Some of you remember when I boarded a plane a few years ago, bound for Cambodia... and never made it. I ended up getting stranded in India for two weeks. Thankfully, I knew people there!
But guess what? I'm going Feb 25-March 5, 2011... and I am SOOOOOOO excited! I know it's soon and this trip has come fast, but it's something I've been praying about for a while. Seeing it become reality is so great!
For me, it started in Swaziland, when I met teen girls taking care of their siblings because their parents had died. Twelve, thirteen, fourteen years old, and they were responsible for feeding, clothing, and providing for their brothers and sisters. When there was a knock on the door late at night and a man stood there with a bag of oranges.... they felt like they had no where else to turn.
A few months later, friends of mine went undercover in Southeast Asia just to see how deep the industry went. Within a few hours, these men of God were brought two girls, one seven-years-old and the other fourteen. My friends refused to hurt these girls and returned later to rescue them -only the girls could not be found.
Then, in India, I met precious little ones whose families couldn't afford to feed them and instead, sent them to an orphanage. If they hadn't been in a safe place, some of these children would have been sold into prostitution.
The reality of the global sex industry hit home for me last fall, when I spent a night in Atlanta working with a location ministry dedicated to ministering to prostitutes, strippers, and those who pay for their services. Walking the streets of the city, meeting and praying for those who live their lives in the dark, I began to pray to be able to do more, both for those here in the States and those overseas.
The prevalence of sex trafficking has become so great that it is a common request for missions trips here at AIM. This year we added an Ambassador trip for junior and senior females to Thailand. Students are filling that trip almost as quickly as the ones to Africa (they always go first). Most of the female leaders I've interviewed in the past few weeks have asked about that trip before any of the others. We have an STM trip to Thailand as well, and other programs within AIM have trips solely decided to ministry in the world of sex trafficking.
I have friends living in Southeast Asia working with those trapped in the sex trade. For them it isn't a story, something happening far away. It's the little boys, little girls, and teenagers they see every day. Their stories break my heart. Their stories make me want to drop everything and go myself.
(Photo by Ashley Musick, Angkor Wat, Cambodia)
And now, and opportunity has come! Feb 25-March 5, 2011, Connie Rock and I are going to Cambodia! For the short time we are there, we will stay with Alli Mellon, the Executive Director of the Hard Places Community, who lives in Cambodia with her team and two daughters. She asked us to come, see her life, share in her ministry, and pour into the team there. Missionary love... it's so needed.
AIM also has a two year team living in the same city, four women being mentored by Alli and are committed to working in this heartbreaking ministry. We've been asked to debrief these girls as well, to love on them, encourage them, pray for them, and give them whatever they need.
I'm excited. So excited. One, to see some close friends I've missed for a long time. Two, to go out and do what I love to do most- love on people and share the hope of Christ. Three- to see the powerful impact of the Lord through His people in a dark world. And four, to encourage the Body of believers in a small corner of Southeast Asia, to hold their hands, pray over them, and help carry their burdens to the Father.
Please pray for me as I go! The cost of this trip is $1700 and it's coming fast! To all of you who gave one time gifts or above your regular contributions these past few months, that support will go towards my trip there. Half of the amount I need has come in so far, which is awesome. THANK YOU! I still need around $700 to completely pay for this trip, so I would appreciate any prayers concerning giving specifically for this trip.
For those of you who’ve prayed about/mentioned occasional one time gifts, this is a good time for that. Just go to http://www.adventures.org/give, click on the “AIM Staff” link, and type my name when asked. Or you can snail mail to: Adventures In Missions, Inc., P.O. Box 534470, Atlanta, Ga. 30353-4470. "Kristen Torres-Toro" needs to be on the memo line and all checks need to be made out to Adventures in Missions.
Most of all, I need your prayers as I board a plane once again and travel to the other side of the world. I'm asking specifically for 20 prayer partners for this trip. If you are willing to commit to pray for me while I prepare and go overseas, please either reply to this email/blog or message me in some way. Thank you!
Here are some links for you to see more about what is going on in Cambodia:
1. A link from AIM's CEO, Seth Barnes: http://www.sethbarnes.com/?filename=sonyas-story-needs-to-be-told
2. A link talking about the 2 Year Team in Cambodia: http://adventures.org/cambodia/?tuid=4225341
3. A link to Daughters of Cambodia, ministry working with trafficking victims in Cambodia: http://daughtersofcambodia.org/
*1st pic- pic by one of my Swazi team members 2006
*2nd pic- child on the street in India. Photo by Kristen Torres-Toro
3 hours ago