Letter from Lauran
Dear EBWU Sisters,
I’m writing this to you from sunny Chiang Mai, Thailand, where I’m having a fabulous time with friends and former residents of the New Life Center! You may recall that I lived in Chiang Mai for 14 years (until 2001) and was the first Director of the Center. The New Life Center was established in 1987 to prevent young women from having to do work which exploited them. Over 1000 young women were helped at the Center during the years that I was there — so I have lots of “daughters”! What is so gratifying to me is seeing the wonderful ways that God is using so many of them in ministries! Truly,
it’s a testimony to the beautiful “resiliency of the human spirit” with which God created us. While in Bangkok, I got to visit dear “May” who was orphaned and then kidnapped into a brothel. Fortunately, she was rescued by the police, and sent to us when she was just 12 years old. She grabbed on to the opportunity to receive an education and was so excited to know that Jesus could live in her heart—and she would never have to be lonely anymore. She graduated from Bible School, is the mother of 2 great sons, and now serves with her husband in a large Baptist church. She is working on a Master’s Degree in Counseling and prays that her new skills will be able to help others who are sad, lonely and desperate to know that there is restoration and Hope through Jesus Christ — just like she experienced. You can imagine how proud I am of her!
Recently, I’ve heard so many stories in Europe of girls who end up in situations of human trafficking and are desperate to find good choices for their lives. Some are kept against their will, and others are free to move around — but feel they have no choices because of the demanding needs of their families and the lack of opportunity in their home countries. In Europe, we all see the flood of immigrants from East to West, South to North — many of them into situations of exploitation and abuse. Most do not find their way into the sanctuary of our churches. Can we change that? Can we “take church” to them? Do we know how to do that? Do we understand their cultures and the reasons behind their “choices”? How can we offer the vulnerable people, the exploited and abused people the unconditional love of Christ and nurture them into a life of Faith and Hope in Jesus?
If you’ve ever asked any of these questions, then you should join us April 5-7, 2013 in Barcelona, Spain for the European Baptist Federation Anti-Trafficking Network Conference! The theme is: Co-laborers in Christ: Baptists Working Together – East-West-North-South.
There, we are going to learn from those in Eastern and Southern Europe about the forces driving people into situations of human trafficking in Western and Northern Europe – and together, work and pray toward creative ways to minister with them in Christ’s Name to meet their most pressing needs.
For more information go to the EBF Anti-Trafficking Network’s web-site for registration information. www.ebf-atwg.org/events Contact me if you have further questions! You are ALL welcome and encouraged to come!!!
Rev. Lauran Bethell serves as Global Consultant, helping Christians to minister in Christ’s name to victims of human trafficking and prostitution.
She is a missionary with International Ministries ABC/USA, and is based in The Netherlands.