A Day Out of the life. Looking back & Moving Forward - Lifting our Voices.

So much to be Thankful for!

bohevent18

Every year we plan our Annual Bring a Item – Fill a Bag event for people in the community to come together and “do good” for vulnerable women by bringing basic toiletries and to stuff bags filled with HOPE!
We have smaller events throughout the year when groups invite us to come speak and fill 10-50 bags at a time. This helps sustain us through the seasons. Our goal this year was to stuff 300 bags, we did 270, but the best part was – so many new people came out to join us! We didn’t know most of them, so we made new friends! We needed to get more tables and chairs a couple of times because people just kept coming in 🙂
We are beyond GRATEFUL for the support and love people showed us! Also, to Trinity Evangelical Church in North Reading for hosting us.

Here are some of the highlights! 

#1. Was when our two newest team members, Jenn and Chelsey, shared their testimonies of surviving the commercial sex trade and how they themselves received a Bag of Hope as they trudged through early drug recovery. You could feel the presence of God in the room, tears were flowing and we were all so blessed by these brave women for sharing what they have been through and how far they have come in recovery. This is what makes my heart so full… To know that God has called me to speak for so many women, year after year, as I have shared my own story in so many places. Now I get to watch other survivors rise up, mature in their faith, share their stories, and find their voices. As Chelsey beautifully states, “Bags of Hope gave me the voice I didn’t know I had”.

#2. Shout out to our amazing coordinator, administrator, recovery coach extraoenaire… Anita for her organization of the event and brilliant idea of giving people at the event an opportunity to sign up and deliver the bags they made to one of the 30 programs we serve! So many people signed up that by the end of the night we had only ONE BAG left!! While this is fantastic, we are in need of smaller bag filling events and donation drives, so please spread the word! Pray that this ONE Bag will multiply into 100 MORE!

#3. When I speak at events, I usually have a table for my book, The Diary of Jasmine Grace. Trafficked. Recovered. Redeemed. I always offer people a chance to buy a book for themselves and then donate one to a woman in need. Because of people’s generosity, they have donated over 200 books and we have given out over 150 in the past year and a half since it’s been released. Well, one of the drug recovery programs we serve brought their women clients to the event and I was able to give 15 books to them. There had been only one book at the house and the ladies were fighting over it 🙂

I could go on about God’s faithfulness, goodness, love and mercy, but it’s too much to fit into a blog post!

With Thanksgiving being tomorrow, it is my hope that you will take a minute to think of all you have to be grateful for. And to remember the women, men, girls and boys that are out there, still caught in the trap of sexual exploitation, addiction and homelessness.

With that said, I am THANKFUL to Him for this season of bountiful harvest, to those for their support of the ministry, and to you for reading this!

“Enter His gates with Thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name.” Psalm 100:4 

Peace, Jasmine

bohevent18onebag

 

©Copyright 2018. JasmineGrace. All Rights Reserved.

 

 

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A Day Out of the life. Looking back & Moving Forward - Lifting our Voices.

The Work has only Begun

freedom miranda

 

First trafficked by deception and fraud and then held captive by psychological manipulation, she was in and out of the Life for almost twelve years.  During those years, she would be out of the Life for a stretch of a few years, she was never free from the bondage of evil. And thus kept going back to the Life, unable to break free from the invisible chain.  

Brothels, massage parlors, karaoke bars, and escort services—the Life was her default mode of life that was always pulling her back and also tempting her to fall back to whenever she tried to be her own, whispering to her ears that it was where she really belonged.  Men always abused her and treated her as a sexual object anyway; ‘at least now I’m getting paid for it,’ she told herself, trying to convince herself that it wasn’t too bad and perhaps it was better.

But it was a life of darkness and utter hopelessness.  She thought maybe she would end it all by taking her own life.  And she tried a few times—in vain.

Meanwhile, by God’s grace she had a chance to attend a local church a few times and was even baptized at one point; though, not before long, she drifted away from the church and God and soon relapsed back to the Life.  Nevertheless, God was faithful and one day when she was contemplating a suicide again, God brought to her mind Christ in whose name she was baptized. There is a power in the name of Christ. At least she quit trying to kill herself from then on.  And slowly she began reading the Word of God, and as the seed of the Word took root in her heart, she became convinced of the evil and sinfulness of the Life and resolved to get out of the Life for good. And Christ delivered her out of the Life and redeemed her.  And she accepted Christ as her Lord and Savior.

Not before long, she started serving God at a local church and became involved in anti-trafficking works.  She firmly believes that the inherent dignity and inviolability of a human person lie in the fact that all women and men are created in the image of God.  She also believes that it is only through the power of Christ the bondage of evil can be broken and only by His light the darkness can be overcome. And she is a witness to the power of redemption that is in Christ.  

She is currently studying at a seminary pursuing her M. Div. degree and also helping other women exploited by the sex industry at a non-profit Christian organization.  God has blessed her with a good Christian man with whom she has been married for four years now.

Authored by: Miranda

©Copyright 2018. Jasmine Grace

 

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A Day Out of the life. Looking back & Moving Forward - Lifting our Voices.

My Journey: Seasons Of Healing (Who I am today)

Poem #2:

Sometimes, it comes back.
It’s Vivid Like Yesterday’s Sun.
But in reality – it’s DARKER,
DARKER than storm clouds on a rainy day.
It BURNS hotter than a summer sun.
It HURTS more than falling hail hitting your skin like bullets.
And at times, it is so much LOUDER than the CRACK of a tree branch, or the RUMBLE of thunder, or the BURSTING or fireworks.
IT IS MY TRUTH.
But, I can’t let it define me. I WON’T.
I survived. I am strong. I am a voice for others.
It’s been a over a decade. 13 years to be exact.
Time passes as slow as leaves falling from a tree during the fall, but as fast as lightning strikes during an unexpected storm at the same time.
2002: I was 9 or 10 years old, no timeline.
Their hands touched me like fire more than once. BURNING HOT. Unwanted.
2004: I WAS 12 YEARS OLD. I remember everything.
It was a warm spring day, but a COLD reality.
His hands touched me like fire. BURNING HOT. Unwanted. Fingers and Tongue; Inside me , all over me.
2006: Speak justice into healing. A small conviction but my voice was louder and healed me more than any conviction sentence.
Waves of healing – peaks and valleys ; but hope lingers no matter what.
Don’t let your dreams be just dreams, or gone with the wind, I didn’t.
2017: The sun shines so often now.
I cannot get lost among the clouds and storms.
So much has changed for the better and beautiful in its time – like the seasons.
The seasons of healing.
Spring, Summer, Winter, Fall.

Where I am
Free by the ocean, living by my favorite place (the beach)
Working in my DREAM JOB at 26, as a full time advocate for survivors
Living on my own
Thriving
Reaching for the stars
Limitless
FEARLESS
A voice for others
Present in my body
Caring for myself
Close, Great, Healed relationships with both my parents
Healing and Healed in so many ways beyond what I could have imagined

Who I Am
A Successful 26 year old Woman
Bags of Hope Volunteer
College Graduate
Athlete
Advocate
Activist
Speaker
Poet
Capable
Worth Something
Working on being an author 😉 Book in process
Survivor, Thriver, Victor
Woman of God
Child of the King
HIS Daughter
Comfortable in my own skin
JOYFULL
FaithFULL
Loving and desire to BE loved
Empowered to step into my body confidently as a woman & treating it as the temple that it is
Happy

Authored by: Mel Sachs ©Copyright 2018. All Rights Reserved.

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A Day Out of the life. Looking back & Moving Forward - Lifting our Voices.

My Journey: Surviving Child Sexual Abuse/Sexual Assault and The Family Disease of Alcoholism (Who I was)

Poem #1

T h e  J o u r n e y

As I look back on my journey,
Of who I have become
The paths that I have crossed
The days I came undone.
This is a reflection of truth
My life, My strength, My pain
A journey through my eyes
What I lost and what I gained.
It started when I was young,
A girl at five or six
Dealing with unexpected outcomes
A Father who was sick
The disease that took him over
But never took him away
A long fight with alcoholism
A young girl begging him to stay.
Some days I used to wonder,
When it was going to end
Lies, Fear and Manipulation
So young, I couldn‘t comprehend.
A few years later
I was never alone
A program full of people
A love that was always shown.
Peace, Love and Serenity
What I was looking for
A second family forever
A smile and a hug for sure.
Finally able to share
What I never wanted to surrender
Finally felt the relief
My heart will always remember.
One year when I was twelve,
I was faced with another fight
Something I was ashamed of
My heart was filled with fright.

A young girl taken advantage of
An acquaintance gone too far
A child held down and violated
The beginning of her scars.
Nightmares and flashbacks haunt her
an everyday struggle
Trying to deal with the pain
Fighting to pick up the puzzle.
Taking it out on herself
Was the only goal
Self-Injury, Restricting
Trying to gain back control.
An interview and a trial
She had to make a choice
She wanted to get her life back
She no longer tolerated a forever silenced voice.
There was a small conviction
Following a long two years
An outcome good and bad
After days and nights of tears.
Another step in her journey
A chapter in her life
That young girl has grown up
And her goal this time is to strive.
A lifetime full of dreams
Have begun to show through
From high school through college and beyond,
[[She‘ll say she‘s gonna show you]]
Her compassion for others
Who have traveled down the same road
A career to bring justice
A voice that says, you are not alone.
A mission to happiness
A beautiful life ahead
I will not back down
I‘ll show my strength instead.

Where I was

  • On a path to self-destruction
  • In a world of self-sabotage
  • Going through the motions, not enjoying life. There was no JOY. I was miserable.
  • Felt like I was too far gone
  • In DEEP emotional pain
  • Full of FEAR
  • HATING my body because of what was done to it
  • Disconnected from my body completely
  • Stuck in a past of child sexual abuse and sexual assault and the aftermath (Court, PTSD, Self-Injury, Restricted Eating, Flashbacks, Anxiety, Memories)

Who I believed I was

  • A Broken child and adolescent
  • Daughter of an alcoholic, worried nothing would get better
  • My Abusers Victim, and a victim in general
  • Defined
  • Forgotten
  • Ashamed
  • Faithless
  • Hopeless
  • Terrified to love and be loved
  • Dirty, Damaged Goods
  • Failure
  • Stuck
  • Guilty
  • Worthless

Authored by: Mel Sachs  ©Copyright 2018. All Rights Reserved.

 

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A Day Out of the life. Looking back & Moving Forward - Lifting our Voices.

Through My Eyes

She walked through the world, seemingly alone. Sunlight reflecting sadness off of her hazel eyes, wind blowing her purple bangs into them. She walks with confidence even though she had none. Unafraid of the world, but afraid of herself and individuals… but not in the way one may think.

She is unafraid of physical danger, and she’s not afraid to die, because, what did she have to lose? No. She is afraid of the emotional danger, afraid of what one may do to her unsuspecting heart, and subsequently afraid to trust herself.

Her heart, the heart of an innocent, no matter how many times it was beaten, it continued to yearn and beg to love the same way.

“Madness,” she thought.

But secretly, even to her, she loved this about herself. But life has shown her not to be happy with herself, and so she hid this self love in the deepest part of her soul, where not even God could touch… or so she thought.

She always longed for companionship, for someone to love that deserved it. Eventually she had that, this new life growing inside of her that deserved all the love she desired to give. That little life saved hers, but it was short lived… before that life could even live, it was lost, and it was in those devastating moments that she realized that even without child, someone who deserved that love was there… herself.

So she shed herself of the people and things that were causing her greatest pain, and walked into her new life, full of love, from others, her God, and herself. And as she let these healthy people in and reopened her heart to God, everyday became easier… easier to smile, easier to be vulnerable, easier to be open, easier to be happy.

And while everyday may bring a new challenge, she also sees that everyday gives her new opportunities to be happy… to love.

And now, she walks through the world, no longer alone and the sunlight that once reflected sadness and pain in her eyes, now reflects hope.

Authored by: Iris, an Amirah Survivor

©Copyright 2018. Jasmine Grace.

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