To See with your Eyes
I have just returned from Kolkata where I had the privilege of leading a team to explore partnering with the Sisters Adorers Nuns of Kolkata in creating a safe space for rescued girls. We call them the Ninja Nuns because they actually go on rescues with International Justice Mission when they pull these girls out of the brothels. Here are a couple snapshots of our trip through the eyes of Alicia Lovejoy,- who traveled with the team.
The girl who paints. She is almost timid about her talent until we ask to see her work, then she reveals her true passion for art. She paints on anything she's given, clothing, cards, towels. She sits in quiet strength as we look through what she has to offer, we laugh with her as she counts up the tally of our bill. We compliment her work. We ask how long she's been doing this. We ask where she learned. Her soft voice has hope in it. Her brown eyes have life behind them. She smiles and laughs with joy. Then we hear her story. It's one we've heard before about other nameless and faceless girls but this time it is an all out assault to our reality. She was walking home from school one day, an innocent 14 year old with hope and potential in her future, when she was surprised from behind by a group of men who 'gassed' and stole her. Her entire future, her body, soul, mind, laughter, friendships and hope were stolen that day. She woke up, a dark shell of fear and innocence, in a brothel.
This is a story I read in an article and shake my head in disgust. 'I can't believe people could do that!' I say in response. Then I go make another pot of coffee and settle in to check facebook or fold clothes. But not on this day.
On this day, I turn to this girl and look her in the eyes. I got to watch her meticulously share the small bit of English she knows from her school notebook, laughing with pride and joy. I got to hug her goodbye when we left with an armful of trinkets I purchased from our spontaneous shopping. I got to cry real tears as I thought of her over the next few days because I know her now. I felt her, reached out and could feel her flesh and bones, she is real. A real live story of hope standing in front of me. Hope, redemption and rescue.
Then there are the nuns. The impact these women have had, are having and hope to have is almost too much to put into words. Four women, slender, even tiny, bold and joyful, humble and eager with solid resolution behind every calculated word that passes their lips. These women know sacrifice, they know servanthood and love. They live each day with the full knowledge of what they've gotten themselves into as they pray for hours, then counsel and teach the girls they help rescue and then live with. They commit and then recommit themselves to Christ, the only one they know of who offers true salvation and redemption for us all. Committed to spending their lives in service to the King on assignment in the brothels. These four warriors gave me a new definition for a 'solid' walk with the Lord, and they put me in my place.