“Lek” is a regular and recognizable woman in her 20s who many of us are quite fond of from our streets. She has some developmental disabilities and a very low image of herself. She shared with Kashmira in passing once that her mom had her sterilized in her early teens to make sure she would never become a mother herself, though she loves kids (and enjoys participating in kid’s club alongside the children).
When Rak Teh church began meeting early in the year she came regularly and participated enthusiastically. She would often be seen sprawled out on the floor running her finger along the pages of a Bible and reading aloud to herself. One of those early “church” meetings she shared with some of the women present about her desire to find some means other than prostitution to support herself. Later, she asked the question: “You tell me God wants to help me in my life, how? How is he going to help?”
Not long after she asked the question one of our neighbors offered to help her start a small business selling used goods on the sidewalk. A few months later she announced to our teammate Ling that she was ready to make a change, and wanted to move to a smaller city and join in with the live-in ministry program we have relationship with that is designed for women in similar situations. Leigh and Ling got her settled in there that week, and although she made the choice to return just a few days later, she still expresses it was an altogether positive experience for her and she would like to try again soon. Lek shared readily with us that the most significant parts for her was having more chances to study the Bible and also she was struck by how loving and welcoming the women were in the program. Although any sort of two-steps-forward-one-step-back experience can be discouraging, we certainly see God working in Lek’s heart and life, and beginning to peel back her layers of self-condemnation and the lies she has believed about her lack of value. We also see God answering her question: God wants to help through the lives of those around her.
Note: The above post was written several months ago, but never posted. Just last week we heard that Lek died during the night at home. Even as we grieve her passing, we grieve not as those without hope. Praying that day that we got news I felt like I heard Jesus say: “She is with me.” We thank God for the gift of being a part of neighbors lives for such a time as this.