Oh man. so here we go with update number 8…how crazy that i have been here almost 8 months already?!
Alrighty. Well I spent the beginning of the month in Cambodia. Bridget and Don Brewster started agape restoration center, a really amazing home for girls that are rescued out of prostitution in Phnom Penh. They generously offered to let me spend a week learning from their ministry, and they shared some very important resources. Seeing an already established home really renewed my vision for courage house Tanzania, and even sparked a few new ideas. It was so so refreshing to be around people who are fighting for justice and winning.
A couple key lessons from the journey: First, I recognized once again how evil can invade and take over a whole economy…child prostitution is a huge industry there. I feel like god used that atmosphere to put me back in my place and remind me of how incapable I really am to change the terrible things happening in this world. In the same breath, though, I was even more aware of how our god is so big, and he is mighty to save his children!
Before I left Tanzania, a friend prayed over me that I would see things that aren’t seen by everyone. That the deep reality of Cambodia would be revealed to me. So I went expecting to really experience evil, ready for my heart to be shattered. Sure, I did see and hear of terrible things, and my heart ached. But, I believe the Lord answered that specific prayer in a very different way. As I grabbed the kids’ hands in svey pak and jumped over puddles of rain, I saw it. I saw hope and I saw love and i saw joy… I saw the Lord moving in the hearts and the lives of these precious children. I saw light overcoming darkness and it was exhilarating. I saw god’s kingdom coming to earth for a few moments.
..sidenote: part of the ministry in Svey Pak is headed by Alli Mellon and the rest of the hard places team. What a small world! I was so happy to hear of their work and to share life with them for a couple days. Turns out people do leave Mississippi sometimes. (just kidding!)
Ok. So back to Tanzania. I received GREAT news upon my return to the tz…courage to be you is officially recognized as a Tanzanian ngo. It’s a huge miracle that the papers went through so quickly (it takes most people more than a year and ours was finished in a few weeks). Now we can start meeting with government officials to see how they will help us to rescue these girls. Pray for wisdom in who to connect with and pray against corruption. Our greatest desire is to speak with the right people and form the most effective network of government and law enforcement agencies.
I have still been visiting the red light district, but not as frequently as I would like. As far as the women and the kids know, I go there to play with children and tell them about Jesus. Well, I finally took our first really bold step and told one of the women from the area what my intentions are. After a couple meetings it seemed as though mama Jehoshaphat might just be the righteous woman I have been praying for. I need someone that lives in the area to really do some undercover research and answer specific questions that I could never answer. so, i laid it all out on the line and told her our plans. so far so good. she thinks the plan is wonderful and really recognizes the need to rescue these girls. Awesome! I am already seeing the benefit of this partnership as she has confirmed most of our suspicions and even offered new information. She continues to research and I continue to pray that the lord will use our partnership in the most productive way.
In other news, a friend recently sent me some gingerbread pumpkin scented candles from America. I breathe them in and pretend the leaves are changing to a nice shade of brownish yellow because of the fall, and not because of the 100+ degree temperatures. oh Africa.
That’s all for now.