Great time of Praise and Worship in Moldova!
Vladimir and Yulia Ubeivolc with Lauran
Plenary Presentation by Dr. Nancy Murphy
Toos Heemskerk and Vladimir Ubeivolc leading a plenary session
Way More Than I Could Envision!
There is a flood of young women from Eastern Europe who are coming to work in prostitution in Western Europe. They are desperate to support their families and themselves in countries where jobs are hard to find. They often know that they will work in prostitution—but they have no idea how violent it will be—or how it will exploit them. Usually, the largest percentage of money they make goes to pimps and brothel owners. But what they are able to keep is still much more than they could have made in their home countries.
It seems like an impossible situation—but God doesn’t see it that way! The Good News is that God is calling groups and individuals to reach into the impossible situations and is giving them loving and creative ideas for helping lives filled with hopeless to find Hope.
I don’t have a lot of answers to the depressing situation. It’s discouraging and often lonely work. But I do know that God speaks through the Community of Faith—and the best we can do is share together. And so, I was privileged to represent the International Christian Alliance on Prostitution (ICAP) and join with Toos Heemskerk from the Scarlet Cord in Amsterdam along with Vladimir Ubeivolc from Beginning of Life in Chisinau, Moldova to plan “Escape 2010-- Pan-European Conference on Prostitution, Human Trafficking and Sexual Exploitation” which we held in Chisinau in October. Toos, Vladimir and I planned the basics of the conference in Skype conversations over the months beforehand. Originally, I thought that we could call the conference a success if 40 committed individuals showed up.
I had no idea what God had in mind for this conference. I should have guessed, though, when we entered into a time of spiritual warfare which threatened to discourage and undo our good planning. Venues were inexplicably canceled, cars were wrecked, people got sick, flights were missed. But we went into major prayer mode and all the adversities were overcome—and we could see the irritations for what they were. The enemy wanted to destroy--because God was doing a major work here.
When our numbers climbed to over 100, we started to have to readjust our program and include more workshops. When the conference began, there were 160 people there—4x more than I had anticipated! They were from 25 different countries. I was stunned at all the detail work that the staff of “Beginning of Life” had done to make the participants feel welcomed, comfortable and involved. And as the conference progressed, it dawned on me even more profoundly that there was a movement of God’s Spirit in Eastern and Western Europe working to prevent and offer alternatives to prostitution and human trafficking.
I’d like to share a testimony from one of the participants:
“Perhaps the greatest encouragement of the weekend was simply to be in the company of so many brothers and sisters in Christ on an international level. There is something that touched my heart very deeply as I looked around the conference hall at the 160 people in attendance, knowing that God was using each of these willing vessels to make a difference in the 25 countries that were represented at the gathering. During one of our worship sessions, Lauran invited all of us to sing “Amazing Grace” in our native languages; tears streamed down my face as I knew I had tasted a little bit of Heaven.
As far as the content of the weekend and what it all means in my work with the children and teens of the orphanages… well, I am still sorting it out. Prevention, I believe, will be the most logical starting point. With a clearer picture of the prey and the predator, it is imperative to educate our girls about their vulnerability…. I am convinced that the words of truth and love that are spoken into these girls’ lives will resound most clearly and will have the greatest impact as they are carried out in consistent relationship. “Assure the girls of their worth, their beauty, their identity in Christ…” advised the key speaker, Toos, when I spoke with her personally. Knowing that this is already one of our team’s aims gave me a boost of confidence; being reminded of the importance will drive me to press on with more intention and purpose”.
THANK YOU for supporting and caring for me through your prayers and gifts—and giving me the privilege of witnessing the movement of God’s Spirit in this world!