Stop. And. Listen.

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I knew a lady who I thought was extremely rude. Every time I saw her she was frowning. It seemed she just couldn’t help herself. I seriously stressed over how much I disliked this woman. She never smiled which to me is rude. She walked with a limp and I had to assume she was always in pain so it made her unhappy. Still I just avoided her like the plague.

One day, I decided I was going to help in the sex trafficking ministry. So I volunteered and went to the introduction meeting. It was basically to go over some of the things you might encounter and a review of the ministry to see where you might fit into it. When the coordinator of the ministry walked to the front of the room I gasped and said to myself “FORGET THIS!” because it was none other than that rude lady.

_oldbedfinalI started for the door and right as I reached it I heard her first words; “when I was 7 my mother started selling my body to neighborhood men.” (I am crying now even relaying this story to you) I stopped and turned around and stayed. Throughout that meeting I heard how she was, then at the ripe old age of 13, sold to a man who used her for 6 months and then started selling her to others, sometimes three or four others in a day. By the time she was 17 she had suffered a broken jaw, two broken wrist, a broken leg, fractured skull in several places and many other injuries I don’t remember.

By the time she finished her story over three quarters of the potential volunteers had left. She continued by saying that this ministry requires a toughness that most people do not possess. You see a lot and experience a lot. Many times the end result isn’t good. She stated that not everybody fits into every role. If you are a people person who loves to smile and visit with others – this ISN’T the ministry for you. If you like to love others through kindness and hugs – this isn’t the ministry for you. These ‘slaves’ often times are taught to be afraid; so you have to be STRONGER than the person who controls them. Once you have them out then God sends someone else to do the next part.

_JaillonglightHer last words before she left went something like this: “My entire life has led me to be right where God can use me the most. People often say they think I’m rude. If you stayed, you are either one of those people and needed to hear my story, or you have found your place in this ministry.  I don’t smile often and my husband says I am the most unemotional person he’s ever met, but that’s ok because he loves me anyway. So does God. The only emotion I truly think I possess is the anger. One day when my job is done I won’t feel that anger anymore. Until then I have work to do.”

I left and CRIED LIKE A BABY!  I am NOT the person for that ministry. But she is. I was so judgmental of her that I felt shame and remorse for having disliked her so much.

I guess I just wanted to pass along the fact that you never know someone’s story, unless you stop and listen.

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