Coming to Terms with Reality

(Written by our GRACE Volunteer, Bleu Oleson)


I remember my reaction the first time I was told of children being prostituted. I thought – BALONEY – that doesn’t happen. Our hearts just can’t handle that kind of information without wanting it to be false.

I had moved to Costa Rica because I heard about a town that was known for it’s countless prostitutes. In my naive mind I thought I could come up with a way to get them off the street. I had a plan to help them start their own businesses sewing Hawaiian style shirts, but the funding I was promised from friends in the states fell through. So I was left building relationships with the women while I worked odd jobs.

Through story after story I came to understand the prevalence of parents forcing their children into selling their bodies to pay the family’s bills. It was multi-generational and gut wrenching.

For seven years I knew only of what was happening there in Costa Rica  Then I came back to the states. With open eyes I researched criminal records of trafficking in the US. I felt like I’d been sucker punched. This unthinkable evil was happening in my own “safe” country.

Still I was convinced if someone really wanted to be safe here all they needed to do was to reach out to the police or a church. My head couldn’t wrap itself around the idea that kids here in the US could be held against their will with no way out.

I decided to move to Tijuana to help out at an orphanage for two years. In that time God continued to build the muscles in my heart that allowed me to accept the truth, that trafficking is a global pandemic of which the US is a major offender.

It’s easy to fall into the lie that all of this is just too big of a problem to do anything about. What’s one person’s small efforts going to do against such a systemic failure? What difference can someone like me make? It’s easy to feel defeated and paralyzed, to close our ears and hearts and give up. However, knowing there are kids out there being abused –  kids without a voice –  and doing nothing is unthinkable.

I’m grateful to GRACE for opening their hearts to this community and for the opportunity to serve with them.

I’m so blessed to have a roof over my head and to have enough to eat. I’m blessed to have family and friends who care about me. But even more than that I am blessed that God through His Holy Spirit uses us to bind up the broken-hearted. That together through the Name of Jesus we can proclaim liberty to the captive, to open the prison of those who are bond.

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