Monday, January 27, 2014

Home Sweet Home

We have been home for 3 days now.  Jet lag this time around has been much kinder to me but the heartache I have had just won't seem to go away.  Not sure what that means but this trip has definitely affected me in a different way than it usually does.

I have posted many of the blogs that our trip leader Kay Smith wrote.  She is a much better writer than me plus she had better wifi.  Ha!  I apologize for not blogging every day but I know you all understand.

Still processing all that we saw and did.  

Resting in Him,

Wednesday, January 22, 2014


Today I asked the team to sum up their thoughts about this trip in a sentence. With all that we have experienced on this trip it was a tall order to whittle our thoughts down so small, but here is our attempt:

"A rewarding collision of joy and pain."
 • Brenda Debor
photo copy
"As hope arises darkness hides."
 • Lauren Debor
Cute Girl
"Amidst the darkness the light shines forth like the dawn."
 • Jaclyn Miles
Teaching 2
"There is hope for oppressed." • Sue Ephraim
"I go because I am being obedient to Gods commands. To be a light in darkness, to be hope in despair and to share the knowledge of the glory of God!"
 • Melissa Crowder
Teaching 3
"I truly felt God among the laughter and joy."
 • Patricia Simpson
Sterling teach
"I am overwhelmed by the open arms of laughter love and hope."
 • Sterling Greene
"Jesus is here and He is revealing Himself through the smiles of His believers."
 • Rachael Soroski
Teaching 4
"God's light can shine in the darkest of places."
 • Jan Moore
"I came to be a blessing but I've been blessed."
 • Cheryl Rothell
"My heart aches to see those who have not yet seen rescue but when I meet those that have I see God's power to do the impossible."
 • Kay Smith
Tomorrow is our final morning of work at New Hope. Then we head home. My heart aches to stay but also is ready for the home I love so dearly.

Monday, January 20, 2014


Mukti means “freedom” in Bengali. The Mukti Network is a network of women who are our heroes. These women serve on a daily basis in some of the darkest of places — yet these places are full of light because of them and the God they represent.
This was our second annual Encouragement Retreat for this compassionate network. This year the theme was based on Isaiah 58:10, a verse that speaks of your light rising in the darkness when your life is poured out for those who are oppressed. Our friend Vinita Shaw of the Disha Foundation was our special guest.
Aroma 2
We chose Ibiza Resort just outside of Kolkata as the retreat site. This turned out to be a blessing beyond what we even imagined. Some of our friends in the network had never stayed in a hotel before, several had never seen a bathtub. We worked hard to treat them like the beautiful daughters of God that they are.  2 Corinthians 2:15 says, "For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing" so we made custom scented body lotions for the women!
We led worship and offered special sessions based on encouraging Scripture passages. During free time some of the ladies zip-lined across the lake, paddle-boated and tried their hand at archery. Time and time again they thanked us for blessing them with this refreshing retreat.
Sunday night we found out that the game Bunko is universal and we are all alike when it comes to winning a game. We laughed and enjoyed our time with our international sisters.
Lighting Lantern Sue
Lighting Lantern
Vinita lantern
2 Women Lanterns
Releasing Lanterns
After an interactive prayer walk with creative prayer stations we closed our retreat by releasing sky lanterns. The lanterns represented their lights that would rise in the darkness and affect generations to come.  We prayed with our sisters and said  "until next year..." And we can't wait!
Mukti Woman

Saturday, January 18, 2014


One of the highlights of my year is the day we get to spend with the ladies of Sari Bari. This has become an annual "spa day" that they look forward to as much as we do.
We began the day in two groups at two locations. We wound our way through the congested streets to our locations. We were honored to be able to do some of the firm's busy work while the ladies cut, sewed, and  finished  bags and blankets of impeccable quality.
photo copy
All of these women are identified as "self rescued" — women who have sought after an alternative way to make a living. Many still are forced by finances to live in the same place they used to work but they are now, because of Sari Bari, able to make choices and plan for a future filled with hope.
photo copy 2
At 1:00 PM the work stopped and it was party time. We shared lunch sitting around together on the floor learning more about the ladies. Then it was on to spa time. A few were still a little apprehensive about us washing their feet but most knew and remembered that this was "girlfriend time" and a time for us to make them feel like a princess, a daughter of the King. We told them that Jesus did this for his friends and now we wanted to do that for them. We laughed, broke out in spontaneous songs, painted nails and toes, made feather hair clips and just loved on each other.
photo copy 4
While rubbing lotion on tired feet I was overwhelmed with emotion and the thought that this is one of the greatest privileges that I have ever had. To tend to the tired sore feet of one that has known hardship that I will never know. To know that this act is just one more reinforcement that what Sari Bari is teaching them is true — that they are beautiful women worthy of love and care. I have no words to describe the deep joy in my heart.
photo copy 3
We shared henna Bible stories about women that Jesus showed great value to; the woman at the well and the woman who was healed by touching the hem of Jesus' garment. In a culture such as this it is important for the ladies to hear that they are considered of great worth by Jesus, the Son of God!
I'll let our pictures speak for themselves. Tomorrow:  Mukti Network Encouragement Retreat! Pray for us as we minister to some giants of faith.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Day 4 - M Home

Day 4 - M Home 

Visiting M  Home is always one of the highlights of this  trip. M is an aftercare home that houses 25 girls that have been rescued.  The organization has grown every year since I have been coming. Last year they opened up a "transition" home for majors (girls over 18) and in April they will open M Home 2.  More on that later.

What exactly is an "aftercare home" you may ask?  Well it's basically a safe house for girls that have been rescued from trafficking. They employ an amazing staff of house mothers, counselors, case workers, security staff and drivers, etc to insure that they the girls are on the path to healing. Some of the girls are involved in the court case against their traffickers so there are strict rules about them attending school, etc. but most attend school every day.  In the evenings a tutor comes to help the girls with lessons and a dance teacher comes to teach as well. Dance, theatre, and singing are some of the ways the girls receive therapy from their traumatic ordeal of being trafficked and sold into the flesh trade. 

We started with a few games with the girls (musical chairs, human knot, etc). Then we helped them with a cool craft that will also be a decoration for the home. We brought a huge blank 36 piece puzzle and all of the girls decorated their own piece. Each piece was approximately 6" X 5" and they decorated it with scrapbook paper, jewels, markers, metallic wire, beads, ribbons, etc. it was very girly and fun. We laid the pieces out to dry and then tomorrow when we return to spend another day with them we will adhere it onto a board to make it into a wall hanging. We are hoping it will be a visual reminder that they are each different and special in their own way. 

The highlight of the day was a visit to a construction/renovation site that will be the future home of M Home 2.  Bashibi gave us a tour of the home and showed us the renovations that must be made before the home can open in April. Sadly they are receiving much opposition from the surrounding neighbors. Although the girls that will be living there did not choose their current circumstances, society still sees them in a very negative light. 

During our quiet time before the visit we had all journaled scriptures to be written on the walls of the home. They will be covered up once the home is painted but they will still be there. :) We each took a sharpie and had a time of prayer as we walked around the home individually writing different scriptures that the Lord had given us for the home. It was a very special time and one I will never forget. The fact that these young girls that will be living in this beautiful safe home in 3 months are currently living in a brothel/prison and are forced to do the unthinkable reminds me of the verse from Psalm 12:

Into the hovels of the poor, into the dark streets where the homeless groan, God speaks: 
"I've had enough; I'm on my way to heal the ache India the heart of the wretched."

Day 3 - Destiny

Day 3 - Destiny 

What a great first day of ministry.  Seriously every year I come here and God ALWAYS confirms why He gave me a heart for the people of India.  Destiny is just one of the many reasons.  There are some true heroes in the fight against human trafficking and Smarita Sengupta is just one of the many heroes.  She and her staff are doing amazing things at Destiny.  More on that later.

We started out the morning with a tour of the older part of Calcutta.  Our amazing guide Ifti was full of information about the area.  He speaks 7 languages!  What an interesting morning.  I have no idea how far we walked but it was a ton of walking.  After the tour we headed over to Destiny.

We started out at Destiny with a brief introduction of the company and their mission.  Destiny is an organization that hires only girls that have been rescued from sex trafficking. They train them how to sew, which is a very valuable skill as there are so many garment factories in India. PLEASE go to to learn more about the mission of this amazing ministry.  Then we had lunch with the Destiny girls.  We had yummy biryani.  So good!  Then we did some shopping in Destiny; the girls love it when we shop in their small store and purchase items that they have sewn and we are happy to oblige.  :)

After we shopped we went back into the sewing room and showed the girls what we had purchased. They love seeing who buys the items they had made and it is fun to see the pride on their faces.  For many of them this is the first time in their lives that they feel HOPEFUL FOR THEIR FUTURE.  Destiny is doing an amazing thing with these girls. 

We brought a few crafts to make with the girls. It always amazes me how quickly they catch on to what we are showing them and then end up making it better than our example that we had made. Ha!  They made feather hair clips and also decorated masks.  Seeing them model their masks reminded me that it was  such a perfect metaphor for their life. For many years these girls were forced to mask their feelings and now they have finally removed it and are able to express their feelings. They are being counseled and taught how to express their feelings in a healthy way. 

After our craft we had a special time of sharing some music and henna stories. Kay found a really cool website  that shows how to draw and tell bible stories using henna. Rachael sang "Beauty from Pain". After our special time together we announced that it was time for us to go and the girls told us through a translator that they wished we could just stay all night and sing and talk with them. 

As we were leaving I stood up and ripped my tunic. Apparently the corner had gotten stuck under a chair leg (I was siting on the floor). One of the girls insisted I change clothes so they could fix it. I borrowed a sweatshirt and she sewed the tear in under a minute.  So sweet. 

Destiny is just ONE of the reasons I love Indis

Day 2 - Our Arrival in India

Day 2 - Our Arrival in India 

I am so happy to be back in India!  After 30+  hours of traveling it was so good to arrive.  We were met by our man on the ground here ("A") and our favorite security guard/driver/translator/question answerer Shafiq.  It is always so nice to see a familiar face.

The traveling was quite uneventful (other than the luggage weight fiasco....sigh).  We arrived in India about 2 hours behind schedule.  Sadly 3 of our 22 pieces of luggage were lost.  2 of them were supply suitcases and 1 was Lauren's suitcase.  We are praying they show up soon!  The airline said they would deliver them to the BMS as soon as they are located.

We spent about an hour or so unpacking at the BMS (Baptist Missionary Society) house and then we headed out to meet our translators.  There was a huge celebration in all of the streets to celebrate the birthday Mohammad (the founder of Islam).  Since traffic was so bad Shafiq decided it would be better for us to walk to New Market to meet the translators.  It was quite a hike and we were so exhausted from our long travels but we were running on adrenaline.  We normally start our trip off by working right off the bat but this year our schedule arranged itself with a bit of shopping.  First we met the translators for lunch at our favorite restaurant....KFC.  Whatever you think about American KFC you should be VERY jealous.  India KFC is SO much better.  It is crispier and spicier.  YUM! 

After lunch we broke into groups with 2 - 3 team members with each translator to shop.  We only had 2 hours so we raced through the market enjoying picking up bargains.  I bought some gifts and some stuff for myself.  You can never have enough poofy pants, RIGHT?!?

After 2 hours of shopping we met back at KFC and then headed out to find auto rickshaws for the 11 members, 4 translators, and Shafiq.  Our translators for the day were Anita, Deborah, Sneha, and Julie.  I had met all of them except for Julie before.  We shopped with Anita and let me tell you that woman is a GREAT bargain shopper. She knew what was a good deal, when to walk away, and when to BUY!  Love that woman!

The auto rickshaws were fun but we were all just ready to get back to the BMS and go to bed.  We were so exhausted.  Like "everything is funny" exhausted.  Every night before we go to bed we meet as a team to repack the suitcase with the next day's activity supply.  Tomorrow we are spending the morning at Shova Bazar tour and then the afternoon with Destiny Foundation.

Please pray that the 3 missing suitcases arrive soon!

Day 1 - Emirates Airlines hates me


I'm not kidding, y'all.  I have never had a smooth check in when it comes to Emirates.  This year the issue was regarding the weight of our bags.  I checked in 4 people - me, Lauren, Rachael, and my mom, a total of 8 bags. As we stood in line to check in we all reweighed our bags as they had a scale in the line. We had also weighed all if our bags before we left the house.  At home and in line they all weighed between 45 - 49 pounds (the limit is 50).  

When we finally arrived at the check in, the attendant was instantly irritated with me that I was checking India 4 people. Okay?!?  Should I leave one of them behind?  She was also perturbed that I didn't match everyone's passport with their eticket. Apparently she missed "customer service training day" India her orientation. Anyway we handed her our paperwork and started piling up suitcases on the scale. 6 out of the 8 suitcases had gained weight between the scale in line and the scale at the ticket counter and was now overweight. I told her that they had all been fine 10 minutes prior and she asked, "Where did you weigh it?"  I pointed to the Emirates scale and she said, "Yeah, I think our scales are off."  Not even sure what to say at this point. 

So I start pulling random items out of one bag and putting it into another but apparently taking 5 pounds out of a suitcase and putting it into another makes the other suitcase now 5 pounds heavier.  Who knew?  Anyway the girl started getting very irritated with me and wanted me to go back to the end of line but I smiled sweetly and just told her how much I appreciated her working with me.  I finally balanced out all of the weight and although they were all over a few pounds she said she would let it slide.  I had just removed an item from the suitcase that was on the scale but the top was still unzipped.  When I zipped the suitcase the weight went UP an entire pound.  At this point I threw my hands up and air and gave up. It was a 25 minute process. 

Thursday, January 16, 2014


Our day was centered around the aftercare home for girls that have been rescued.  It was a joy to return and see the faces of those that we love.
Many of you may remember the story of the two girls that arrive two years ago on our first women's justice trip. We have told you of their progress and how they have grown. Both have completed the bold act of testifying in court and telling the truth in the face of their traffickers. They are very proud of themselves...what a long way they have come!  Their paper work will be complete soon for their return to their home country.
We played fun games and laughed with them. They were told about how unique and special they are, how God has made each of them with abilities and ideas and personalities that are their very own. We talked about how when God puts us all  together He is able to make beautiful things happen. Each girl was given a puzzle piece and asked to decorate it in their own way. Tomorrow we will put the entire puzzle together and make a large art piece for them to hang on their wall to remind them and the girls that come in the future that God fits us all together perfectly.
This morning we visited a second location for the aftercare home  that will soon be open in April. It will be able to house 10-12 new girls with hopes of expanding soon. Kingsland has partnered with this home to get the renovations completed.  While the builders worked around us we were able to go in and pray over the building and for the girls that would eventually reside there. We realized that those girls were probably somewhere being abused today at that very moment. We prayed that God would send encouragement to the girls to know that He is on the way.  Because the walls will be plastered and painted soon we were able to write prayers and scriptures on the wall.  We prayed that these scriptures would surround the girls and even though they will be unseen that the truth and the prayers underneath the paint will be  like an echo of our prayers today.
Our plan this morning was to plant a garden at the new location but the building process prevented the ground from being ready for us.  In November I spoke to Little Cypress Mauriceville Baptist Church and told them about the beautiful girls at this aftercare home. The sweet people of the church took up a collection and asked that I take it to bless the home. When I heard about the garden plan I knew this was just the perfect project. While we were not able to physically plant the garden ourselves I was able to leave the funds for the plants with Smita, the director of the home, along with two garden stones that will be placed there to remind the girls that there is hope in Christ and that because of Him they are allowed to dream again.
Tomorrow we return and teach cooking and study skills! But first we will spend the morning with the Hope Of Life children;  these are children that have been rescued from the railways. Our team is doing well and ready for another great day.

Monday, January 13, 2014

A few details about the trip

I stole this from Pastor Omar's blog.
Into the hovels of the poor,
Into the dark streets where the homeless groan, God speaks:
“I’ve had enough; I’m on my way
To heal the ache in the heart of the wretched.”
Psalm 12:5
Please pray for our team of 11 women as they Go Beyond in Kolkata. Inspired by Psalm 12:5, our women will serve in various places throughout Kolkata. They will share with the poor and those rescued from the brothels of West Bengal the message that God sees and He hears and He has had enough; that they are worth the sacrifice of His Son.
Our women will...
 Serve at Mahima home, a Christ-centered aftercare home for young girls that have been rescued from sex trafficking.
 Teach at New Hope school in the slums of Udayan Pally.
 Serve women who work in the largest red light district in India. Our women will share the gospel through henna storytelling, doing a cooking class, and crafts.
 Work with the children of sex workers in the red light district.
 Conduct an Encouragement Retreat for the women of the Mukti Network. This is a network of women who serve in the red light district and aftercare homes. Our theme verse for the retreat is  Isaiah 58:10 "if you pour yourself out for the hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted, then shall your light rise in the darkness and your gloom be as the noonday."

Sunday, January 12, 2014


Our team of 11 people, 22 checked bags, 17 carry-on bags/purses and one One Direction pillow is on its way to Kolkata. We have arrived in Dubai and will leave shortly for Kolkata.
Our group o f ladies is excited to begin work. We hope to carry with us the the message of Psalm 12:5 that God sees his daughters in bondage. He knows you, child that is poverty and danger. He cares and he is on His way!
Pray that we will be Jesus to everyone that we meet.

January 12, 2014

Today is the day!  In less than 12 hours we will be boarding the plane for the long flight to Dubai.  Once we reach Dubai we will have a 9 hour layover before boarding a smaller plane to Kolkata.  The 2nd flight is about 6 hours.  The first flight always seems to go by fairly quickly as the free entertainment (tons of free movies) and food in addition to adrenaline keeps the hours ticking by.  The 2nd flight....not so much.  It is a smaller plane with....let's just say....cramped quarters.  They spray this noxious antibacterial stuff that gets in my lungs and almost always gives me a coughing fit.  I HATE that part.

Thank you all for following our blog and our journey.  Many of you have asked about my ankle.  I AM SO THANKFUL to report that I am 95% healed.  Yah!  Thank you God for healing my ankle.  As soon as it happened on Wednesday night I burst into tears because I was so afraid that I had hurt it really badly and it would affect the trip.

Well I gotta run.  Guess who isn't finished packing yet?  Still waiting on laundry.  I will tell you about my procrastination problem tomorrow.  Or the next day.

Monday, January 6, 2014

January 6, 2014

We leave in 6 days.  6 SHORT days.  I can't believe our trip is right around the corner.  

My verse for this trip is Isaiah 61:1:

The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound.

The focus of the trip will be to minister to young girls and women that have been rescued from sex trafficking.  If you are hearing those words for the first time or want to learn more about how you can help put an END to MODERN DAY SLAVERY, visit:

I will update you with our itinerary in the next few days, I just wanted to take a minute to fire up the blog and reacquaint myself with how to post since I have forgotten how.  :)

We covet your prayers as we prepare to leave.  If you would like to pray specifically for the team members by name they are:  Brenda, Lauren (my daughter), Cheryl (my mom), Kay, Rachael, Sterling, Melissa, Patricia, Jan, Sue, and Jacalyn.


Time to fire up the 'ole blog and pack our bags (well, it's a little early!)....Lauren and I are returning to India in January 2014.  We are still fundraising if you are looking for a great cause!  Need a babysitter?  I know a great one!