Reintegration Lunch Party Friday June 20, 2010
Successful reintegration…reintegration that provides safety from brothels and sex trafficking…is at its simplest form a challenge. Some believe there to be as high as a 40% return to the sex trade, some from their own choice, some from being sold again by their family. This daunting information motivated the staff of ARC to include a holistic plan for reintegration in our Plan of Care from the day the doors of ARC opened, a plan that involves each girl in key decisions, a plan that is powered by the unconditional love of Christ flowing through the ARC staff to the girls. To date we have greatly diminished that percentage with girls that have been reintegrated from ARC, and we believe it’s because of the power of Christ’s love at work through an incredible staff. In June, 48 of 60 reintegrated girls joined in a celebration of their lives. Some were unable to attend for various reasons, but only 3 were unable to attend because we have lost contact with them. Bridget Brewster gave the following report from the exciting celebration. It’s a story that illustrates the power and faithfulness of Christ’s unconditional love.
“As usual Team ARC did an amazing job contacting and providing transportation for 50 girls to join the luncheon and celebrate their lives. Counselors, house moms, Pa Ol (ARC Director), Pa Saroun (ARC Spiritual Life Director) joined in the celebration. As we (Don, Bridget , and a few guests from the US) arrived, we were swarmed by girls, babies, husbands. We got dizzy turning here, there, left, right ‘Oh Hi hello. OH BABY, OH Husband, hi, hello, precious, O I haven’t seen you in so long, OH baby, OH MY you came from so far away, OH…’, cameras flashing, I can’t see….you get the idea. It was very exciting. As the situation and people settled down, we were able to sit and look. Our “babies” are now young ladies, four of them now mommies. They were so poised, grown up, so many gifted with hospitality, gathered around tables laughing and talking like we all were still at ARC dining hall. The new mothers were so attentive to their babies. The husbands were attentive to wives and babies. Everyone was well dressed, clean, aside from looking a bit thinner, they all looked well. Everyone prayed enthusiastically at grace.
There are so many stories to tell, but I’ll concentrate on C. She came to ARC (Agape Restoration Center) a little over 3 years ago after being in the sex slave industry for over 6 years. At the center she had a holistic approach to her recovery, with Christ at the center of everything. She’s a brilliant girl. She attended a yearlong class in Culinary Arts at the National School of Tourism. After graduating near the top of the class (higher grades than other young ladies and men with more education) she landed a job as a chef at The Sunway Hotel, an upscale hotel near Wat Phnom. In spite of all the love, all the encouragement and success, she made the choice to leave all of this and return to Vietnam to work in the sex trade. The counselors and staff at ARC stayed in contact with her. She refused to come to other lunches we had. But this time she came. She decided to leave the sex trade and now has a job in a wire manufacturing plant in Vietnam. She made the effort to get time off from work. ARC paid for her travel and overnight stay. Our staff persevered in the love of Christ’s faithfulness; there was no condemnation for her in her poor choice. Just heaps and heaps of Christ’s love; faith in His word and promises, mercy and grace. She was hugged and kissed and hugged again by everyone there. She never stopped smiling. The girl could eat, too.
When we left there were hugs, tears, God bless yous, more pictures. Who could ask for anything more? Our hearts were so full of joy and praise as we left. So many miracles we have been privileged to witness here. All through God and you. Lives forever changed for good, for Jesus and eternity waiting.”