23 October 2009

Tender Hearted

I don't know what God is doing in me right now, but he has got my heart in a vise and is squishing it. I have the most shredded heart I know. I can't do or read or see anything without the lost and hurting somehow crowding into my brain and laying there, taking up all of my attention and drilling holes into my heart. It is hard to see people as God does! For a few hours today I read a book I had been mailed by a stay-at-home mother of 4 named Pam Cope, to review for my other blog. It's called Jantsen's Gift: A True Story of Grief, Rescue, and Grace and I've read 150 pages and cried probably 12 times.

Let me share an excerpt with you: "Both of them had been working as prostitutes for several years, and the night before we met, they each had been with ten different men. For each client, they were paid the equivalent of about $3, half of which they had to give to the brothel owner. The rest they sent home to their families. These young women were so scared and emotionally spent, and the years of trauma they had endured in their work showed on their faces. The older girl was also addicted to heroin-- which is not unusual. Many brothel owners purposefully hook their employees on drugs as a way of keeping them dependent on the work. Hearing the stories of their lives was heartbreaking. The girls could not always convince their clients to wear a condom, and both were too scared to get tested for HIV. They cried openly when discussing how degraded and shamed they felt every morning, yet when we offered to take them immediately to a safe house for prostitutes, they both refused. The older one didn't want to go because she knew she couldn't get drugs there; she panicked at the idea of it. The younger said her family would starve were it not for the money she sent home each week. I understand the impulse to simply judge these girls as "Asian prostitutes" beyond help, but that's not who they were to me. They were scared, broken girls who could not see any hope."

Money goes so far in other countries where atrocious things happen every day! What I pay for my mortgage for two months funds "food, shelter, tuition, clothing and medical needs for 15 children, and a salary for the houseparent... for one year [in Viet Nam]."

I am overwhelmed. I don't want to be one of those people who looks at every person holding a cup of Starbucks coffee and preaches about the cost of feeding an African child. I am in the process of changing my spending habits and the amount of stuff I own and what I do with my money so that it can line up with my mouth.

"Every increased possession loads us with a new weariness" -John Rushkin