Before I interned with Precious to God, I knew a lot about human trafficking. As my eyes were opened to this evil in high school, I had to know why I had never heard about this and what it was. As I began to research, my heart was broken over the huge numbers it was impacting and yet the little amount of people were talking about it. That was 5 years ago, and since I have continued to research and also educate the people in my circle of influence. During my freshman year of college I realized that God has given me this passion for a reason. I knew I needed to do more to fight against human trafficking. This is what has led me to Precious to God and as my summer internship draws to a close, I would like to reflect on what I have learned.
Before interning with Precious to God, I knew I wanted to dedicate my life to fight against human trafficking, but I never knew what that looked like. I knew what discipleship was, but I had never experienced a one-on-one discipleship relationship. I have met very few people who are far different from me; so coming into this internship I was a little nervous. I had never met a former prostitute or a woman who has experienced trauma after trauma. I didn’t know what talking to these women would be like or if I would hopelessly mess everything up. I honestly thought these women would all fit the same mold. I was very wrong.
After interning with Precious to God, I would like to do more with the knowledge of human trafficking I possess. Volunteering with a non-profit is not easy, but it is making a huge difference in the lives of many people. I have learned that talking to people who are different from you is easier than I thought. Everyone is made in the image of God and born with a heart that is restless until it finds rest in God. Many people’s stories are similar in a sense, but also different. Our stories are similar because before you meet Christ, you are searching for fulfillment and joy, and may go wherever you think that leads you. After awhile, you learn that this earthly joy you found was only temporary, and you’re back to feeling empty. Each woman in our program has gone through this and has a unique story of how this has shaped and impacted their life and brought them to Christ. Not all these women are the same as I previously thought, and they are very easy to talk to, because they have a yearning to find joy in God just like I did when was first becoming a Christian.
This summer, I have learned the importance of having ministry partnerships and not trying to do this on your own. There are many different aspects to ministering to sexually exploited women, and one organization cannot cover all of those. This is why Precious to God partners with other organizations in Richmond that focus on different areas of this ministry. I did not know what human trafficking ministry would look like. Every organization looks differently and it isn’t always going into brothels and rescuing women or answering crisis calls. This is crucial, but so is the restoration and discipleship process years after the trauma. Just like any aspect of ministry, it’s a slow process but the end result is a life that was previously in bondage and is now saved by the grace of God.
Throughout the summer, I have met many different older women who have worked in this ministry for a long time. Learning from them has been very beneficial and taught me so much about how to serve and love sexually exploited women. Learning from these women has taught me how to love people better and be patient with them as they grow into a relationship with Christ.