This morning the team was refreshed after we all slept about 12 hours after a 25 hour trip. We set our sights on the little slum village on the outskirts of town called Udyan Pally.  For years we would walk the straight dirt and rock laden lane to get back to the school…many times during monsoon season the village would be so flooded  that no one could enter or leave.

When we arrived this morning to walk the half mile lane to the school we were pleasantly surprised to walk on a paved road. The little ramshackle community seemed a little more like a neighborhood.  I asked the pastor who had petitioned to have the road laid and he said an official had come out and decided they needed a paved road. The straight paved road ends just 15 feet beyond the door to New Hope school…just far enough to offer really HOPE to children and families in desperate need. 

At New Hope today we taught the children about the five senses. 

In the afternoon we boarded our vehicles and drove through narrow winding lanes to spend time at our favorite aftercare facility for girls who have been rescued from sex trafficking. The home offers hope and freedom in a safe place filled with love. Recently, in efforts at prevention,  they have begun to care for several young children whose moms are still in the life but want something better for their children.

Sterling dug deep and shared a story of hope in the midst of unbearable hurt. It truly resonated not only with the girls but also with the sweet 20 year old translator who later shared her story with us. She was able to translate the pain and redemption in Sterling’s heart as if it were her own and hope’s voice was loud and could be heard through the tears.

Ryley talked to the girls about false beliefs we internalize because we listen to what people say about us- even when it’s not true. “You’re chosen, you are His friend and you are loved.”

Sitting among the girls were two sisters. The eldest was rescued from her mom who was her trafficker. When the girl arrived at the safe house she begged authorities to go and rescue her younger sister (age 12). During this time the mom had convinced the younger sister that the people who had her big sis were bad and were abusing her. She told her she must go to work as a prostitute to earn money to get her back. When the younger sister was finally rescued she was very angry at the case workers and her sister. She believed the false story she had been given and couldn’t believe she had been earning money as a sex worker to save her sister and then be brought to the same place. It’s been four months. She has turned 13 and has experienced the truth and hope offered to her and her sister and now understands that her mom had been lying to her and was, in fact, their trafficker. The mother is in jail awaiting her trial. The eldest sister has already suffered through an emotional and difficult testimony to the court as her mother listened. The youngest has yet to do so.  Sadly stories very similar to this could be told by most of the girls in the room. Girls who were stolen and trafficked and told they were only worth the money they could earn on their backs. But they are offered hope at this place, the place that sits at the end of the twisty, narrow, winding road.

Today we carried HOPE. Hope that sometimes shows up in the oddest of twisty, winding paths. HOPE, the kind that says there is another day and there is a future, is always just far enough and never out of reach when the source is Jeshu (Hindi pronunciation for Jesus).