Every year, IJM friends and field office leaders from all over the world unite in Washington, DC for this awesome event. Gathered together, we heard news fresh from the frontlines and learned how we could pray for them. Then, we actually pray. It is such a powerful experience to be in a room with 1500 people all praying to our God for the justice work being done in many different countries around the world in the name of Jesus Christ.
The greatest encouragement for us came when the field office director from IJM’s newest field office in the Philippines asked us all to pray for God to raise up more aftercare partners for them to do more raids. This just further ignited the deep longing in our hearts to see this dream come true and begin housing rescued victims in our first aftercare facility. In God’s timing, it will come to fruition. And what a joyous day it will be to begin making disciples across the globe through the ministry of aftercare.
One final story from the weekend: it was the most moving and powerful moment from a power-packed weekend when we were told the story of Anisha. Anisha grew up in a poor rural area in Asia. She was determined to be the first in her family to get a degree. In order to pay for school, she began taking odd jobs in the city. Unfortunately, one job was a farce and she was forced into sex trafficking for years.
After being taken, girls are systematically broken. They become a shell of their old self losing all hope and self-worth. In this bizarre new world, the pimps and brothel owners who exploit them become their “family” and the brothel is their “home.” After a few years, an IJM rescue operation freed her from the living hell she was experiencing…but the damage has to be undone. This is where IJM’s job is finished and the work of aftercare begins.
Through good, Jesus-centered aftercare, she began to allow herself to dream again and have hope. Eventually, she found the one true hope in Jesus Christ through the gospel. Anisha is now employed through IJM and on the path to becoming a social worker to help girls coming out of sex trafficking!
To top it all off, she came out on stage in person to pray. There was not a dry eye in the place as Anisha proudly flashed her radiant smile and gave her testimony of what Jesus has done. She was truly smiling in her heart and it lit up the entire room. What a dramatic and refreshing picture of all of our redemption when we put our faith in Jesus’ atoning sacrifice for our sins and find new life in his death and resurrection!
Anisha is such a clear example of the importance of aftercare and the dream of One Saved.