Friday, August 15, 2008

Bombay Teen Challenge - India 02

So, I think I'm going to continue going backwards on the timeline of my trip & tell you more about the time that just Josh and I were in Mumbai. I mentioned that I worked at a retreat for women rescued from sex trafficking at the Bombay Teen Challenge center, but there is even more I have to share about this AMAZING organization. It is run by a man named Dav Raj, and he has amazing favor both with government officials including the United Nations as well as in the midst of the Red Light District. During our time we were able to talk with Dav Raj and meet children and adults that he has rescued from the streets.

Things that I found fascinating include:
  • Of the over 100 women he has rescued from prostitution, not ONE of them chose to become prostitutes, but every single woman was either kidnapped or sold into this bondage.
  • Dav Raj has amazing favor with the government - so much so that he is free to take any woman who wants to go with him out of the brothels. The pimps don't even try to stop him!
  • He currently has Bible Studies that meet weekly in the brothels, and smiled as he said that women will tell men to come back in an hour so that they can finish studying about takes quite a bit of time before the women can trust him and are willing to leave.
  • He also has a thriving ministry to children who are on the streets - thousands of children are homeless and most of them are addicted to glue as it staves off their hunger pains.

So, first, we had the opportunity to go to one of his centers located in the middle of the Red Light District. This places currently houses boys and girls who have been rescued from the streets, and we had so much fun with them! The boys at first acted all prim and proper, but Christie said, you should ask them to dance for you! So, we put on some music and they showed us some impressive moves. Well, not to be outdone, my husband also began to dance and even broke out into the worm! It was HILARIOUS, and Josh became the hero of the day! Here are some pics. from our time with the boys.

Josh shows some dance moves as the boys cheer him on!

Three boys that were rescued from the streets...the boy in the middle was addicted to glue and practically starving. He is now thriving and an amazing dancer.

After meeting the boys we were able to go spend some time with the girls. Instead of dancing, we mostly sang and prayed with these precious little girls. As we prayed, my heart was drawn to three girls who looked to be in their teens. As I prayed with them, silent tears streamed down their faces. I felt like I was simply supposed to tell one of the girls that God hears her prayers, and as I did so she began to cry harder. I sat with her and asked the Lord about this situation...I heard Him say, "I really do love to hear her, just as I love to hear you." Perhaps this is one of the greatest lessons I learned this year on this trip. God LOVES to be with us. He is with us in the midst of our joys, pains, and even mudane moments. We can scream at him, cry to Him and laugh with Him. He cherishes it all. In fact, it makes me think of a scripture I came across just yesterday morning as I was reading James.

James 4:5 - Or do you suppose it is to no purpose that the Scripture says, "He yearns jealously over the spirit that he has made to dwell in us"?

This is one of my favorite pictures. I just love the smiles and goofy faces that these girls were making for are kids regardless of what country they are in...

Seriously, aren't they gorgeous?
Okay, I'm back from my tangent...after we prayed with the girls we went to the rooftop of this building and looked out over the Red Light District. Dav Raj pointed out the building where the women are sold and there was this dark and oppressive cloud just hovering over this area. When we left the Teen Challenge Center we drove down the streets of the Red Light District, and my heart was in my throat. The streets were full of men and in the doorways stood the women...

A view of the Red Light District from the rooftop
A definite stark contrast between the eyes I saw that day and the eyes I saw two days later at the Teen Challenge Center...

Going back to the Main Center where we had our retreat. I LOVED the fact that not only is it a safe place where these women can find healing and peace, but they are also teaching the women skills as well as education. Most of these women have no education because they were sold at a young age (I realized this as I asked my group to write their names down for me, and several asked one young lady to write it for them). But BTC has started a business where ladies are sewing and making fabulous jewelry! Every women learns a skill and 30 of them are currently employed by this business. They have opened bank accounts for them, and their work is so amazing that Target has even picked up some of their jewelry line!

I was just thoroughly impressed at how these ladies are given hope in EVERY area of their lives. My prayer today is that those women who I saw standing in the doorways of the Red Light district - may they also find a way out - may they find Jesus - may they see clearly who they can trust - and may they find peace...

Dav Raj & the girls who are currently working for the sewing business

One of the girls showed me her technique

So, that's it for today! So much more to share - I will continue tomorrow!

Oh, I also wanted to share about Mandi Holmes - I mentioned that she sang at the retreat after I spoke. She is really great and I wanted to point you towards her CD. You can check her out at


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