I knew God had told me about the A21 Campaign and the internship and all that, and I still feel very called to that, but I had been praying for Him to show me a way to get involved right NOW cause I couldn't just stand by and not do anything!
A few months ago, some women from my church asked if I wanted to go to lunch with them. There was one lady going who I had been meaning to talk to anyways, just never could find the time. So, here God was, giving me the perfect opportunity! We talked through lunch, then went to go get frozen yogurt and there I was able to ask her so many questions about Human Trafficking and everything she knew! That was when I found out about Bokenkamp.
All the stories she was telling me about these girls that barely escaped with their lives and all of their friends that didn't have the opportunity to escape broke my heart. I don't know how I kept it together. A few days later I was on the Internet, looking at Bokenkamp's website, searching for something to do, yearning to be apart of this. Then I found the Volunteer button, signed up, and waited. Then I waited some more....and then a little bit more....At some point, I realized they weren't going to contact me from that. And I'm not exactly sure what happened between being so excited about finding something I could do right now and then, but I became fearful! This was exactly what I wanted, God was faithful with His promises, and I knew I should call the shelter so that I could get started doing something, but I couldn't! I started to feel inadequate. Who was I to spend time with these girls? I had been raised in a great home with a great family and great friends, nothing that bad had ever happened to me. The worst thing about my life was like finding out about Santa, getting my heart broken by a boy, or being made fun of...Nothing like what these girls had gone through. How would I even relate to them? What would I say to them?
I felt that way for a few weeks. Then, as I was reading my bible study (“Stuck” by Jennie Allen!), she started talking about obedience. There it was. The push I needed. God wanted me to try again. “Just call them” He said. It was one of those times where if I didn't do what He was asking me, right then and there, I knew it would be a direct act of disobedience. It was practically impossible for me not to call. So I did....and no one answered. I left a message with all my information and just gave that to God. Tests were coming up and although it always stayed in the back of my mind it wasn't something I was necessarily focusing on.
Then, on one of the last days of classes, right before finals, I was leaving school and as I was walking to my car, God told me to just go to the shelter. Just stop by. He was speaking so loud, I felt like he was screaming at my brain. I thought about ignoring Him (Sorry, I'm human!) but I couldn't. What's the worst that could happen? Atleast they would know how serious I was about it and maybe they didn't get of my e-mails or phone calls! So I did... No one was there right then that I could talk to, so I just left my name and number again and left.
I don't know what it was about that place but just being there wrecked my heart. I didn't see any of the kids or anything, but it didn't matter. I cried the entire way home anyways. Then, just a few hours later, I had a missed call and a voice mail! They finally called me back! My annoying persistance paid off! I listened to it, and they explained how everything had been crazy because they were getting the shelter ready for the holidays, getting presents and stuff. I called them back the next day and asked just to get in touch when possible, and I thought I was going to have to put off my mission of getting into Bokenkamp until after the holidays....but God has secret, special plans.
I had been told that some ladies from my church went to Bokenkamp for a thing called “Chick Time” one Saturday a month, but that was before I knew what Bokenkamp actually was. Then shortly after I had given up getting into Bokenkamp, God sent a friendly reminder via my mom that this month was their Christmas Party Chick Time! I RSVPd and showed up that day not knowing what to expect, but so excited and nervous.
As we walked into the room where all these girls were seated, I had no idea what to do. They were mostly from Central and South American countries and only spoke Spanish. I'm white...like REALLY white. Spanish in high school for me was memorizing sounds, repeating them, and forgetting them right after. I could tell their guard was up, as anyone's would be when random strangers you can't understand come to hang out with you. Then we all started playing charades, a universal game, you just have to act! That's when the girls started to come out of their shell. They were SO funny. I had no idea what they were saying, but just from their cute, sassy attitudes I could tell. We played some other games with them, and brought them cookies and juice and distributed presents. The look on their face when they opened their gifts were priceless. They were so excited, yelling at their friends across the room, comparing their lip glosses and journals. They were like normal teenage girls, most of them 10-17 years of age. My heart could hardly take it, I kept tearing up, but I knew that crying was the exact opposite of what I needed to do for them. This was a time for them to try to forget and be happy. And I was happy for them, SO happy! But my heart also hurt so bad for them, I didn't even know what to do.
As we left that day, the entire vibe of the room was completely different as when we had walked in. They were so thankful, friendly, joyful, and loving. One girl even stood outside the door we were leaving through to give us all hugs. That about did me in emotionally. Afterwards, we went on a tour of the shelter and saw their chapel, school, and living areas, then we left. And I sobbed the entire way home as I did the last time I left that place.
Eventhough I didn't get to REALLY know any girls, or their stories, everything about that day just confirmed God's calling on my life. I'm still processing all the emotions in my heart but I can't wait for the day that I can get to know the girls here, in Greece, or wherever and love them and tell them about the true freedom they can have in Jesus.
Until then...I think I'm going to brush up on my Spanish and learn some Greek!