Shawn is all kinds of proud of our artisan ceramic sign at the drop-in centre.
Hi! How are you? It’s been a while, right?
You know when people post vague, cryptic messages on FB – the kind that make you think all kinds of drama is going on…they can’t say anything, but they want to make sure you know something serious is going down? Yeah, those posts. I’m not a fan. Since I tend to favour a more straightforward approach to life, I’d rather people say it or not say it. Dancing around the shadowy world of hints and implications is just plain old annoying.
And that, ladies and gentlemen, is why I spend far too much of my life eating my words.
Okay, I didn’t post anything cryptic. No hints were dropped and no rumours of sinister doings made their way into the ether. My version of cryptic is just to shut up.
And it worked, because I haven’t said diddly for many, many months.
Last time I wrote, way back in September, we were grieving the loss of one of our dearest ladies. Many of you wrote words of tremendous compassion – but I don’t think I replied to the majority because those darn tears make it hard to type.
But bad stuff kept happening. Really bad. And we found ourselves in a situation that meant we had to remain silent. So now I’ve become one of those obnoxiously cryptic hinting types. And I don’t want to be that person. So, can I just say this…we have been very busy. Life on La Linea has been all consuming. We have many moments of joy, we have rare glimmers of celebration, and we have more than our fair share of grief.
It’s okay. Great things are happening. But I hope you’ll forgive me when I tell you that the last several months will always remain a secret. We live in that kind of a world, and now we make decisions that truly do have life and death ramifications.
So, how about we pretend like we’ve all been busy chatting, and let’s just pick up where we left off?
Yes they're doing Christmas crafts. I know I'm behind!
Back in September I was able to visit Calgary to help Zack, our oldest, settle into university. I’m so grateful for those couple of weeks. Wow but he’s a long, long way from home.
While I was there I was invited to share with a lovely church group. Just the sweetest, most engaged group of people who welcomed a stranger as though she was a friend. One question I was asked has really stuck with me. “Are there any stories of hope?” Ah yes. Good point. When I get the opportunity to share with people the reality of sexual exploitation, it can be easy to forget to give time to the stories of joy.
The brief answer is, yes, we have seen many stories of hope. Some, (yikes this is becoming a theme), I can’t tell you in detail because such detail would help identify the women involved. Yep, for real, people read this blog and go looking. But I’m going to try to tell a few stories that don’t expose our beloved ladies but might allow you to see the good things that are happening.
"G" always wanted to go to school, but her commitment to her family and her determination to escape sexual exploitation meant she wasn’t willing to spend her hard earned money on herself. Thanks to the help of those who fund our work, we were able to enrol her in an intensive high school program. She graduated as the class valedictorian. We cried a lot. Now she’s in intensive training (I can’t say what) that will hopefully lead to a really good job. She’s so close. SO CLOSE to getting out. I can hardly stand it. Yes, she’s still in the life, but wow she has worked so incredibly hard to get out.
“B,” beautiful and gracious, always kept us at something of a distance. She lost her oldest child to a tragic accident a year ago, and it seemed that everything in life was stacked against her. One day she came to visit La Puerta (our drop-in centre) and she poured out her heart. We listened to the heartbreak of an abused, devastated life, and there was nothing to say in response. Just before Christmas she showed up at our door. “I’m leaving on Wednesday,” she whispered in my ear. It was such a shocking announcement. But she did. She really left. And now we get to visit her as often as possible to walk her through the process of escape.
Entering prostitution is easy. Escaping is a nightmare. I am in awed admiration of every woman who has managed to get out and stay out. B. is well on her way, but the battle is hard. She still has to feed her children, pay their school fees, and pay her rent. But she’s trying. She amazes me.
Some of our loves enjoying a really good meal!
Of course, sad stories continue. During our Christmas break, “A,” the oldest worker on La Linea, died. The general consensus is that she was eighty-two years old. She’d been in prostitution since she was a child. In her tiny ramshackle room, her bed was covered in stuffed animals. She loved toys. She would hold my hands and tell me stories – her frail voice shaking as she struggled for every breath. We think she had emphysema. It was a horrible end to a devastated life.
In the midst of all of this we continue to have hope. So much hope. We are excited at the things that are happening – especially at how this work is growing. We’re constantly searching for more people to be involved. More on that later, but for now you can join our Facebook group,
Tamar's Hope: https: //www.facebook.com/groups/1469461489838861/
To join just click on that nice red link. That's where we keep you updated on the daily happenings with the ladies of La Linea. It's a closed group to protect the women we love. Please join.
Prostitutes matter. They really do.