait to tell Mama when she gets home! Keep her safe tonight, Jesus. In Your Name I pray, Amen!

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Come back next Monday for more of Anna’s story.

The Exodus Road

Freedom Rocks!

In the month or so I’ve been an official Exodus Road blogger, I continue to find myself amazed at the work of The Exodus Road organization. Every single day they work to rescue people out of slavery and restore their lives!

To think that there are more slaves in the world today than at any other point in history is a mindblowing statistic. However, those at The Exodus Road don’t let that overwhelm them. They simply do what God calls them to do each day and lives are changed because of it.

They currently are in the process of raiding 7 brothels in India at which they believe they can rescue 40 women and children who are slaves there. Thanks to the support of many, they were able to raise the funds needed for these raids in about a week! From what I’ve gathered, they have investigators on the ground all over the world ready to save even more as soon as money becomes available.

Check out the video below to find out how else they celebrate the lives of each person rescued each month and my last post about Human Trafficking for ways YOU can help fight slavery in the world today:

#FREEDOMROCKS from The Exodus Road on Vimeo.

Bekah's Heart, Devotional, The Exodus Road

But what can I do?

Tonight at a Bible Study I attend we were talking about the book of Nehemiah. One of the things I’ve always loved about the story of Nehemiah leading the people to rebuild the walls of the city, comes in Chapter 3. There it talks about how they were able to accomplish the task by simply working on the part of that wall that was right outside their home. Together they were able to complete this incredible task in only 52 DAYS!!! Even those that opposed them were scared as they realized God’s hand at work in accomplishing the impossible.

Like Nehemiah, we live in a world that is broken. Everyone can see it. And often times the issues we see in our world seem too big to accomplish and building a huge wall around a city in 52 days while being attacked by outsiders seems like a piece-of-cake compared to the enormity of the brokenness.

One of these issues is human trafficking. A few days ago I mentioned that God was calling me to “build my section of the wall” by joining “The Exodus Road Blogging Team”. At least once a month, I can use this space on this blog to speak for those who can’t speak for themselves. To tell their stories and pray for their restoration.

Today, on the 20th day of Human Trafficking Awareness Month, I invite YOU to do YOUR part in building the wall and restoring the brokenness in our world. Below you will find MANY ways to join in the fight for the 27 million who can’t fight for themselves. Find a way that works for you. Together we can restore brokenness! (And let’s encourage each other in the process. Post in the comments what YOUR part of the wall looks like! How are YOU going to help restore what’s broken?)

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WAYS TO FIGHT!

PRAY!
God’s Word makes it clear that His heart breaks for the broken and oppressed. He also makes it clear that when we pray according to His will, His heart, He WILL hear and He WILL answer. Let’s bang on the doors of heaven on behalf of those who find themselves enslaved. Here are the top three prayer requests right now from The Exodus Road:
1. Safety for our investigators– especially as they start an intense month-log operation with many nights of surveillance back to back.
2. Unity among the communities where they are working. For continued strong relationships with government and NGOs on the ground so that work can move forward.
3. Hearts and healing of rescued victims, currently in after-care facilities.

PUT THIS PHONE NUMBER IN YOUR PHONE!
Human Trafficking is not just something in “some other part of the world.” Sadly, it happens in our own communities everyday. My heart breaks to think that some of the youth I work with could end up caught in some form of sex slavery, but the reality is there. Another organization that works to fight human trafficking including efforts in the US is called the Polaris Project. One of their resources is a 24 hour resource hotline. You can call this hotline to report a tip, connect with anti-trafficking services in your area, or just to request training or anti-trafficking resources. It only takes about 30 seconds to put this phone number in your phone. You never know when you might be in a position where you might need it. You might save someone’s life just by having this phone number accessible!
1-888-3737-888

GIVE!
Because The Exodus Road has had successful connections in the last few days with local police in the area of SE Asia where they are working, their anticipated workload is multiplied GREATLY. While this is GREAT news, it also means that they will need more funds in order to make the raids a reality. Here are a couple ways to give to The Exodus Road:
* Buy an awesome t-shirt. ($22.50)
* Sponsor an investigator for a night ($35)
* Donate any amount.

LEARN!
My guess is that one of the biggest ways human trafficking has become such a big issue is because we’re just uninformed. We’d rather turn our head the other way or maybe we just never heard about it. Here are some ways to get informed about the issue and begin to advocate for those suffering.
* If you’re in the Buffalo area, come to the University at Buffalo this Friday night for an event called “Unbound” that will talk all about the issue of human trafficking.
* Read the stories and facts on any of the following websites:
The Exodus Road
The Polaris Project
* Explore what organizations are fighting this issue in your own state, and see how you can get involved.

So how are you joining in the fight? Share it in the comments as a way to encourage others and to remind us all that together we can make a difference!