It's strange to think my time here in Lesotho is nearly halfway over. Within days I will be boarding a plane home, when it seems like just yesterday I was boarding the plane here. It's difficult to put all of my experiences and emotions into words, I'm not sure I have finished completely processing all of it anyway.
Last night changed the entire course of my expectations for being here and for my life in general. I was given the opportunity to join a team of people from a church in South Africa, who have spent past 7 years building a street ministry. The sole purpose of the ministry is to build relationships with girls who work the streets of the city where each of these members live and work, to eventually provide them a haven of rescue and an opportunity to start a new life with Jesus. It was the scariest/most amazing thing I have ever done in probably all of my life. As we prepared to go out, I truly did not know what to expect, walking into the jaws of darkness. The team are native South Africans, meaning their first language is Afrikaans, a derivitive of Dutch. I found myself with a group of people I had never met before, all speaking to each other in a language I had only heard once or twice in my life, yet I felt so connected to them and I know that was only made possible through the Holy Spirit uniting His body.
As we went out, the fear and apprehension I had been experiencing, melted away. After about an hour of trial and error, we met Nicole*, a girl willing to listen to what we had to say. Nicole was so young, so far away from her family, with so much pain in her eyes, desperately crying for help, in search of love and significance. Throughout our conversation, "Johns" would drive up in an attempt to take advantage of Nicole's services, but her eyes would not devert from our group. We began to pray for her and as my team leader was praying in Afrikaans, the most supernatural thing I have ever experienced occured. I began to understand what she was saying, without an interpreter or ever studying the language, in my heart I knew the words which were being spoken over sweet Nicole. It took everything in me to fight back the salty tears which were building up in my eyes, it was such a sacred, beautiful moment. The team leaders exchanged numbers with Nicole and she was extremely excited to hear that they would come and take her to church on Sunday.
In the midst of the filth, the perversion and utter depths of despair, I have never felt closer to my Savior and King and a body of Believers. How could I ever be the same from an experience like that? How could I walk the streets where weeks earlier a young girl was strangled to death by a client, and not be evoked to take action? Jesus is on those streets, inviting His children to come and work to help bring these lost souls back from the claws of complete darkness.
As we approach Father's day, I can't help but think about the home lives most of the girls come from. Few have been extracted from tender, loving environments. Most of them have found comfort in the arms of evil because they had nothing to go home to. What would their life be like if they had a Daddy to love them, to tell them they are beautiful and bring the flowers on their birthdays? A Daddy to cheer at dance recitals and tell them, "That boy wasn't good enough for you in the first place," after a heartbreak? Maybe their lives would have taken a different route if there was a Father to guide them and lead them into greatness.
I am extremely blessed to literally have the most amazing Dad in the entire world. A Dad who has taught me the true meaning of love and sacrifice and given me the greatest example of a man of God.
My Dad is the reason I have any desire to leave my comfort zone and go out into the world to help the lost, broken, hungry and dying. For the past 13 years he has been employed with the non-profit, Feed the Children as their international writer/producer. He has traveled to over 20 countries, bringing food, water and supplies to some of the most remote, dangerous and uncivilized villages of the world. He has seen everything from Sudanese refugee camps, families calling cemeteries homes in the Phillippines, to starving children in the shanty towns of the Appalacian Mountains. Without his tenacity, and utter devotion to serve the call of the Lord despite any odds, I would not be the woman I am today. I am so grateful for all of the knowledge and wisdom I have gained from such an incredible person, father and friend.
I know that so many women have not had the opportunity to experience and earthly father's love as I have, but the love of a Father in heaven who created the universe, is deeper and greater than any love I have ever encountered. On days I have felt most empty, broken and alone, only the love of my Jesus has been able to comfort my heart. He is the reason that girls like Nicole are able to have a second chance at life through His undying, unconditional, redeeming love.
I love you daddy, on earth and in heaven.
Be blessed today, fathers and daughters everywhere.
*Name has been changed for protection, privacy and liability.