In a recent conversation, I was reminded of all of the choices I have had as a woman living in Canada. Graduating from high school was a "given" for me almost 30 years ago (30 years ago?!?...really?!?). After high school, I got to choose the kind of post secondary education that I desired and while it was it challenging to figure out how to pay for it all, it was within my reach. I chose a pretty amazing husband and I gave birth to three sweet babies comforted by the sights and sounds of machinery that was at the ready in the event of an emergency. Choice is all I have ever known.
When we consider vulnerable women around the globe, we begin to realize that they often don't have the same luxury of choice.
I want to give you an example. Below is a blog post from Annie Dieselberg, CEO of NightLight International in Bangkok, Thailand. (You can find out more here.) Nighlight is where our ZOE Partner Krista Couts reaches out to women in the sex trade.
From Annie's blog...
Last night's outreach was sad. I met a young woman 25 yrs, named Jar. I could tell she was brand new. They called her to dance but she didn't know what to do. She was very uncomfortable. I called her over and found out it was her first day and she was scared. She said she had worked at a factory putting hard drives together but a friend told her she could make a lot of money fast at the bar. Her mother, 45 yrs. is in her last stage of terminal breast cancer. The doctor has given her two weeks to live. Jar has come to work at the bar to pay for the hospital bill and for chemotherapy. I asked her why they were doing chemotherapy if her mom had two weeks. She got teary and said that her mother is the only person she has left and she wants to do all she can. I held her and prayed for her. She held back the tears as best she could. Her mother has lost all her hair and doesn't talk with her much anymore because she is not doing well. I told Jar about NightLight and she was excited and hopeful. She thinks she will work two weeks and see what happens with her mom and then call me. The only way for her to make a lot of money in two weeks is through tips from customers. That's not likely with more girls working and fewer customers around and her being so new and uncomfortable.
I'm praying for a miracle for her mom.
Can you imagine? Can you imagine believing that your only option to help your mum pay for her chemotherapy was to enter the sex trade?
At the heart of it, ZOE Projects wants to give women a better range of choices that lead to autonomy, dignity, health, worth and most importantly...LIFE.
I am going to try something today and I invite you to do it with me. Today I am going to look at all the choices that I have (both big and small) and I am going to ask God to grow my "heart" for women who don't live in my reality. May God speak!