I just finished reading The Road of Lost Innocence by Somaly Mam. She is a woman who was born in Cambodia deep in the jungle during the horrific of rule the Khmer Rouge. Being deep in the jungle she was spared form the slaughtering that was going on in the country around her but eventually, she was launched into a nightmare of her own. Having been orphaned at a very young age, it wasn’t long before she was taken from her jungle home and thrust into the dark work of indentured service and sex slavery. Her story is a hard one that haunted my dreams. But it was not her story alone that haunts me, it’s the realization that her story is one of so many. While retelling her story, she would make comments along the lines of, “But that is just how things were…” In her world children were thought of as a commodity. In such poverty stricken conditions, apparently people tend to lose affection and simply shift into survival mode. Then, the greediness of perverseness of those with money and power create the demand side of that equation. It’s absolutely horrifying to think about the hundreds of thousands of children in the world that live in the reality of the dark world of sex industry.
Some get sold into the industry sickeningly young. Which means rape and abuse, day after day, is literally the only world they have never known. Everyday, they get up, and that is their life.
When I was playing Barbies and riding around my neighborhood on my rainbow bike, these little girls were having their innocence and humanity being stripped from them. While my parents lovingly kissed me goodnight and told me they loved me, these girls were learning not to feel or say anything in order to merely survive another day.
How is it that I was spared that life and they weren’t?
This morning I walked past a small spirit shrine on the street. It’s incredibly common to see these set up all over Bangkok. At this one, I noticed three or four people bowing down, burning incense, and praying this particular spirit house. Again, not an uncommon thing to see. But the thought struck me again, as it does from time to time how lucky I am to know the real God of the universe. But more than that even, it also struck me how lucky I am to have grown up in with heavy Christian influences in my life. Thailand is 98% Buddhist, less than 1% Christain. Buddhism is the only world most of these people know. Much like the heaviness of the sex industry, it’s equally overwhelming to think about the number of people in the world of have yet to be exposed to the life saving Gospel…
Its really easy for me think of these things and start to feel incredibly guilty. How is it that I was spared? What makes my life any more worthy than these who have been literally born into worlds of torture or spiritual darkness? Why? Why was I spared?
If I said that knowing these things did not make me question whether or not there could be a God that would allow these things to happen, I’d be lying. I have been plagued with these doubts at times. Everything seems so unfair. But I have been struck and forever changed by the realty of our Lord and Savoir and I can’t see around Him. He is the only hope and light in this dark world. So the way I see it, I have two choices. I can either get bogged down by doubts and the realities of this world wondering apathetically at the injustice of it all, or I can live in incredible gratitude that I have been placed in a position where I can be a voice for the voiceless join in God’s redemptive work in this world.
If I was born into a place where my innocence and purity was protected….If I was born into a place where I was not thought of as a commodity… If I was born into place where I can comfortably eat, stay healthy and not have to worry about surviving through another day… If I was born into a place where I was able to be easily exposed to the truth of Christ, than I am in a place of incredible opportunity to use the blessings I have been given to be a blessing to others. To live my life in ay other way would be an awful misuse of it.
A couple of weeks ago a random traveler met one of the Nightlight volunteers by absolute chance (or more likely God’s work) on the skytrain. The volunteer soon found out the heaviness on this girl’s story. She had just left England to get away from her occupation. She was a sex worker… and she just found out she was pregnant. The volunteer brought “K” to Nightlight where a few of us sat down with her to hear her story and offer her any encouragement or guidance she needed. On top of everything else, she was thinking about getting an abortion. That night she stayed at the volunteer house and I spent the rest of the evening in conversation with her. As more of her story unfolded sometimes all I could do was sit there in amazement. She had an incredibly tough background filled with all sorts of abuse, and once again all I could think was “Why?… why was I spared and not her?” But for the rest of the night all I could do was talk about God, what else could I do? In the face of such pain and loss, the only hope left is God. You can blame Him and get lost in your pain, or you can learn to let him love you and help you with that pain.
Somaly Mam is an amazing woman with an amazing story that I would encourage you to read. She rose above her circumstances above all odds and used her experiences to help others who found themselves in the same position. But in the last chapter of her book she talks about how broken and dirty she still feels, how her nights are still filled with nightmares, and how she doubts she will ever be released from the pain of her past. She never found Christ to fully restore her and my heart breaks for this woman that longs to be whole again.
How thankful I am for God and for being in knowledge of His restoring Love. How grateful I am that God has put me in the position to share His transforming love.
After conversation with “K” that night, I felt so filled. Nothing fills me more than being able to talk about and share God’s love. She kept saying how the night before she had just been praying for direction… and then she met us…. God is so good.
Thank you God.