Yesterday we had a beautiful Freedom Sunday service. We are excited to see young men and women at TC Naz following after God’s heart. I am also so glad to be a part of a church and a denomination that stand for hope and freedom. Today I would like to share with you a story from our Global Church about how the Church is at work helping to set the captives free.
Finding Freedom in a Red-Light District in India: Pari’s Story
In the novel Les Miserables, Victor Hugo tells the story of Fantine, a young woman who turns to prostitution when it’s the only way she can provide for the young daughter she loves. Here is a story of the boundless love of a mother. Fantine is a fictional character, yet her story is true for far too many women around the world. And while many people write them off as women who are no longer worthy of care, a local Nazarene church near a red-light area in a large city in India, has been reaching out to women in prostitution through drop-in centers.
The centers are named “Hope for Life.” They have started two centers so far to provide care for children in the area and to provide hope and possibilities for a new life to women like Pari (not her real name).
Pari was born into a small family in a remote village in eastern India. She got an education and married a good man. They had a baby boy, and life was happy. But when her husband passed away, that happiness died, too. The young mother searched for work to provide for her son, but she found nothing.
One day a friend came to her village and invited her to the large city. The friend promised a good job making enough money to care for herself and her child.
But when Pari reached the city, she was taken to a red-light area. She told her friend she could never do that work. Yet when she could not find a job to pay for rent, food, and other needs for her child, she became desperate. With no other options, Pari agreed to work in the red-light area.
“I felt like I was in hell, but there was no other way,” she said.
That was 20 years ago. Now, Pari continues in prostitution to provide for her children.
Recently, Pari began coming to one of the Nazarene drop-in centers. There, her children have a safe place to learn and grow. Pari attends workshops on protection and self-care. She also attends weekly prayer meetings.
When a counselor visited her at home, Pari shared about her past and her deep grief over her life.
“The life I live is the worst life on the planet. I don’t see any hope or anyone who can get me out of it,” she said.
Pari knows this life is not good for her children. “I would like to come out of the pit, but I don’t know how and what I will do for income,” she said.
The counselor suggested taking advantage of one of the vocational training options at Hope for Life. The center offers courses in beauty salon training, bakery production, and tailoring.
Today, Pari is enrolled in tailoring classes and is and preparing herself for a whole new life ahead.
Currently (as of August 2017), 75 children come daily to the Hope for Life centers, and there are 150 women who are benefitting from one of the many services at the center. To learn more about this ministry, check out the Summer 2018 issue of NCM Magazine.
Pari’s story is possible because of the generosity of churches and individuals during Freedom Sunday. Gifts given to the Freedom Offering in the past have supported the opening of new anti-trafficking ministries, including Hope for Life. Your gifts this year will support new projects as well as the continuation of ongoing anti-trafficking work.