One year ago, I was sitting on the plane, returning home from one of the most mind-bending and faith-stretching experiences that I have ever had. I am coming back from my first Christian Medical and Dental Association/Global Health Outreach (www.cmda.org) trip to Managua, Nicaragua. The team was at the House of Hope (www.houseofhopenicaragua.org). Our purpose for being there was to bring the love of God to the victims of human trafficking and to invite them to the week-long medical clinic. I was privileged to be part of a team of humble spirit-filled, brilliant, and well-trained dentists, physicians, and nurses. What a honor it was to be one of the few none-medically trained team members as the pastoral counselor/chaplain.
Our mission for the week was the running of a medical clinic at the House of Hope for its residents, and for men, women, and children in the immediate area. Primarily, however, our work for the week was to focus on the women and children who are recovering from the trauma of being a part of a multi-generational family pattern of prostitution. We provided services in the form of family medicine, dentistry, gynecology and obstetrics, ultrasound, optical, pathology, physical therapy, and social work/pastoral counseling.
We saw the sights and smells of horses and donkeys that were pulling carts, truckloads of cabbages and other vegetables getting ready for market, men lying in hammocks which were strung underneath the semi-trailers, and children and chickens hanging out in their family businesses. The family businesses, of course, were the mother and daughter brothel businesses, which were lined up each in their own little row houses on the street. We watched the Johns go in and out. However, mostly our attention was on the women “sitting on the chairs” or “sentado en la sillas.” We found out that this was the metaphor for prostitution in Nicaragua.
It was for these women, these victims of generations of government corruption, limited education, and inability to find suitable employment, which we prayed for and for whom we wanted to be the face of Jesus. It is for these women who were themselves sold into slavery by their own family members as young as five or six, who continue to sit on the chairs because they know no other way to feed their children. As one of my teammates stated, “You know sitting on the chairs is a rather self-less act on the part of these women.”
These women blessed us, the Team, with their stories of resiliency and their reception of services. We in turn continue to offer up on their behalf, prayers for healing and the strength to leave this life with the help of the faith-based services at the House of Hope. It is on behalf of these women who continue to sit on the chairs day and night, that I ask you to join me in praying for all those young men and women around the world who are victims of human trafficking.
Image-2-Sittingonchairs: Pamela-Pater Ennis