Jeff and Karin’s 2nd and final trip blog from Cambodia
The little girl’s shirt says it all: LOVE WINS! That’s what we are reminded of here in Cambodia. Although our enemy seeks to destroy lives, God is in the business of saving, redeeming and restoring them! That’s what the Human Trafficking & Slavery Ministry is all about.
These 2 weeks have been very busy seeing once again how God is using all of us together to affect the lives of young women and children who are so vulnerable to the evil schemes of men. Let us share a few ways that’s happening. We think you’ll be encouraged.
One way is through our outreach to young women who work in karaoke bars. Having no skills but culturally burdened with the supreme obligation of caring for their parents and younger siblings, many teenage girls flock to the city of Phnom Penh to find jobs. What they find, however, is that the only thing a young woman is valued for in this economy is her body. Through low-key outreaches at their places of employment as well as through a weekly radio program, many girls are offered friendship and love. Once a relationship of trust is established, we gradually share the gospel and provide them with options for escaping the sex industry. This week we were privileged to participate in the annual Valentine’s Day Party, where about 150 young women, some with children in tow, enjoyed some fun and listened to words of value and love.
Another way is through prevention programs, such as the sponsorship of children in villages in Kandal and Kampot Provinces, a few hour’s drive from Phnom Penh. There we’re educating children and parents about the realities of human trafficking and slavery, and working on ways to economically lift these villages, through tools like micro-finance, to eliminate the desperation that leads many to send their children to work in the sex industry. These children are learning that they have value in the sight of their Creator, and that He wants a relationship with them.
Looking into the faces of so many beautiful, innocent children is such a joy, but a much greater blessing is the hope that, because we stepped into their lives with the love and compassion of Jesus, they will be saved from the horrors of trafficking and many will be led into a relationship with their Heavenly Father!
Our last examples of how God’s love is winning here in Cambodia are as joyful as they are tragic. Esther, pictured below, has Down’s Syndrome. Her mother didn’t know how to deal with her as a toddler, so she rented her to men in her village (we’ll spare you the graphic details). Her mother never even gave her a name, referring to her only as “Fat.” When our partner rescued her a few years ago when she was about 6 years old, they gave her the name Esther. Then, for the first time in her life, she spoke and said, “My name is Esther.” She has been blossoming ever since, and likes to give visitors a hug.
Hannah, below, is another girl whom they rescued. Severely abused sexually as a toddler, she was unable to walk due to her injuries. With love, medical care and physical therapy she is now learning to walk. Both girls, and 3 other rescued children, are now being cared for in a quiet home away from the bustle of the city where they are tenderly nurtured. (Note: Esther and Hannah are not their actual names, which have been hidden for their protection and to avoid re-exploiting them.)
Words fail us sometimes as we try to explain the way you are touching the lives of precious children and suffering young women here in Cambodia. We say it a lot because it’s true: Your partnership is what enables us to touch the lives of those we’ve just told you about—and many others.
Love is indeed winning. Thanks for giving yours.
Together with Him,
Jeff and Karin Trotter
Directors, Human Trafficking & Slavery Ministry