welcome to North Carolina
Dear friends, and mostly my mom:
Welcome to North Carolina. As you probably know, I am spending a couple of months in western North Carolina to work at a house for girls who have been trafficked in the United States. You can learn more about the Hope House on their website. The home I am working with is for girls ages 18-25. It is not a rehab facility, meaning that girls who need extensive therapy or have a drug addiction or other complications are not sent here. Instead, the house is a transitional living facility. Girls who have been rescued out of trafficking situations are taken here to receive counseling and life skills training (such as cooking or how to balance a checkbook) to aid them on their way to independence in a safe, healthy lifestyle. Additionally, they are taught the Gospel, because we truly believe that hope can only be found in Christ. Usually, the house is a long-term (1 year) transitional step after a girl has been rescued.
I am an intern. Mostly, that means my job is to fill in the gaps. Sometimes there are a lot of gaps. Right now, there are two girls living at the house, and one woman to provide all the care/transportation/emotional support. Her name is Meredith, and she is kind of fearless. Basically, she has a 24/7 emotionally demanding job and she lives where she works. That’s a lot for anyone to handle; I don’t care who you are. So for the summer, I am the fill-in care/transportation/emotional support during the afternoon and nighttime so that Meredith can have a life sometimes.
I guess maybe it sounds thrilling to spend a summer in the mountains, supposedly changing the lives of girls who have been trafficked. But actually, it’s kind of regular. The girls aren’t a tragic accident to gawk at; they’re real people trying to figure out how to live. We don’t talk about the trauma, mostly. What I really want is to be a friend. I want to tell them that God loves them, and Christ died for them and has offered them hope- and then I want them to believe it, trust it, and live it. I want to help them move on and figure out where to go from here. But things like that don’t happen overnight; and sometimes not at all. They kind of happen slowly, during regular life. So we go to the Chinese Buffet together for dinner because we like it. We rent movies from Blockbuster and avoid romance films because they trigger too many ugly memories. We roll down the windows and turn up the music and sing Pink songs at the top of our lungs because laughing is fun. And sometimes we just do the dishes and sit in the house and do nothing, because real life is like that. Not all the moments are life-changing or thrilling, and that’s good. I think in the scheme of things, I play a very tiny role in their lives. I’m just here to do what I can, even if it’s just taking the girls to yoga because they were in the mood today. And I pray for them, because I know intimately the Hope they so desperately need.
I’ll post a few things about my summer on this blog, for those who are curious, and for those who wish to pray. And for my mom, who is the only one that will actually read this. I plan to post a little about trafficking, because I have been taught so much in recent months and I feel compelled to share. Lastly, I plan to let you know how you can help if you feel convicted to do so, because nothing feels worse than desiring to help and not knowing how.
Thank you to those who are praying for the girls, and to those who are praying for my heart! I’m not always sure what I’m doing but I am always certain that what God is doing is for their good, my good, and to the glory of his beautiful name. Until next time,