I recently went to India for a week to work with As Our Own. As Our Own is a “Christ-based, community-driven movement in India that rescues vulnerable children from certain enslavement and exploitation, caring for them as our own.” –asourown.org
What AOO is doing is a beautiful picture of the gospel. They are not just rescuing girls and caring for them, they are adopting these girls as daughters as their own. Many of these girls were born in the red light district of India. Their mothers are sex slaves in brothels, deceived and held against their will. In India, who your parents are and where you are born is your identity. 95% of girls born in brothels will become sex slaves just like their mothers. These girls are born into slavery-through AOO God is redeeming them and setting the captives free.
While in India, our team was able to go into the district and pray with a few of the women who are working in the brothels. We saw the places where their daughters slept under the beds while their mothers worked. Later it was a delight to meet these girls and see the joy that poured out of them. The brothel owners do not want the women to have children, the fact that these girls are born at all is incredible. And not only are they born, but as a part of the As Our Own family, many of these girls have received college degrees and proclaim Christ as their Savior. God’s faithfulness and redemption is overwhelmingly beautiful.
God has a purpose for each one of our lives. This becomes apparent when a girl the world says shouldn’t exist is graduating from college and impacting the lives of others.
The culture of India says that this isn’t possible. The concept of taking orphans or children that aren’t your own and raising them as if they were is unthought of. AOO is changing the way the culture views the least of these, the way the church of India views these children. The staff of AOO are heros.
The reason for our trip was to encourage and equip the As Our Own staff. Raising children is hard. Raising children who come from places of abuse and neglect is overwhelmingly difficult and impossible without God’s grace. During our stay, two of our team members met with the staff for several different sessions and gave them specific training to help them parent their daughters better. During these sessions, several of our team and I got to play with the girls and do crafts with them. The girls were SO dear and precious. Time with them was so fun.
These girls are incredible and they are doing amazing things. Many of them are at the top of their class at school and love to sing and dance and care for their sisters. They love Jesus and making new friends. The ability of many of them to love wholeheartedly is only because of the freedom they have received through Jesus Christ. God made a way for them to be rescued from a life that was sure to be full of poverty and captivity. If we are God’s children, we have each experienced God taking us out of darkness and bringing us into light. It was a privilege to see God’s redemption displayed so tangibly in the lives of these precious little girls.
Now that I am home, the question is “what now?” It is impossible to go and see and not be changed. I have seen God’s character and faithfulness in a way I never had before and this requires a response. I have the privilege to now be an advocate for these girls who have been rescued and for the millions of children who still have no voice. The burden of these children is heavy on my heart and I will be on my knees asking God to make a way for them all to be rescued and loved. All of us have a way to love these children. I encourage you to look at As Our Own’s website and learn more about how God is using this organization and how you can help be a part.
More than anything I am humbled to have been a part of what God is doing in India. God sees the beginning and the end, He sees what has been leading up to such a time as this and He sees the future and the continued redemption of His children. I was able to see just a moment of His timeline and it was so incredibly beautiful. I can only imagine the beauty God sees as He views the whole picture.
God showed me Isaiah 61 when I was in India. It is rich with His promises for these girls and their mommas.
The Year of the Lord’s Favor
61 The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me,
because the Lord has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim freedom for the captives
and release from darkness for the prisoners,
2 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor
and the day of vengeance of our God,
to comfort all who mourn,
3 and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
to bestow on them a crown of beauty
instead of ashes,
the oil of joy
instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
instead of a spirit of despair.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
a planting of the Lord
for the display of his splendor.
4 They will rebuild the ancient ruins
and restore the places long devastated;
they will renew the ruined cities
that have been devastated for generations.
5 Strangers will shepherd your flocks;
foreigners will work your fields and vineyards.
6 And you will be called priests of the Lord,
you will be named ministers of our God.
You will feed on the wealth of nations,
and in their riches you will boast.
7 Instead of your shame
you will receive a double portion,
and instead of disgrace
you will rejoice in your inheritance.
And so you will inherit a double portion in your land,
and everlasting joy will be yours.
8 “For I, the Lord, love justice;
I hate robbery and wrongdoing.
In my faithfulness I will reward my people
and make an everlasting covenant with them.
9 Their descendants will be known among the nations
and their offspring among the peoples.
All who see them will acknowledge
that they are a people the Lord has blessed.”
10 I delight greatly in the Lord;
my soul rejoices in my God.
For he has clothed me with garments of salvation
and arrayed me in a robe of his righteousness,
as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest,
and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.
11 For as the soil makes the sprout come up
and a garden causes seeds to grow,
so the Sovereign Lord will make righteousness
and praise spring up before all nations.