"We live on purpose which give us perspective. Perspective leads to vision and vision creates passion. Passion produces pain, but pain is the transition that leads you to the purpose. And since Christ is the purpose, it's worth everything." -UnknownI stopped crying.
That was an indication in my first year of ministry that something perhaps was wrong. If you know me, I generally speaking am a "wear my heart on my sleeve" kind of person, open about my feelings and not ashamed to show them. I am never afraid to cry either...I just couldn't. Blame it on shock turned to numbness.
Once in awhile someone says something like, "I just can't imagine how your work affects you, seeing such hard things week after week....or day after day." They typically embrace me and are on their way...and so am I.
I know that the environment around me is coarse to the senses. Not simply the ministry to children who have been trafficked, raped, abused and seem to be on the path to all of the above. But even this foreign culture. A culture that is wailing for freedom and a people that risk dying to have a future out of the waste they are abiding in. It is traumatic.
When you see, hear, smell and touch trauma often- you change.
Little by little...you change and I really have.
I am coming up on 2 full years of working with children at risk and having had completed hundreds of prayer walks on dark streets. Recently I have begun caring for girls ages 12-17 who are receiving aftercare from sex trafficking. I call them "the princesses of God" inspired from this rug in the safe house (in photo) and the revelation of Jesus as our great King.
Two years is a "big deal" because over 65% of ministries to children at risk fail within the first 2 years. Many missionaries simply burn out and can not handle it. Learning this last year, I started making many adjustments to remain healthy in a ministry context of grief and loss and to prevent falling into that statistic. I fight to have a sense of "normal" since to my left and right nothing is the norm. I must find normality and balance since I am committed to this ministry and on a grander scale- this is my life, not a mission trip.
Well, I am happy to say and I am praising God because of it...
I made it 2 years!!!
I realize that no matter how hard this journey can be- the difficulties, the frustrations, the constant processing of suffering, I am fully convinced that there is nothing better I can do with my life than what I am doing. Not what I have chosen, yet a calling God has chosen for me.
Since last year I have processed much of what was suppressed and I can cry once again. (No body has to worry there.) But in this honest and transparent moment, I covet your prayers as I move forward.
Here is how you can be praying:
For the Zone Kids and families: Protection in their vulnerability, provision in their needs, to know God and stand for righteousness in a community where truth is not represented.
For the Princesses of God: To know God's truth, complete healing, hope for the future, peace in the process of restoration.
For myself: Protection, strength, balance, a deeper knowledge of the Word and comfort.
I thank God for all of you who support me in various ways and carry this ministry to reach the little ones, the families of Tijuana, the princesses and the kingdom of God.
Keep your eyes on the prize...it is worth everything.