a lot of people have asked what started all of this, why i would "choose" to go to clubs and hang with strippers, why hang out with prostitutes in red light districts. i didn't really "choose" this all chose me. i started volunteering with invisible children in 2004. thru a string of events, the relationship ended (amicably), and i moved on. i went to india (the first time) with faceless international. when i started researching sex trafficking to go on the trip, i just knew this was my thing.
when i knew that children were being kidnapped to be soldiers, everything inside me said "oh no no no no. you can't do that". when i learned that women and children were being sold for sex.....every part of being said "ohhh hellll no". and i needed to be a part of the movement to do something about it.
i don't remember everything i said when i was at church that one tuesday when i talked about resc\you, but i remember calling out people who came back from trips and went back to normal..like nothing happened. i feel like a hypocrite at times when i remember that message. because i went back to the way things were and a bit worse.
i got safe
i let mortgage and bills and everything else sit front seat.
that's not me.
my weeks are now counting down until thursday. every part of me comes alive when i'm in the clubs chatting and sharing a meal. even though it's only happened once. the door officially closed on a job opportunity for me and i'm actually happy about it. because i want to pursue this fulltime. saying that means my life is going to drastically change. and i'm more terrified than i've ever been.
for those who never got to read my story in 'not a fan', i found where i had posted it online a few years ago. i started crying in the coffee shop i'm sitting in because i remember feeling every one of these words. and they ring truer now.
You never think a taxi ride is going to change your life. I was halfway through my second trip to India, sitting in a traffic jam in the center of the Red Light District. The sun that was beaming through my window was suddenly blocked by one of the workers. Her sari was tattered and torn and her arms were bruised. She started speaking to me and then pushed her baby girl through the open window of the taxi. My friend and interpreter said that she was telling me to take the baby back home with me. This woman was so desperate for a better life for her child, without even knowing the life I lead. I am not a mother, but I can only imagine how much she loved that little girl that was in front of me and how much more she wanted for her. I will never forget that moment.
She was not the only woman that rushed the taxi on my numerous visits to a shelter in the Red Light District. This shelter was a place for the children of sex workers to come so they didn’t spend their entire day in the brothel. This shelter helps provide education and a meal for these children. Words do not do justice to the time that I spent with those children. They taught me so much about what community means and what love is really about.
I met a young boy there, named Bittu. Bittu became my best friend right away. He would sit right next to me and hold my arm as I walked around day to day. He would walk with me to the taxi at the end of the day and I would watch from the window as he walked into the maze of brothels. At night, I would think about how the rest of his day went. Was he safe? Who was around him? What did he need? What is his future going to be like? He didn’t attend school, because he wasn’t sponsored and his mother could not afford his education. He had a bright smile and was always so happy when we would visit the shelter.
When I got back from that trip I was determined not to let life get back to normal. In most of my experience, people come back from trips such as these and always fall back into life as they know it. I knew that following Jesus meant doing something and doing it now and totally stepping out of my comfort zone. This is very difficult for me. Not to say that I would miss any material things, but that I would have to step outside of my life into something that was unknown to me. I come from a family of workers, and I didn’t know how what my heart was telling me and what I believed was God’s calling on my life was going to classify as “work”. Also to rely on the help of others to make this calling a reality was a total stretch of self. I didn’t have (and sometimes still don’t) a clear vision of what I was supposed to “do”. To this day, there are times when I yell at God because I am so unsure of what He wants out of this and I have to be okay with that.
I started a non-profit foundation called Resc\You with my friends that had shared my first India experience. To begin with, our goal is to raise funds to send the children of sex workers to shelters and boarding schools where they can be educated and nurtured. With the help of SpendYourself and many others, we were able to raise money that will be distributed later this year when I return to India. We’re building from there; we have more goals and plans. We’re still collaborating and praying.
I know that this is a huge problem to try to find solutions to and I do not expect to find any one solution. This whole experience challenged everything I believed about comfort zones. The constant question I had to ask myself was, ‘why am I uncomfortable?’ and continue to challenge my own boundaries and limits. The further I went into the lives of these women and children, the more often I encountered a darkness that I had never dealt with before.
John 1:5 says, “The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it”. Following what Jesus calls us to do means going to places of darkness and being a light even if it’s difficult and uncomfortable. My name is Amos. I am not a fan.
i still miss bittu and think about him
i got comfortable again
i really hope that baby is alive and thriving
i know my first steps to take
now i just need to take them