There’s An Army Rising Up

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Today our team carried on more of the same activities described yesterday. Each segment was so very anointed of God in that it pointed right back at Himself in such a creative subtle way.

We chose early on to adopt a color of the day that represented the Godly characteristic that we’d talk about each day. We purchased t shirts for everyone at the workshop to coordinate with the color of the day. I have to say that when we planned it I didn’t quite realize how powerful this was going to be. Monday was red and stood for REDEEMED which used Rahab, the prostitute, as an example of God redeeming our lives for good when we place ourselves in His hands. Tuesday was pink and stood for HUMILITY. The example story was the woman who washed Jesus’ feet with the tears.

Tuesday as we had our worship time together with the ladies Bobby and Rachael led us in the song Break Every Chain. There’s a line that says “there’s an army rising up…to break every chain…” There we sat. A big, girl packed, pink army….but I have to say that the supernatural power of Christ working though this “womanly” army is going to rival any dark army that the enemy would put in their path.

These beautiful woman come to work each day in lightness and learn useable skills. They learn about about living a life of freedom and victory but they go home to darkness…most of them have husbands who are regularly drunk and mistreat them and many still have family in the brothels. They long for full freedom in their families’ lives.

One of the excercises in songwriting today asked them the questions, “what is the one thing you’d want the world to know about Jesus- or Yesu (pronounced Yeshu) and what is the one thing you want the world to know about you.” The answers were far and wide but each group was asked to give a group answer. In general the answers were that In Jesus they found a love they had never experienced and had to learn to accept the love shown by the ministry here. They have found freedom and joy. They want the world to know that Yesu has the power to change and that before Yesu they felt darkness in their soul but today they have peace and light. They want to destroy the darkness that is in Kalighat and bring the peace and freedom that they have experienced.

Our ministry partner here shared that she believes that revival will come to Kalighat and then whole city but it won’t be through giant services or foreigners doing big evangelistic events. It will be through the evident freedom and bold declarations made by these supernaturally powerful women…one home at a time.

Kalighat is a red light area that seats a giant temple to the goddes Kali….Ghat means area in Bengali. This area that they live is literally “Kali’s place.” As our partners minister and work here they have adopted the name for this area as Yesughat….Jesus’s area. They pray and worship and lift high His name….they don’t march around and bind the enemy up or try to do battle with him. She (our ministry partner) says “that is God’s job….ours is to lift His name and everyone will be drawn to him.” This army’s weapons are the Word of God and the Sword of the Spirit, meaning they are filled with His Spirit and testify to the truth of God’s Word.

We will take this little army, at the end of our time together, into the middle of this area claimed for goddess of death and they will “sing their song, dance their dance and tell their tale” to those that will listen and to those who are on the outside listening in. In boldness the ladies will tell the followers of this dark deathly goddess that there is such power and such liberating freedom in just one Name. This Name that is above every name. The name of Yesu. Jesus. That in His name the chains of addiction and slavery and abuse can be obliterated. If you don’t believe them…just ask them. They are convinced and are living testimonies to this and there is not one thing that can be done or said to dispute it. Just as the image of Kali shows a deathly looking woman holding up a severed head in one hand and a knife in the other to show what she is representative of these women are what God holds up to show what He is about…He holds them up as trophies of WINS in the column of the one and only true God. He holds the women up and says look at their lives…they are showing you My peace, they are showing you my freedom and my love. Come to me and I will give you the same rest.

We ended our day singing together. “There is power in the Name of Jesus. There is power in the name of Jesus. There is power in the nae of Jesus to break every chain, break every chain, break every chain.”

To the One and Only God Who has the power and authority above every addiction, darkness, evil, or any spirit, to HIM be the glory.











Only God Could Have Done That

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synergy[sin-er-jee] 1. the interaction of elements that when combined produce a total effect that is greater than the sum of the individual elements, contributions, etc.

What a day! We all said on multiple occasions, “wow…this is so God.” This team is just packed with amazing, gifted people and I stand back in awe of the talent I am getting to be around! BUT the definition of synergy really fits the description of what happened today…it was greater than the sum of all of that put together….something only God could do.

Our team and the ministry staff started the morning with a worship and prayer time with Bobby and Rachael asking God to reveal how He was working and to make us aware of His great presence that is already resting upon this wonderful ministry that reaches women from one of the red light areas here. The women have become fierce followers of Christ but many still have family and friends in the brothels. Some still live in the same areas they once worked. This ministry not only teaches them a skill but but disciples them to be victorious in the midst of great spiritual darkness.

The ladies arrived and we started the day with a segment we call “Fun With Malory.” We’ll have these segments 3-4 times each day. The ladies play drums, rhythm instruments and even boomwhackers (plastic tubes that are tuned to the C scale). It was so much fun to see them “play” and then all of the sudden realize that real music was happening!

We told the ladies what their week would be about and that they were to remember the words “no fear.” From art to dance to songwriting…no fear…just let God express His story through their bold attempts!

Jacalyn talked about our color of the day, RED, which represented the word Redeemed. She taught how to make a tie dye shirt with a red heart in the middle to remind us of this…tomorrow we get to unwrap them and hang them to dry and see how they turned out.

Karen shared the story Rahab and how God kept his promise and saved her and her family. How he used a woman who was known as a prositute and from her life 48 generations later came Jesus.

Karen also made us all feel like we really were beautiful dancers as she taught the women choreography that God had impressed in her for a month. The song was “Yeshu, Terre Naam” (Jesus, Your Name). As they learned the steps she put it to the music and was brought to tears as she heard the women singing the words as they danced.

Danae made painting look so easy. The beginnings of their masterpieces are drying tonight ready for the cross and lesson that she will teach them tomorrow. After lunch we had a time of worship with Bobby and and Rachael. Heart.Melted.

Bible Art Journaling was next. We talked about letting God be very interactive with His Word and that as they considered scripture and let marinate and flavor their hearts to then express that in drawing…today, water color pencils and sewing ON the actual paper! The hope is after this week they will begin to really look forward to the times that God speaks to them through His Word and that they will have a tool to share that with the neighbors and family.

Bobby began the creative process for the ladies to write a song together. To unlocked a little creativity we started with blind creative doodles….sounds strange but it was so fun to listen to different types and music and with our eyes closed we “doodled” shapes and patterns that the music made us feel. We have no idea what this sonhg will be about or even what it will sound like but over the course of the week it will become clear. On Saturday we will go into a recording studio with our team and record this original song.

Christine began a project that the women are excited about. She makes crosses from discarded used up material and shows how, because of the cross, they are beautiful. The ladies have an assignment as they go home tonight. They be bringing back “trash” and she will show them how to add it to their project to become something beautiful.

It was a packed day and we saw the ladies off with wonderful hot chai and a sweet treat and lots of laughter and hugs. We saw lights come on in their eyes at different times of the day. We saw confidence begin even though they were afraid of something new. It will be neat to see what God will do with five days of this together.

Synergy….it was the only way to describe today.

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A Surprise Reaction

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Today part of our team did a retreat for ladies who work with those rescued from trafficking. Their job is stressful and full of emotional turmoil. They deal with trauma and spiritual warfare on a daily basis. As our team prepared for this trip the Lord impressed upon us to take up the theme Be Still from Psalm 46:10. In order to carry the weight of the burdens of these girls we wanted to encourage the aftercare workers as they seek God in a very busy, noisy and harsh environment.

The aftercare workers began arriving and were told to just have a seat and that breakfast would be served to them. This was a very hard concept for them. As Americans we are used to being served. These ladies remarked time and time again how special they felt just by us serving breakfast to them. Next on the agenda was a treatment called Satin Hands. By the time some of the ladies reached us to begin a simple hand treatment they were in tears saying they felt so unworthy of this attention. As we applied lotion and massaged their hands we thanked them for being the hands and feet of Christ to troubled girls. We prayed for them individually that God would strengthen their hands as they continued their work. The tears just poured…from them and of course from us as we realized the impact this was making.

We spent the morning with testimonies and sessions on clinging to the vine of Jesus and drawing our strength from Him. The ladies in the groups shared and prayed with each other.

We shared American treats with them from brownies to fudge to Texas Trash. They were giddy with excitement. And in typical American fashion we fed them lunch not long after that. We served food until they just could not hold any more. By the end of the morning their tummies were as full as their hearts.

Tomorrow we will do round two of the retreat. God’s hand in this plan is so evident. We hoped and prayed that it would minister to those who give so much but had no idea the power that simply serving them would have. What a privilege to be a part of their lives, if only for a few days.

The second half of our team spent the morning at New Hope slum school. They taught the story of Daniel and used the children as actors. Three of the team were able to visit in the homes and pray with village residents. We’ll have more from the school in the next blog.

The afternoon was spent at the aftercare home that Kingsland helps support. 150 girls and 19 of us. It was a fun, blessed day filled with smiles and laughter. But we also hear a lot of girls share their need just to talk to someone about their feelings. We used some activities that spurred discussion, something we’ve never really done before….and they were ready to talk. We will return to spend the afternoon with them again tomorrow.

Our team is at “the wall.” This is what I call the third day of a trip to India. We have worked since we hit the ground and it will not let up at all until Thursday for a couple of hours. But I have not heard complaints from anyone. Every team member is pushing beyond their own comfort zones and giving until they are spent. God has truly given us a special team.

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The women of the first ever Mukti Network Encouragement Retreat

The women of the first ever Mukti Network Encouragement Retreat

Lelana teaches on how to Be Still and fight

Lelana teaches on how to Be Still and fight

The moms and daughters

The moms and daughters

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New Hope children proud of their portraits

New Hope children proud of their portraits

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Raju 2, Raju 1 and Santu. Amazing young men who teach the children at New Hope

Raju 2, Raju 1 and Santu. Amazing young men who teach the children at New Hope

A Fine Day


Matthew 10:29 “Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father.”

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Today we spent time with the ladies of Sari Bari in two of India’s largest red light districts. The women here have chosen to work their way to freedom from a life of prostitution by learning to stitch beautiful items using the “kantha” stitch. This is a traditional stitch used by the poor to stitch saris together to make blankets. The lives of women in India are hard….these precious ones in particular.

One of the craft projects that we have chosen to do with the women of Sari Bari and several of the women in aftercare is a sparrow’s nest charm necklace. We want them to have a reminder that if God knows when even a sparrow falls then He is not unaware of them…He knows them, loves them and has a beautiful plan for their lives.

We used the story of Joseph, the son of Jacob, from the Bible to reinforce this. Joseph had many trials and disappointments in his life but God used it all for good to bring Joseph great blessing and even to save a nation from starvation. We reminded them that God may still be in the middle of their story and to not lose hope.

Our team is strong and finished the day full of excitement and encouragement. Everyone spent themselves today but feels that they received more than they gave.

Peace Out

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Today our team leaves for India. I don’t know if you can hear it but there was one giant collective sigh as we all reached the airport and checked in. Getting nineteen women out of town is a huge undertaking. As they say, “a woman’s work is never done.” Really I think everyone of us will say how thankful we are for our families and support that have gotten us to this point…but there were times when I think we all had the thoughts that we would never get it all done….meal prep, transportation for children, school work, jobs, volunteer duties, house duties and of course, for some, picking out matching clothes for children to help those husbands/fathers who are a little challenged in this area. We are all truly grateful for all of you who are staying here and helping in order that we may go.

As we prepared for our trip many of us saw our plans trying to go off track. I don’t like to give a lot of air time to the enemy but he is real and he doesn’t want us going in the power of the Holy Spirit. There are many things we are leaving behind that we can “worry” about. There are many things in India that we can “worry” about. But together we are choosing to lay those things down and pick up the peace of God. As we walk among the beautiful people we are going to minister to we want them to see peace. I think it’s good sometimes for us to have to walk in peace while a storm rages. We can be sure that most of those that we are going to see will need that peace…their circumstance will not always change immediately…some may never have that benefit As Philippians 4:6-7 says, the peace of God which passes ALL understanding will guard our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.

Pray for our team…pray that we will love with abandon and that we will be able to bring hope and light to some very dark corners.

We’ll be off in a bit for the first of two plane rides and an eight hour layover. Our first flight is fifteen hours, but I guess it’s a blessing when you consider that we will be “forced” to just sit, watch movies, visit and eat food.

So….peace out!

India Team 2013

Just a “Regular” Afternoon

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By Chris Berridge, Justice Partner in the field.
Originally posted at KingslandJustice.com.

The air was abuzz with sounds of laughter and joy as over one hundred girls streamed off their buses. For many, this was a rare opportunity to venture outside of the Affection* aftercare home for some different fun. An afternoon of dancing, art, bumper cars, bowling and video games awaited them. Not exactly your typical day.

Every summer, various NGOs host “summer camp” activities for the girls of Affection*. The activities usually fluctuate, but they are always a blast for the girls. And of course, managing all those young girls has its challenges. Finding a place for an outing can be very difficult indeed. Fortunately, a place was found, and the afternoon was set. A massive warehouse of entertainment was exactly what they needed. You have almost certainly been to a place like this, or at least taken your child to one for a birthday party! Maybe they lacked laser-tag, but they made up for it with no lines for all the girls and full, exclusive access. They had the entire place to themselves! It was a dream-come-true for any adolescent child.

The expansive entertainment center filled all 144 girls with awe. According to one staff member from the aftercare home, “(The center) had a mix of everything! The girls could bowl, draw pictures, play games, dance, watch movies, eat or whatever they wanted to do. It was a great change of pace from everyday life at the home.”

If one were to stumble upon the site that day, there was no way to tell that the girls were survivors of commercial sex trafficking. To me, it looked like one hundred something girls, regular girls, just laughing, playing and enjoying themselves. No pretense. No baggage. Just fun.

What an amazing day of vitality and joy.

Again, I want to thank you all for the support you are showing to these amazing survivors. Your love is going a long way.

Kingsland in Kolkata


By Chris Berridge, Justice Partner in the field.
Originally posted at KingslandJustice.com.

Hello Kingsland! It is my sincere privilege to be guest writer for your “Kingsland Justice” weblog. As a partner in the field, I take great joy in being able to share the amazing works that God is doing here in Kolkata. And with your support, I might add!

As many of you are well aware of, I am sure, there is an unbelievable amount of injustice going on all around the world. I do not think I need to regale you with tales of woe: infants starving in the slums, HIV/AIDS continuing to ravage rural communities, little boys given guns and told to fire upon their neighbors, generations of families working 18 hour days in rice mills to pay off an unrelenting debt. Of twelve-year-old girls taken from their homes, promised jobs in the city and instead taken to brothels, where they are raped for money, all day, all night.

Because you have been burdened with knowledge of the plight of your fellow men and women, and of children, maybe not much older than yours, you are faced with a choice. The choice comes to all who know of such things.

You can turn a blind eye. You can just ignore it, tell yourself that “it’s not my problem” and go on your way. It’s pretty easy to do. I know I’ve certainly done it.

But you can choose to confront injustice. You can choose to take a stance against the marginalization, the victimization of millions.

I continuously thank God that churches like Kingsland have chosen the latter. To know that you take your time, your resources and your love and send all of it to people you have never met is so encouraging.

But forget about people like me who are working in the field. You know who really cares about your decision? Those twelve-year-old girls. How do I know? They told me so.

There are well over one hundred girls at Affection* (a pseudonym has been used for security reasons) aftercare home. Most of the girls here have been rescued out of the commercial sex trade, with all too many of their stories echoing the aforementioned scenario. They are girls of all ages, all former victims of some sort of injustice, but more importantly, they are all survivors. Each girl, in her own way, has found a way to endure, to persevere despite her circumstance. Their courage in the face of horrific injustices is unparalleled. But, regardless of their determination, there are still basic necessities each must have to survive. They need a safe shelter, food, clean water and a place to rest their heads at night. Additionally, because they are survivors of intensely traumatic events, they need professional counseling and therapy. The provision of all these essentials is critical to the restoration of each girl.

The aftercare home is a place where these needs are met. It gives them a chance to live a life that was once taken from them, a life that they deserve to live.

Around two weeks ago, 30 recent high school graduates from Kingsland came to Kolkata for a service trip. I was amazed at the amount of young people who were willing to take time from their summers to come and serve complete strangers. They served all over the city, including Affection.*

I met with a small group of young women a day after their weekend spent with the girls at Affection. Despite being exhausted from a long service trip, their faces lit up with joy as they recounted their experience with their new friends. They made bracelets and all sorts of crafts, they danced, they drew beautiful henna on their hands and arms. And although they did not speak the same language and they grew up worlds apart, they thrived in one another’s company. They connected at one the most fundamental of levels, they were able to be little girls, together.

“The simplest things brought them so much joy. It was amazing to have such an opportunity,” said one of the Kingsland women. “We loved being there and hope to come back soon. I know they want us back, they told us!”

When I took a look around Affection* after the Kingsland women’s visit, the place was abuzz with happy girls running everywhere, some dancing, some playing in the square. I was astonished by the even greater amount of joy I saw on their faces than usual. I was quickly brought to the place where all the crafts from the weekend were stored. The girls held up all sorts of beaded “lizards” and bracelets, they showed me their henna. All of them were so excited because of the time they had with the women from Kingsland. Because of security reasons, I cannot show you their faces, but trust me when I say, the most radiant of suns on a hot Texas day could not compare to the brilliance of their smiles.

You are making a difference. These girls need a place like Affection.* They need more places like it. They need bigger places like it, because the need is so great. God is moving here, and I am so grateful that you are choosing to be a part of His movement.

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