By Jessy Joyce
After two intense days (in Bombay and at the New Bombay medical clinic) and an entire day of rest at my home in Bombay, I was ready to visit Ashagram, the safe haven for children and women rescued from sex trafficking. I arrived with my father, one of his best friends and my cousin after a 4-hour car drive from Bombay city. I was pleased to see beautiful stone wall homes surrounded with trees situated in a remote suburban location away from the chaos of the city.
Despite the sweltering heat, the medical team had started their clinic for women with HIV positive and BTC staff members. I assisted Dr. Shelley George with translation as she met with 9 women – most of them HIV positive. What stood out to me was how grateful the women were to 1) Jesus for saving their soul 2) BTC staff and Devraj Uncle for being Jesus’ arms and legs in rescuing them from evil and 3) us because we travelled from America to see them. Their grateful hearts touched my soul. I loved how some were shy and others couldn’t wait to share their testimony during “medical check-up”.
After we were done checking the women, we had a delicious Indian lunch (fried chicken, chicken curry, dal and gobi curry) at Indian Stretchable Time (IST).
Soon after lunch, Asha and I headed over to Jubilee 4 which is home for kids who are HIV positive. The rest of the crew continued their medical clinic at Ashagram seeing the boys. At Jubilee 4, I was amazed at how the children were overflowing with love and joy. I was overwhelmed with the love they showered on us. Asha shared the gospel with the kids in a manner in which they were able to comprehend through the use of colored beads which the kids used to form accessories such as bracelet, necklace, rings, anklets, etc. Each colored bead represented a part of the gospel story for example the color red represented the redemptive work of the cross. At Jubilee 4, we also met with two young girls from UK who have been living with the kids for the last two months helping them with classes, English and even some ballroom dancing. I was amazed at their commitment and love for the kids and how they were able to adapt to the weather, living space and food.
Our next stop was Jim’s (aka Tom Uncle’s) office which was in Jubilee 3. I’m sure the office structure is nothing in comparison to the one he was used to in America but he continued to toil away diligently with his BTC communications staff – Anu, Ballu and Sandeep – growing awareness through their Stop Sex Slavery (SSS) campaign.
Our last stop for the day was Jubilee 1, home for girls (age range 14 through 27) that could have been exploited. The rest of the crew from Ashagram joined us here. Juby, Karen and Shelley taught the girls about female hygiene. It was a fun evening with the girls. I enjoyed hearing the testimony of Asha, the person in-charge of the girls from Jubilee 1 and 2 which started with only 5 girls when she first started her ministry 16 years ago, and today is home to over 75 girls and several others who’ve become financially independent after graduating from college.
The highlight of the trip for me thus far has been:
- the lives of the BTC outreach workers at the New Bombay medical clinic that are building relationships everyday with the women in the red light district and are speaking the truth and the love of the gospel in order to rescue them from a bondage that they may not even acknowledge.
- the lives of the positive kids at Jubilee Home 4 that were overflowing with love and joy. I was happy to see their living situation with their bunk beds and how diligently they were preparing for their upcoming exams. It was great to know that the environment was truly a “home” for them. I was brokenhearted to hear them ask how long we would stay and when we’d return to see them next.
I think through all of this I realized that although I arrived here with the mindset to love and support the children and women, they in turned loved on me and pointed my heart to the love and grace of Christ. If you are reading this blog, may I ask you to pray that my heart may never become immune or cold to the redemptive work of the cross.