Yesterday was a pretty intense day for our team, I think we all will agree. Several times during the day, I had tears brought to my eyes. Tears that would usually start with hearing stories of crazy abuse and broken lives and then end when our focus would shift and hope would rise from the stories of God's love prevailing over the darkness.
I am not sure where to even start in processing yesterday. There are numerous memorable stories and events.
I think we all felt quite blessed to have the surprise opportunity to spend considerable time with Connie Youngkin who co-founded The Purple Palace with her husband. It is critical that you check out the website of this incredible orphanage that God has built right alongside the red light district of Tijuana. Be sure to look at their "About Us" page. The Youngkins had reached a point in life where a restful retirement could have been their option. Instead, God grabbed hold of their hearts and this amazing ministry was developed. Most of the children at The Purple Palace are the children of prostitutes. A number of them were also rescued from lives of prostitution by an organization called Breaking Chains. Be sure to check them out as well.
Connie had many painful stories to tell but, as darkness bared, light cared. Her Executive Director came and shared her testimony with us of how Connie was the vessel that saved her and probably her children from utter destruction on the streets. I sensed that, even though this lady was very open with her words, her testimoney is still painful to give. We were much honored and humbled to hear it.
One thing that really captured my heart was a set of twin girls whose father drops them off at the orphanage each day. These sweet, beautiful little girls were probably 3 or 4 I guess. What does their father do for a living? We were told that part of what he does is go to southern Mexico and bring back young girls who are recruited or forced into the sex trade.
Yesterday was graduation at local schools and The Purple Palace was celebrating students who have gone on to the next level of school. One of these was a young man who, at the age of ten, was living on the streets and pimping for young girls. We also saw a young girl who has watched her brother be stabbed.
Like I said, yesterday was an intense day. Lots of processing to be done. But one thing was very apparent, the darker the dark is, the brighter God's light can be.
Life is tough here and different people find different ways to cope though oftentimes those ways just drive them deeper into darkness. But then you see God prevailing and hope shifts, light cares.
Wherever you are, let it shine today and forever, knowing that we have brothers and sisters facing terrible odds but shining ever so brightly in places far darker than anyplace we have ever lived.