Short-term Mission Trips: Take a Year to Change the World – And Yourself (Guest Post)

December 8, 2011

Guest Posts, Missiology

{Editor’s Note: This is part 2 of a guest post written by Laura Davis, who, with her husband, Nate, spent a year on a short-term mission trip with Converge Worldwide in Manila, Philippines discovering the needs of young women caught in the snare of human trafficking and building bridges to meet some of those needs.  They are available to speak with you concerning trafficking and how you can help.}

Read Part 1 – God’s Sabbath Rest Encounters Human Trafficking

Continued from Part 1…..

When my husband and I decided to spend a year working with trafficking victims in Manila, we knew it would be a year of change—in our ministry, in the world we would return to and in ourselves.

We had the privilege of volunteering at a wonderful, life-giving organization called Samaritana. Founded and directed by Filipinos, Samaritana focuses on getting prostituted and trafficked women off the streets. Within its tranquil walls, women escape the constant noise and daily grind of Manila and begin anew. They receive education, counseling, spiritual development, job-skills training, assistance for their children and more.

a Samaritana community time

Jill began working in prostitution as a teenager because her family was desperately poor and there were no other jobs available to a girl who had dropped out of school after first grade to help out at home. She numbed herself to the daily shame of exploitation, and couldn’t see a way out. She left the sex trafficking bar when she became pregnant and shortly afterward Samaritana found her.

When we met Jill, she was shy,withdrawn and uncertain about the possibility of a new life. But over the course of a year, she made friends with the other women, eagerly soaked in Bible studies and the education that would finally advance her beyond the first grade and emerged as a leader. The month before we left, Jill told me that she wanted to stay at Samaritana and help rescue women like herself.

“We grew less attached to possessions and more attached to people.

prayer at Samaritana helps with the healing and shame

As we grew to love Jill and many others like her, we also noticed changes in our loved ones back home. Friends who had previously been uninterested left insightful, thoughtful comments on our blog, proof that they were being challenged from across the world. Both sets of parents came to visit, and my husband’s were so moved that they organized a fundraising dinner in Massachusetts called “A Taste of Samaritana.”

Upon our return, some family and friends wanted a one-sentence answer to the question of how our year had been while dozens of others invited us to speak about our experiences both publicly and personally. Our Oakland church made a new commitment to fight local human trafficking. A few people took the challenge of a Sabbath year personally and began asking what it would take to do what we did.

Perhaps the greatest changes, however, occurred in us. During our year away we experienced a depth of faith that we never knew was possible. We learned to listen to God and marveled when we heard Him speak. We grew less attached to possessions and more attached to people. We can no longer hear stories of the poor and exploited without feeling compelled to help.

Although we came back to joblessness and a struggling economy, we realized with changed hearts what the value of a dollar is, considering that just $100/month gets another woman off the streets and into Samaritana.  We thought we’d come back to anxiety about the future. Instead, God has given us a profound trust in Him.

It’s as if God is saying, “you gave me a year; let me show you how much more I have to give.” It’s a gift that humbles us as we have received a life that has become richer, sweeter and more meaningful than we ever could’ve imagined.

Suffering, Perseverance, Character, Hope and the Missionary Life

Are You Growing Your Spiritual Muscle?

Opportunities to Serve With Converge Worldwide

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  1. God’s Sabbath Rest Encounters Human Trafficking (Guest Post) « FULFILL - December 8, 2011

    […] Search for short-term mission opportunities with Converge Worldwide Share this:Like this:LikeBe the first to like this post. This entry was posted on Tuesday, December 6th, 2011 at 12:00 pm and tagged with compassion, human trafficking, missional, sex trafficking, social justice and posted in Missiology. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. « Conversations in Mission: Ordinary Missionary, Committed Pastor, Gracious Giver Short-term Mission Trips: Take a Year to Change the World – And Yourself (Guest Post) &ra… […]

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