Sunday, July 10, 2011

Starting with Baptism

Last Sunday morning a light rain fell, the air was cool and three women from Freedom Home were baptized in water!  Andy was honored to stand in the blowup kiddie pool dressed in the standard light green double breasted robe that Pastors wear for baptism in Moldova and do the dunking.  In addition to our three, the final youngest sisters of a Christian family of five were baptized.   We celebrated the baptism of all five.

In Moldova baptism is a big deal.  You also become a member of the church when you are baptized so you need to be 16 years old and show the pastor that you are walking with Christ.  That is different than in America, but there is nothing wrong with it. 

So we had surprises with the Freedom Home girls that were baptized.  It ended up that Tina*, Masha* and Nica* took the step into the cold water, professing that they will live for Jesus all their lives. 

The day was very emotional for me.  What excitement to see God's work in their lives. 

Two years ago Masha lived on the street with her daughter.  She'd been trafficked in her late teens ad later became the mistress of a man who fathered her daughter.  Eventually she left him, returned to Moldova, but had no way to make a living, no place to stay. 

What a change we've seen in her life!  She's gone from always angry to trusting God with everything.  Her eagerness to step into the water was a joy to observe.   Later that afternoon, after we'd all eaten all the pizza and French Fries we could hold, I sat to talk with her.  We talked about how she continues to struggle with abuse and anger.  It was all she knew of parenting as she grew up, being raise by an angry, abusive grand-mother.   We are asking God to change her, to give her a heart that is soft toward her daughter.

Tina has only been in Freedom Home since January, but she came with a heart hungry for God.  Immediately she began to worship and pray and seek God.  When she came, she wanted just a place for a few months, to get on her feet with her one year old daughter.  She planned to return to marry a man she'd known as a teen.  But now she realizes how abusive he was to her and she knows that she deserves more than daily beatings.  She craves God in her life.  The joy radiating from her face as she stepped into the water made me cry.  What a heart after God.

Each of these girls, including the two from a Christian family, has made a proclamation.  It is not the end of their lives with Christ.  Now they must walk on, continue to grow and be changed in His image.  This is just a beginning.

Please pray for the women that God would continue to help them grow.  That he would help them be good mothers. That He would help them to trust Him to lead them where they will go.

In an earlier blog I wrote that Amy* also wanted to be baptized.  She was not baptized this time, not because she couldn't learn the Scriptures, but because of areas of growth that she still  needs in her life.  Please pray for her. Pray that God would touch her and change her also.

Last week we celebrated!  It is a celebration to see God redeem a life and restore it.   So many see the hopelessness in trafficking, but we see the Hope God gives! 

Monday, June 27, 2011


To most people in the west, "trial" means a hard time in life.  To our women at Freedom Home they have experienced trials like few others have faced.  But trial has another meaning--it also means having to go to court to convict somebody of something.  The women at Freedom Home have sometimes been in court at a trial 3, 4 & 5 times to testify against their traffickers or abusers. 

This past week Essie* finally testified at the trial of her trafficker.  He was someone she knew.  His family pressured her for months on end to drop the charges and let him be free.  They made her feel guilty for being the one to bring him to trial, as if he hadn't done anything.  The weeks before the trial were horrible.  She thought of nothing else except the upcoming trial.  She testified with him sitting in the court, watching her. 

This week Dorrie* speaks in court against the man who used her.  She is nervous.  He has been convicted now two or three times and yet is free because of corruption.

The judgements will not come easily or quickly for either of these men.  The courts move very slowly.  Pray for Essie & Dorrie as they await the results.  Pray for courage for all the women at Freedom Home who stand in court, waiting for justice to be served.  Pray for strength and pray for peace.

This coming Sunday Tina* & Amy* will be baptized. We are so excited and are rejoicing in what God is doing in their lives and in the lives of the others in the home.  Continue to pray for all we are doing in the home. 

Saturday, June 18, 2011

A New Mind

This past Sunday as I walked up to church Amy* came running to me, smiles filling her face.  She threw her arms around me and exclaimed it is just a few weeks until her baptism.  She is so excited!  Every Sunday she and Tina* arrive at church early for classes for baptism. They are memorizing Scripture and learning Truth.  While preparing for baptism, they are also preparing to become members of the church.

We are so excited to see the first of two Freedom Home girls make the step to baptism.  They have committed their lives to Christ and want to walk with him all their days.  

Today I ask you to pray for them.   The memorization and work is not hard for Tina.  She has a great mind that works well.  It is another story for Amy.  She struggles with the affects of a life of abuse.  Each week she tells me the baptism is imminent.  She doesn't really understand the weeks and months, but she understands that Jesus loves her and she can quote Genesis 1:1 to me. 

Next week they both take a test for baptism.  Please pray for both of them.  Pray that the Scripture they have learned will go deep within their hearts and lives.  Pray for Amy especially that these things will stay in her mind.  It is so difficult for her, but she wants more than anything to have a closer walk with the Lord. 

Pray that Amy can learn and remember what she needs for baptism.  And pray that God would give her a new mind in this time. 

Thursday, June 09, 2011

Painful Toes

Yesterday I slipped coming down the stairs just as I was getting ready to go for my morning walk.  Ouch!  Something hurt in my foot.  I put my socks and tennis shoes on anyway and went to walk.  About half-way through the walk my little toe on my right foot began to scream in pain.  By time I came home, my toe was swollen and black and blue.  I don't know if I broke it, sprained it or just bruised it.  It is currently taped to the next toe, and moving toward healing.  But this morning I won't go for my walk.  I don't want to feel that pain with every step.  It is such a small injury, but it hurts so much.

This painful toe can often be like unhealed hurts in our lives.  Each step makes us cry out in pain.  Little things happen and it sets us off.  Little reminders come that tell us life is not and has not been perfect.  It comes with pain.   At Freedom Home we deal with this almost daily.

Masha* has been rejected most of her life.  Freedom Home is safety, acceptance and peace to her.  She has a week to finish in her practicum experience and receive her cooking degree. She just isn't getting there to get it done.   We talked about this the other day.  It became like a painful toe--i"f I finish, will I have to leave the home?  Where will I go?"  Anger to others and her daughter spilled out to others.  

A short-term worker in the home reminds Mary* of her mother, so she tries to manipulate and control and guilt the friend who has come to help her.  Daily she tells people she will leave the home.  It's a little pain in her that spills out to others.

What we have come to understand at Freedom Home is that while trafficking was awful and horrific, we are not just working to heal the pain there.   We are working to heal a lifetime of small painful moments that have bubbled up and exploded with the addition of the pain of trafficking.

Please pray for the little things that remind the girls of their pain.  Not that these things would just disappear from their memories, but that God would come in and fill them with peace and His presence.  Pray that they would also be able to mourn about these things to God and receive help from the God of all comfort.  The Bible says, "Blessed are they that mourn for they will be comforted."

Please pray also for a director for Freedom Home.  Our director resigned a few weeks ago.  I know God has this situation in His hand.  Please pray for His leading and direction at this time.

Thursday, June 02, 2011

Training for change

This week has been intense.  We have guests here to help the work at Freedom Home.  Kyle is a Pastor and Christian counselor who trained the staff last year and is doing so again this year.  He is also counseling both the staff and the girls in the afternoons. 

In the past month we've taken in one new woman into Freedom Home and have another one or two who may come in the next few weeks.  We see wonderful change happening in the lives of the women.

One thing Kyle teaches us is that we can only give out as much as we have taken in from God.  We can only help someone move toward change if we are being changed.  We can only help someone through their pain if we are being changed.

Please pray that we as staff are moved by God and changed so that we can help others to change their lives. 

We want to see the souls of the brokenhearted stop bleeding.
We want to see the captives be freed.
We want to see those who mourn, leap with joy.
We want to exchange beauty for ashes. 
We want to see a spirit of praise instead of despair.
We want them to not be trees blowing in the wind, but strong oaks of righteousness.
We want to see generations that have been ruined rebuilt and restored to be whole.

We want to display God's splendor through their lives. 

Please pray for us for these next few days.  Pray that God will move in our lives so that we can move in the lives of others.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Easter Reflections

Tomorrow we celebrate Easter. This is the biggest Moldovan family celebration of the year.  I've been trying to get on here to post for three days and have not been able to because our internet has been so slow.  This happens every year at this holiday time--everyone is calling and talking to family members and friends abroad.  So many have left Moldova to live in Western Europe, America and Canada. 

Most of the woman at Freedom Home do not have families to celebrate with.  The memories they have of  holiday celebrations are full of drunkenness, fighting and abuse.  It isn't a great memory. So this Easter we found Christian homes for each of them (like we did at Christmas).  One woman returned to the family where she celebrated Christmas!  This has been a great connection for Amy* and her daughter.

A few weeks ago I spoke about this idea with Tina*.  Tina is the newest in the home.  She is smiley and full of life.  After speaking she became quiet and sullen.  She went to the window, looking out to hide her sadness.  A staff member and I went to her to talk with her.  She is afraid of rejection and remembers only horrible holidays.  We assured her that we would find a place that was right for her.  Yesterday she took her one year old and went to her Easter family.  Pray for a beautiful weekend for her, full of love and acceptance. Pray for her to understand the joy of celebrating Easter focused on Christ, not drunkenness.  Tina has her one year old in the home with her.  She also is mama to a 5 year old and would love to regain custody of this daughter.  Please pray that God will make this miracle possible.

Mary* also dealt with a lot of fear going to another home.  Mary has been with us since last summer.  She is often quiet.  Not a lot has changed in Mary.  Recently we found she has addiction issues.   This past week she admitted that whenever there is prayer or Bible reading, she wants to run and scream and hide.  Mary isn't just bound by addictions, but these other things give evidence of demonic strongholds in her life.  This holiday she is in the home of a wonderful family in a village.  We've worked a lot with the churches in this region and they are full of amazing people.  We love the family she is staying with.  We shared with the pastor the issues we face with Mary and his response was, "No problem.  We will pray and fast for her and ask God to break these problems in her life this weekend." 

These weekends are so important for the women.  It is important for them to find love outside Freedom Home.  It is important also for our churches to learn to care for our women.

As you celebrate the Lord's resurrection this weekend, please pray for the life and freedom for our women at Freedom Home.  Please pray that this weekend will give good connections for the women.  Pray that more of our churches would be open to taking the women during the holidays. (It was a struggle to find homes). Pray that God continues to heal the pain of the past in each of their lives.

Thanks for praying. 

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

A Day for Women

Today is International Women's Day. This is the  European equivalent to Mother's Day, except we celebrate all women.  Today at Freedom Home we went out for a pizza lunch.  The women ate pizza until they were stuffed.  Later we returned to the home for ice cream and cookies, and one staff member prepared a special dish for supper that she loves to treat everyone to.  We had a great time together celebrating being women. 

But I have been thinking about how many women are not celebrating today. They are still trapped in slavery, forced to prostitute themselves daily.  Today I asked the girls at the home to pray especially for those who still need freedom.

I also am praying for the freedom of the souls of each of the women in the home.  With some I'm seeing great things.  They are finding freedom. The Bible says, "He whom the son sets free is free indeed."  Others have not found that true freedom yet.  They are freed from their trafficker and are free in body.  But only Christ can give them the freedom in their spirit.

So today, on a day we celebrate women, please pray for those still in bondage to the trafficker.

And pray for our women in the home.  Pray that they can find true freedom in their souls from the painful memories of the past.

Happy  Women's Day to all!