Have you ever heard a story that you simply wish you could unhear? A story that haunts you, that breaks your heart, that you literally have to shake out of your mind? If you haven’t before, I know you have over the past few weeks as social media has been flooded with stories of human trafficking. It’s heartbreaking, infuriating and at times seems utterly hopeless. Yet, there IS hope. And I am reminded of this each time I hear a new woman’s Story of Hope at Starfish Project.
This week, I heard Lan’s story for the first time and it broke me. I simply couldn’t go on with my day. I sat and mourned for Lan. I mourned for the years she lost and the utter hopelessness she must have felt. My heart groaned for her.
Yet, there IS hope. And I am reminded of this each time I hear a new woman’s Story of Hope at Starfish Project.
She is a mom, she was a business owner, she had a car and house and a good marriage and she lost it all. Lan and her husband, having moved to the city with dreams of a better life, began an auto parts business. Their business took off allowing them to put down roots and begin a family. Their dreams were put aside when her husband was suddenly diagnosed with a very aggressive cancer. They sold everything, including their business, to get him the best treatment available. Yet within the year cancer took her husband leaving Lan and her son alone, with nothing and no way to provide for themselves. From dream to devastation.
Lan was hopeful when her cousin offered her a job in a massage parlor. She was prepared to work hard to rebuild a life for herself and her son, but she was not prepared for what was expected of her in the job. Having nowhere else to go, she stayed and did what she had to do to provide for her family.
I was overtaken by the hope and transformation that I saw in Lan. She is experiencing freedom!
I find myself especially struck by Lan’s story during this season of uncertainty. How many others RIGHT NOW find themselves jobless and in a place of desperation? As I sat and pondered this question, Lan walked by my desk. She gave me the most joyful, expectant smile and said, “See you tomorrow.” I wanted to jump up and hug her and tell her how sorry I was for all that she had been through but I was glued there in my seat. I was overtaken by the hope and transformation that I saw in Lan. She is experiencing freedom! She has hope. Right in the midst of the most uncertain time the world has seen in decades, Lan found the way out that she had been searching for and she bravely took it! There is hope today, right now, in the midst of whatever we might be going through, our answer will find us.
I hope that Lan’s story will be a reminder to you, as it is to me, of the opportunity we have to move our community towards hope. What an incredible impact we can make with a visit, a care package or simply reaching out to our neighbor. You make this kind of life changing impact as you partner with Starfish Project by advocating for freedom on your social media pages, in your community and through your purchasing! Thank you for being catalysts for hope in your neighborhoods, to our Starfish Project family and to Lan.