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One Saved: It’s worth it

Kathy Bruins

Article originally from One Saved: It’s worth it

Lyla dreamed of being the first in her family to graduate. They lived in the poorest part of India, so in order for her to go to school, she needed to pay for it. She took some jobs in the city, but on one occasion, she took the wrong job. She was promised much and learned that none of it would come true. She was trafficked and was told she had a debt to pay off. The debt was incurred by her employers selling her without her knowledge. Lyla was told if she worked for three months, the debt would be paid off. She earned a little bit, but she had to buy necessities for her survival. Over the next two years, she lost her hope and dreams. But that's not the end of her story. We'll come back to that later.

The sex trafficking of children is rampant in Southeast Asia. Because of poverty and the culture there, selling children to survive occurs too often. Children are also coerced into the trade by being promised many things. Once they are in, the pimps take the first two weeks to break them down so that they will be compliant. They are brainwashed into thinking that their families have exploited them and that there is no one they can trust, except the pimp. The children cannot see the truth.

Truth is the basis for the passion behind One Saved. Their planned safe house in the Philippines is for 40-50 girls to live in and have their minds transformed by the truth of the gospel, so that they may lead lives of peace and safety in Jesus. Jeremy and Sarah Hess, the President and Treasurer respectively of this organization, state that the house “will provide children who have been trafficked with a safe place to heal, receive high-quality psychological and medical care, and, most importantly, be shown the love of Christ and given an opportunity to find true freedom through a personal relationship with Him.”

The Hesses are working through International Justice Mission (IJM) which helps in the legal and staff support aspects of the project. They do have a staff counselor from IJM, Tim Frieson, on their Board of Directors along with others that have passionate hearts for this issue. Last August, the Hesses flew to the Philippines to meet with personnel in the field offices, who expressed the need for more gospel-centered safe houses. The staff also said that while so many children needed to be rescued and they could save more, they are also hindered by overcrowding. The girls who have been at the safe house only six months are cycled out because of the government ruling that any girls rescued have to be taken there. The girls that have to leave may not be healed enough to make it and have a high chance of being re-victimized. There are two phases of treatment the girls go through at the safe houses. The first one is a two-week triage of helping them to feel safe; the second phase is 1 to 3 years of being counseled and shared the gospel.

The request for the Hesses is to have their safe house located between the two staff offices, one in Manila and the other in Pampanga. It would only be an hour's drive from either office to bring the girls. The Hesses need about $100,000 yet to move on this project. A fundraiser coming up is a golf outing on September 30, 2013, at Railside Golf Club in Byron Center. Please read more details on this event on their website.

Now back to Lyla and her story. Lyla, with many other girls, was rescued two years ago by IJM. After the process of aftercare and rehab, she gained that ability to dream again. She wanted to become a social worker to work with girls that have been trafficked. She started working towards that, eventually found Christ, and was baptized. At the event where an IJM worker was sharing Lyla's story, they unexpectedly brought her out on stage. She was radiant. A huge celebration broke out with not a dry eye in the place. This is a dramatic picture of the gospel. God scoops these children up and brings them into His joy. Lyla was so thankful and articulately shared the joy she now has. She knows that the things done to her do not define her. God has redeemed her. Lyla lead the whole group at the event in prayer. It was a powerful, beautiful moment, and makes it all worthwhile. This is the Biblical basis for One Saved: “In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of angels of God over one sinner who is saved” (Luke 15:10).