Happy Tears

There were a lot of emotions and tears on our last day.  We were able to review exercises and occupational therapy we taught earlier in the week.  The two organizations created artwork together representing the bond that formed between the two groups this week.  Finally our group performed the tap dance the shim sham shimmy.  It was a joy for us to perform and share a little of our culture with everyone.  After this we presented them with certificates and a small gift.  It was overwhelming to see the girls excitement as they received an award for their accomplishments.  There were many happy tears and lingering hugs as the women left.  They asked when we would be back to teach  them more.  What follows is a note from one participant about her experience.  This is in her own words, “These four days was very unforgettable days.  Because we enjoyed these four days, very much.  That we have ever enjoyed in my life.  The most unforgettable moment in my life means these four days.  I like you very much.  I received your love.  But I was not able to give love how much I received from you because of language problem.  Whenever you remember me please call for me.  And again when we will meet.”

After the one agency left we spent the remaining time with Freedom Firm women and staff.  We were able to affirm them for who they are and that they are worthy and valued. 

Today (Saturday) we are headed to Leg Up, the Freedom Firm horse therapy program.  We will be working with the disabled children and seeing another church’s construction project.  Then we start on our very LONG journey home.  We leave at about 4pm from Ooty to embark on our 9 hour bus ride to Bangalore, 11 hour flight to London, and 10 hour flight to Chicago. (Prayers would be more than appreciated) We will most likely not have internet access so this will be our last blog post from India.  Our hearts will return full and completely blessed.  Thank you for coming alongside us through our journey and praying with and for us. 

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Freedom Firm India Team

Giggles and Braids

This morning we headed to the Freedom Firm office and jewelry workshop.  We were able to see where the girls work and spoke to one of the founders about how the organization began and how they have begun training other organizations in how to complete investigations and raids. 

There were less giggles at lunch today while we attempted to eat with our hands, we must be getting better!

The overall feel of the dance workshop was very relaxed.  We spoke about community and did activities that gave the women opportunities to positively affirm themselves and others.   A lot of the women are bringing their friends and family to the dance workshop.  We were told this is very freeing for the Muslim participants because they do not leave their homes often.  They really enjoy moving and being creative during our times together.

We followed up on the occupational therapy and trained some of the staff so the progress of reintegration of these reflexes can continue.  Then we were onto making ribbon rings to use as props to dance and review some exercises we had done earlier in the week.

Following the workshop we were able to deeply connect with a few of the women, they braided our hair, laughed, and joked around.  It was a sweet and special time.  We can’t believe only one dance workshop day left. 

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Shim Sham Shimmy

Our dance workshop theme today was trust and balance.  We did a lot of pairing and group trust activities.  These women had to depend on one another indifferent exercises.  The exercises were designed in such a way that they needed to share weight another physically to complete these successfully. 

Later we did an activity called soul collage, the women picked images they were drawn to and used them to decorate a notebook.  These women aren’t given choices often, so this was extra special for  them and powerful to watch. Once the notebook covers were designed we used this for discussion questions and the women made movements based on their collage.  By doing this they were able to discover more about themselves and express themselves through movement. 

We were greeted with children in costumes, who performed for us, played hopscotch, and were served chai tea with sweets.  Where in India were we? Nowhere else but the Hobart CDC Compassion Project in Ooty.  Yesterday we met a women who happens to the volunteer project director for Compassion’s Hobart CDC.  She invited us to visit this evening and we were utterly blessed.  The children performed three Indian dances for us and in return we were able to share the (very American) tap dance the Shim Sham Shimmy.  We were all overflowing with joy to meet the staff and children and happened to visit on India’s Children’s Day, which was an extra special blessing. 

We hope you enjoy the pictures!!

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More than Satisfied

If today was the last day, we would be more than satisfied with what the Lord has done! He has been at work. Because of the massive Dewali celebration (constant fireworks and lots of extra congestion in town) we thought our guests from a separate aftercare agency wouldn’t come today, but quite a few women made a huge effort to come back. They are making friends with the Freedom Firm girls (one of the goals of our trip is to build the relationship between these two agencies). The women are bonding with each other, their staff and with us. They call us Dede, which means “older sister”. Even the women working in the kitchen came out today and wanted to dance.

 

The Occupational Therapy work again revealed that the exercises were needed and very effective...THANK YOU LIZ! Our theme for the day was lead and follow. This created relational moments between partners as they mirrored each other’s movements. We challenged each woman to be the leader of the entire group. Although this took a huge amount of courage on their part, we were so proud to see them step out of the comfort zone and take on a leadership role.

 As the women danced across the floor, we could see them investing 100% into their movement. Their movement was honest, authentic and beautiful!

We ended our afternoon with Solarium, a number of pictures that can initiate deep conversations. The women understood our questions and picked pictures that expressed their feeling.  It was beautiful, the women sharing their hearts and part of their stories with us!  We can only wait with anticipation to see what the rest of the week brings.[gallery]



 

Way up high

We first are so thankful for your prayers, we felt so lifted and sustained during our very long trip.  Our travels to India went smoothly.  We left Stevens Point at noon on Friday and arrived at our destination 40 hours later.  The last leg of the trip included a 9 hour bus ride out of Banglore, into the country and up the mountain side.  Thirty six hair pin turns on a bumpy road brought us way up high into the mountains to the campus where we are both staying and teaching our workshops.  We all made it one peice (lots of crazy driving, as the Compassion India team mentioned), with all of our luggage, and we even have a Western flushing toilet in our accommodations.  I think I (Lindsay) am the most excited about this.  The fun little blessings are a huge deal.

Our first dance workshop was today.  It started off a little rocky, but at the closed with lots of smiles and hugs from the women.  We were able to incorporate some occupational therapy with the women, these exercises we needed and effective.  It was wonderful seeing growth in the women in short amount of time.

God has definitely blessed our spirits today!  We are so encouraged.  Please continue to be praying for us!

This is a very short post, I hope to have more time in to update further, but enjoy some pictures.[gallery]

2 Weeks and Counting.

A little less than two weeks until we leave, excitement and nerves abound. I wanted to introduce you to our team:

Angie, besides being a wife to Jeff and mother to Will and John, Angie’s list of favorites includes parsnips, coffee, to do lists, teaching dance, kayaks and paisley. Her justice journey began in May of 2011 when she read Not For Sale by David Batstone; with a broken heart she has ceaselessly researched the problem of Human Trafficking ever since. “This trip to India came out of obedience to God’s leading in my life. I am definitely out of my comfort zone…I know that witnessing the pain and the hope of the victims will leave a permanent mark on each of us. My role on this trip is to facilitate the details so that doors can be opened to opportunities for us as a team to learn from and serve the girls and the staff at Freedom Firm.”

Sarah is a Minnesotan who loves to drink coffee, watch musicals, travel, and collect anything vintage. She is a UWSP graduate as of last spring from which she holds a BA in Dance. Sarah is full of energy an anticipation for what God has in store for her life and for India. Right now she is teaching and performing all over the Twin Cities and learning to be creative with all of the things God brings her way. Her justice journey began a year and a half ago when she lived in Costa Rica with YWAM. Prayer walking at a brothel and literally seeing human beings sold in front of her permrantently etched a calling of justice on her heart. As she looks towards India, she finds hope in knowing that God's already gone ahead of the trip and now she just needs to walk in obedience to His voice.

Olivia is a wife to Luke, mother to Levi and expecting twins in April! She enjoys photography, eggnog ice cream, and being at the lake with family. Her justice journey began when she was cast in a dance work based on the topic of trafficking and since then she has felt the Lord’s calling to work with victims in her own life. Her role in this trip is coordinating, developing and teaching dance material in hopes of continuing to restore the women in India physically, emotionally and spiritually. She is very excited to share both her passion for dance and for the Lord in India!

Marissa is a Senior at UWSP studying Arts Management & Religious Studies. Other than finding time to visit her fiance Jeff and plan for their wedding, Marissa enjoys spending her time dancing, singing/songwriting, playing guitar, and spending time with friends and family. She is a student leader with UWSP's Cru movement. Her justice story started last year with Angie and the team over a dinner conversation. Since then, the Lord has faithfully provided numerous opportunities (including this trip) to use her Arts Mgmt major, her gifts, and her heart to serve those who have experienced injustice to fiht against Human Sex trafficking.

Lindsay is a wife of Patrick and a banker. She enjoys learning, laughing, and friends. Lindsay's justice journey began by reading the book, Not for Sale, by David Batstone. This book changed her and through it God gave her a compassion for victims of human trafficking. Lindsay is thankful for this opportunity to go and serve in India and prays that the team is a blessing to the young women and staff of the aftercare facilities.

[caption id="attachment_24" align="alignnone" width="300"] (Bottom R-L) Marissa, Olivia, Sarah
(Top R-L) Lindsay and Angie[/caption]

 

Here are a few prayer requests:

Pray for clear headedness as we each manage the rest of our preparations on top of our regular responsibilities

We have about 40 hours of travel to get to the facility (and home). Please pray we would be flexible, selfless, and that the Lord would sustain us.

Pray for the girls we will be working with, that they would benefit from and be blessed by the dance sessions we will do together

Training Weekend

[caption id="attachment_13" align="alignnone" width="224"] One of our activities during our training weekend was applying henna while each team member shared her heart to end modern day slavery[/caption]

This past weekend our team of five came together for a time of planning, training, and bonding.  It was a beautiful weekend, the body of Christ surrounded us.  We had a handful of members from our church come and serve us through cooking a meal, training us, and praying for us.  I was blessed by those who gave up their time and shared their talents with us.  Over the next few weeks I will introduce you to each of our team members.  I will be also including some prayer requests.

  • Please pray that each one of us is spiritually and emotionally preparing for what we are going to encounter during our time in India.  That we would put on the Armor of God (Ephesians 6:10-20)

  • Pray for the staff and women that we will be working with from two after care facilities in India.  Pray that we would be a blessing to them.

  • Pray for a servant's heart for each one of us-that we would be selfless and be prepared to give up some things we are used to in America.


Thanks so much for praying for us and taking this journey with us.  We leave six weeks from today!!

2012 Freedom Firm India Trip

On Friday, November 9 we leave to head for O'hare.  Our destination...India!

Our team consists of 5 women.  While in India we'll be working with an organization called "Freedom Firm".  Freedom Firm works with freeing women from human trafficking.  Our team in India will be spent connecting with the women who have been rescued from trafficking and are in a Freedom Firm house.  We'll return from India on November 18.

Please follow our blog throughout the week while we're in India.  It will be updated as regularly as possible with stories and details about our trip.  Please partner with us through prayer, lifting up to Christ the women we'll be working with and getting to know, the people we'll be serving with at Freedom Firm, and our team as wel.   Nothing will matter without the Lord's hand in this mission and without Him guiding our way.

Thanks for following the blog!

In His Grip,

Team India

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