Tuesday, September 27, 2011


Today is a holiday here and I got to take my girl who's not going to be living with us much longer out to lunch. We had a great talk and I enjoyed hearing her new perspectives on life as she's been volunteering at FS as well as some elsewhere for the last couple of months.

She and a couple of other girls who live here have spent some time at famous home started by an even more famous nun for the dying. She described how amazed she was at quite a few other other volunteers who were so moved by the place that they basically could only stand there and cry, bringing little help to those around them. Hannah and her friends tucked in and helped with the physical needs of the sick and did their best to make them smile as well. The girls have been here long enough not to be insensitive, but to be able to put their own pity aside and be moved by real compassion to do something FOR the person.

When we first got here I cried a lot but I made sure that the objects of my pity didn't see. As one local lady told a friend of mine, "You can cry when you're by yourself but you had better not cry in front of those girls. They (girls in the trade) are not allowed to cry so neither can you." Good advice.

Our hearts still hurt for those around us but now we cry less often. Yesterday I visited with someone who had just been to a rural area where a lot of girls are trafficked to our area from and he told me horror stories of what he'd just seen there. Even though he was a foreigner like myself I found myself holding the tears until he left. It's become a habit.

Hannah and I discussed today how it's a process to get there but how it's important to have something deeper in our hearts than just being moved to tears when we see pain and suffering around us. Crying with someone who is crying can be a gift, but tears for someone in terrible circumstances who is too numb to cry themselves is not kind or helpful. It's focusing on our own feelings and our pity just makes them ashamed. True compassion moves us to focus on THEM instead.

What an amazing thing for an 18 year-old to already understand and be able to express!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Happy Birthday FS!

Saturday was FS's 10th birthday. Around 350 people gathered to celebrate 10 years of Freedom for women. It was a great day with lots of smiles, laughter, food, and fun!

Highlights included hearing one women from each of the red light areas around lifting up the women in their area still standing in line. Another was spontaneous dancing during one of the items presented by a group of the women--just because they were happy!

Our Communications Manager worked hours and hours on a video of interviews and footage of the women for the women that he showed during the celebrations. A number of people who have worked at FS in the past flew in for the occasion.

I was on the committee to plan the event and one thing that the process reminded me of was what an amazing group of people that we get to work alongside here! When I asked people to help out I knew they would say 'yes'. The foreigners were up late decorating the night before, they were ready to help with whatever during the day, and they all stayed after the party was over without being asked to help clean up even though they were hot and tired. Why? Because they love the women that they've come to serve.......

All of the women looked lovely dressed in their best and the foreign women put on saris as well. Since I can't post a picture of the women here is one of some of the foreign women there (Hannah, Rachel, and Heather included).

Note: As I wrote the above I got word that the husband of one of our young women killed himself by drinking poison this morning. We are glad to see hope in the district but there's still so much despair....

Friday, September 9, 2011


Adam's had hives for the last 5 days. This after a very painful previous week with a huge sore on his tongue (we think we know the cause of the sore). It's been hard to see him suffer and has made his mom concerned.

I've always believed that when He calls a family He has a plan for the entire family in it. Over the years I've seen people come overseas and usually go when they came with the attitude of wanting to protect their children from anything and everything that might impact them differently than their home culture. By doing that they didn't embrace the positive things that their location had to offer and refused the impact of life change through the negative in their children.

But recently I've been longing for easy access to good medical care so we can figure out what's going on with our son. He has been faithful, we've been figuring things out a bit, and I know that good medical care will come for Adam later.

But something lovely has been happening through this experience in Adam's life! He's definitely a gifted artist. (Not sure where he inherited that from!) He loves to draw but as an active boy he frequently doesn't make time for that.

This week however, he's had a pencil in his hand and art book in front of him for hours at a time. This morning he shuffled up the stairs and almost instantly asked through hive-swollen eyelids, "Where's my sketch pad?" He has Googled difficult cartoon characters all week long and drawn them all. Perfectly. At age 8.

It's been hard to watch him suffer but at the same time a joy to watch a passion ignite in him in the use of his Dad given talents. It's good to remember that sometimes suffering ushers in joy and that He has a purpose in everything. And that through everything we still have a reason to give thanks.

Monday, September 5, 2011


These photos are the perfect depiction of what FS is about to me! This is the courtyard of the main building where used saris have been washed and hung up to dry. The women tear the saris into strips and pieces are used to decorate, line, or create handles for different bag designs.

These saris are like the women of our area. They might be used and a bit worn, but they're beautiful and worthwhile.
And can be transformed into something new!
(Thanks for the photos Lizzie P.!)