I was completely unprepared for the spiritual epiphany I had over my weekend visit to the LA area several months ago. I mean, this is a region best known for cell–phone chats with agents and the steamy FOX show The OC.
I was going to visit some friends, Sandie and Esthera, two women I met at an overseas conference last year for women in Christian publishing. Since they're both missions–minded women at crossroads in their life, I knew it would be a visit marked by stimulating conversation about life, purpose, and direction. I couldn't wait.
During my visit, Sandie, the woman I was staying with, gave a presentation at a nearby Christian college about the work she and her husband had done to help combat the sex–trafficking industry during their recent 10–year missions stint in Athens, Greece. I sat transfixed as she shared about the horrors of the global phenomenon of women tricked, forced, or sold into prostitution. Staring at the pictures of the hollow–eyed women Sandie had ministered to, I wondered what I could do to help combat such evil.
The following day, I headed to the nearby offices of Open Doors International to interview one of their directors for a magazine article I'd been assigned to write. This ministry that works to help those in the persecuted church worldwide launched a specific sub–ministry within their organization five years ago to help serve the unique needs of women in the persecuted church.
As I sat listening to their director, Jane, describe everything from female genital mutilation to incest to denial of jobs, literacy education, or biblical teaching to women in different parts of the world, my heart felt as heavy as it had the day before when I listened to Sandie's presentation. Through both of these interactions, God was opening my eyes to some terrible hurts in our world.1