This is part 2 of a 5-part series of stories about millennials working in missions with OMS. This is part two of Anna's story. Anna served with OMS for two summers with HOPE61, our human trafficking prevention ministry.
I have such a heart for justice and development. I am deeply burdened by the issue of human trafficking, specifically because I know there are vulnerabilities that could have been eradicated through prevention. I feel for the marginalized, the impoverished, those chained by the sins of addictions. The Lord has angered my heart about the ways in which the enemy has stolen life. I desire to see the glory of God bring freedom to those in bondage of oppression. I desire to see them free.
Why? Because I know it is possible, and this is the will of the Lord. I don’t just want to see those who have fallen victim to abuse to be set free, but the abuser as well to come to be a new creation through the resurrection power of their Savior, Jesus Christ. It’s amazing, the Lord gives you a passion, then the refinement comes … and the passion you thought you had at the beginning takes on a whole new, deeper look, one that you know you could not have understood or thought of on your own prior to the Lord’s renewing of your heart.
During my time in the DR, God taught me how to work in community. He gave me a deeper understanding of the Gospel. He gave me tools physically and spiritually to fight the good fight. Through this OMS internship, I learned more about what I believe, what it means to have faith, about the issue of trafficking, what it looks like to work in ministry, and what it looks like to do mundane and super-intense tasks. God is working in my life by drawing me closer to him and equipping me for now and for what is to come. And I get to work alongside his family, knowing and experiencing the different members of the body. I get to know him deeper as he loves me.
My favorite part of this whole experience was getting to explore more of the culture and the country and to bond with the people as I learned their stories. I have met people from different Latino countries and also many Dominicans. But the best part has been getting to dive deeper into the Lord and his will for my life, experiencing his refining, challenges, and love in a deeply life-transforming way. But at the same time, that can also be the most challenging part. There is a language barrier. There’s spiritual warfare and moments when you are just reaching around in the dark. But the renewal of our minds needs to happen daily. The armor of God is our battle weapons, and reminding yourself of who sits on the throne is key.
It’s been hard to see the poverty, to feel internal and external warfare. It’s been challenging to have the Lord dig up roots that choke his fruit. It’s been challenging to live by faith when you see the drugs, the prostitution, and sexual immorality on all levels. It’s been challenging to make friends with those who do not speak the language. But we have a hope that will never let us down. Jesus brings light to the darkness. We may be hard pressed on all sides, struck down, but we are not abandoned. And it’s weird that among all these challenges, the Lord’s joy has been overwhelming; his peace, strength and provision have been abundant. And when we see drug addicts dedicate their lives to Christ, women who have engaged in prostitution learn that God loves them without strings attached, when you see children fed and dance in full worship to the Lord, when you see families being restored, when you see individuals realize they have the capacity to implement their ideas through entrepreneurship and ministry, it is more than worth going through this temporary pain and trouble. It may seem to be happening slowly, but God is reaping the harvest.
God’s children are being delivered from drug and alcohol addictions, from prostitution, from sexual sin, from homelessness, from marginalization, from starvation, from broken relationships, from fits of rage, lies, stealing, and the list goes on. He is bringing hope and a home in him. He is bringing healthy community and Christ-centered relationships into the lives of others in the Dominican. It is definitely a process, and it can even get very discouraging at times. But when you see amazing breakthroughs, you are deeply encouraged, even if they are small. I’ve seen God work by bringing people to their Savior and choosing to live a life for him.
God is so good, and that doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface. And writing this, I am convicted, because as his spirit overflows my soul with hope, challenges are real. The battle is real. But we have the ability to set our mind on the everlasting, eternal God.