“Come, all who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost” Isaiah 55:1
This has always been one of my favorite Bible verses, and sums up my time in the States well. This trip has been perfect, exactly what I needed. It has been like drinking from eternal waters after a season of extreme thirst. I came completely broken, weak, with no money and nothing to give, but was honored and feasted like a queen among royalty. Love was poured out on me without measure. I came here feeling like a failure, feeling lost, and feeling completely rejected and unloved. I felt like a throwaway. I was a casualty of war crawling my way up through the rubble. I was grasping for anything that even mimicked genuine love, connection, or comfort. You see- I live in two worlds back in Kenya.
My real life is filled with many good things, but more often than not it’s filled with a lot of pain. Freedom isn’t free. It’s a process. And it costs. So I’m constantly faced with lots of children being raped, non-stop abuse cases, seeing the ones I love suffer extreme poverty, sickness, almost unbearable heartbreak, having to pay staff weather there is money or there isn’t and losing sleep over the stress of that, losing battles I was sure I’d win, and a paralyzing loneliness like I’ve never felt before. So, to escape from all of that, I also have my other life.
My other life is filled with going to the other side of town (the uppity side) to escape it all. I eat good food, drink good coffee and cocktails, hang out with friends and just try to live as close to what I think a “normal” life is. The problem with that is: my life isn’t normal. So when my friends ask “how you doing, girl?” I can never really be honest. I feel awkward and embarrassed to answer that question honestly to a bunch of people my age with “normal” jobs because my answer always feels so much more dramatic than theirs. And I feel like they probably get tired of hearing “I’m really sad because another one of my kids was sold by her mother to a john for less than a dollar” every single time we hang out. So I close myself off, swallow my feelings and try to be normal, and say something like “Oh girl, I’m good! Just tired. Went to sleep late last night.” And I suffer alone.
So when I got to the States I had a belly full of sadness and a deep need for connection and love. I had told God that I couldn’t go on like that and needed to feel His love replace the sadness- the kind of love that makes laying down your life to go into the darkness to lend a hand to children being used as sex slaves so they can use it to pull themselves out seem like nothing. As always, He was faithful.
From the time I got off the plane I have had people hug me and not let go for several minutes. I never get that in Nairobi and physical touch is my love language. I have cuddled with friends on beds and couches as they rubbed my back or stroked my hair and just listened without judgment. I have been taken for countless breakfast, lunch, dinner, and cocktail dates. Food and drink is my other love language. Strangers have written generous checks to relieve some of the financial stress I’m constantly under. I’ve laughed, I’ve cried, I’ve brunched. I’ve been showered with “I love yous” and “ you are not alones”. All my empty places have been filled. I feel like myself again. And I am so grateful.
Now I sit in the Boston airport waiting to board the flight that will carry me back across the ocean to Kenya. I feel many things. I want to say that I am excited. But the truth is that I am more afraid than excited. I feel so much better and don’t want to go back to being sad again. But what is life for if I just crawl into my Western bubble of comfort and luxury and hide from the scary things in the world at the cost of children’s freedom? My freedom is tied up in my children’s freedom. I’m not free until they are. None of us are free until all of us are. So we must pay the price no matter the cost. I must go to battle even when I know there is a high possibility I will be wounded in it again. But that’s what happens in battle and that’s the price we pay…
So as I board this plane I ask for your prayers. Two big prayer requests:
- Comfort and love- that God would comfort me and I won’t feel alone. That I would feel Spirit constantly with me. That when I need the love and comfort of a physical person that I would use technology to reach out to people who genuinely love and care for me and not revert back to looking for comfort in people who are not safe for me.
- Safety- please pray for safety as I get back to work. Safety while in the field as well as in our home. Physical and spiritual protection for the girls, my staff, and myself.
I will actually be right back to the States very soon for some meetings, fundraising, and more healing time before my team and I head back into the brothels to recruit more girls in a couple months. So see you all very soon! Thank you so much for such a beautiful time!