Showcasing our ISM internship opportunities – PT 1 – Ministry to Human Trafficking Victims and Women in the Sex Trade

Human trafficking - Concept Photo

ISM has 25 partners who want interns to receive on the ground training from Impact School of Missions.  We can partner you with the ministry of your choice depending on your skill set or education.  ANY education and skill set is useable!  Your internship will be tailored to match your skills however if the ministries current needs are outside of your skill set you may be used to fill in the gaps.

Our ministry options – Human Trafficking – Sex Industry (7 organizations)

1.  NightLight  – Bangkok, Thailand

NightLight is an international ministry located in Bangkok who provides alternative employment for Thai women working in the sex industry   NightLight also helps Trafficked women from many different nations by providing them with a safe house and helping them return to their home nation.

Our local offices build relationships with victims of commercial sexual exploitation and those who are at-risk and provide hope, intervention, rescue, and assistance by offering alternative vocational opportunities, life-skills training, and physical, emotional, and spiritual development to those seeking freedom. NightLight builds support networks internationally to intervene and assist women, men, and children whose lives are negatively impacted by the sex industry.

2.  Daughters of Cambodia – Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Daughters is a NGO reaching out to victims of sex trafficking in Cambodia.  Daughters has a  Day Centre and a Sewing Room business. Daughters’ centre, in the heart of an area of Phnom Penh brothels, reaches out to girls working as sex workers and offers them ways out of this situation and into a life of safety, freedom and dignity, where they can find wholeness and become all that God created them to be.

A range of Services available at Daughters, from life-skills classes to counselling sessions, provide the resources, both external and internal, for girls to make healthy choices that will be sustained in the future.

Daughters also works with male transsexual sex workers –  Sons of Cambodia. As with girls in Daughters, the boys in Sons are similarly offered a job and life-changing opportunities at Daughters Day Centre. The boys commence in the Sewing Room trainee program, and upon graduation from there, they join Sons’ Wood Shop or Screen Printing Workshop.

3.  The Well – Bangkok, Thailand

The Well is a Christian ministry that serves women who have been victimized by the Thai sex industry and its effects.

The vision of the Well is to help transform Thailand through reaching sex industry workers and others at risk, training them as leaders, and sending them to reach others. The Well is named for the encounter between Jesus and the Samaritan woman in John 4 that resulted in her introducing him to her village. The Well reaches out to women in in red-light districts or other places of brokenness, and offers opportunity not only for healing and restoration, but for training as change agents following the model of Jesus.

They receive financial support while working toward independence and leadership. Sometimes husbands and boyfriends are invited. The Well people in leadership in Bangkok, and for those leave, whether to return home or elsewhere, follows them up with practical assistance.

4.  Samaritans Creations – Bangkok, Thailand

Samaritan Creations ministry, helps women discover an alternative to life in the sex trade and about a loving God that wants them to be healed and free.

The ministry is primarily funded through the selling of products made by its members. Currently, we produce and sell jewelry, dolls, skirts, leather,  home parties, churches, special events, and Women at Risk International outlets. All proceeds from the sales benefit the members of Samaritan Creations.  Samaritans also has a cafe.  We believe that the sex industry in Thailand will only be defeated through the Gospel influence of believers and churches working for positive change in their communities. Therefore, church planting is also an important part of our strategy.

5.  Dton Naam – Bangkok, Thailand

Dton Naam is a 501c3 non-profit charity in the US, organized for charitable, educational and religious purposes. It is an independent, inter-denominational ministry seeking to rescue and provide after care for those individuals at risk or presently involved in the sex industry. (trans-sexual men) Dton Naam also received approval from the Thai government to be considered a foundation in Thailand on July 23, 2010. Our funding mainly comes from private donors, groups and churches in America. We currently have a day program in Bangkok helping Thai individuals leave prostitution, receive healing physically, emotionally and spiritually through companionship, counselling and training, while also being taught legitimate job skills. Where appropriate we serve the individuals financially so that they can finish or further their education and rebuild their lives with good physical and emotional health. Dton Naam also has a Coffee Shop/Bakery where men and women can learn new skills and work in a safe and legitimate job while receiving healing. We sell great coffee, cupcakes, other food and various forms of art created by the individuals in our program.

6.  Jewels in a Crown – Kolkata, India

Jewels in a Crown is a non-profit organization offering Kolkata’s trafficked and exploited women safe, alternative employment and a new life. As rare stones are discovered, cut,
polished and made beautiful, we know these ladies are radiant gems being

Kolkata is the capital city of the state of West Bengal and is an epicenter for human trafficking and prostitution. It functions as a transit place from where Indian, Nepalese and Bangladeshi women who come to the city, either independently or through agents, are taken to red-light areas in other cities such as Bombay, or even to other countries in the Middle East.” (Guilty Without Trial).

Economic depravation is one of the strongest factors in the lives of those who remain in Kolkata’s red-light areas. It is often young village girls, who are predominately illiterate, facing family breakdown, and poverty, who are tricked or lured into the sex trade. They are offered a good job in the city or a marriage that will see them out of the struggles they are faced with.

7.  Sari Bari – Kolkata, India

Sari Bari seeks the sustainable restoration of red light communities and the prevention of the exploitation of women and children in the commercial sex trade.

Sari Bari does not rescue women, but rather seeks restoration for those who have been trafficked or held in the sex trade by poverty and lack of empowerment. Approximately 65 percent of women in the red light areas no longer qualify for legal action in the form of rescue. While they were likely first trafficked in their teen years, many are now middle-aged and are trapped by circumstances that have bound them since childhood.

Helping to prevent new girls from being trafficked into the sex trade is the most effective way to combat sexual slavery. We hope to offer high-risk girls an opportunity to life-giving education and work that will protect them from ever entering the sex trade. To meet this goal, Sari Bari has located its third production site in a village that is a high trafficking area of India. Young women ages 17-25 and living in poverty are offered jobs at this site.

Additionally, up to 20 percent of Sari Bari jobs at our locations within the city are given to at-risk women who live in the red-light districts. These are usually daughters of women currently in the sex trade, who are uneducated and at a high-risk of being lured or forced into prostitution.  

Watch next week for ISM internship opportunities teaching English.

ISM has a new partner – SPM Project in Bangkok! Check out this exciting and unique opportunity.

SPM PROJECT UP CLOSE!

Purpose: To see people in the second largest religion in Thailand come to know the love of Jesus.

Internship Details

Students must be 20 years old to apply. Possible Activities (please note that the details of your daily schedule may vary depending on current ministry needs): Teaching English to students, children’s activities, teach sport and/or engage in sport activities, serve coffee, baking and related things to our coffee shop, spend time with students, build relationships and share about Jesus, learning some Thai (We want the intern to have 4 weeks of intense Thai in the beginning).

Hours (please note this may vary depending on ministry needs): approximately 40 hours/week.

Technical Details

Housing (please note that housing options may change depending on availability, but will be within the budget and safety requirements established by ISM): There are many student rooms where we have our center where volunteers can stay. Included is bathroom, air con, a bed, a desk and a wardrobe. (There is no kitchen or fridge)

Estimated Budget Per Month: 800 dollars per month

Other notes from your hosts:

Dress code: Since you are working with the second largest religion in Thailand t is important to think about how to dress. To dress appropriately is about showing respect, but also to be a person they can respect and want to listen too.

Ladies have to wear long skirts or trousers. Shirts or blouses need to cover the elbow. No tight jeans (no skinny Jeans)

Men needs wear long trousers as well but they can wear T-shirts or something similar. When playing sports it is different for men and then they can wear sports clothes. For women, still longer trousers but it is ok with T-shirt, but not too slim.

Code of Conduct: As we preach the gospel more with our lives than our words it is important to try to think about behaving in a Christ-like way. It is important to have an open mind and an open heart.  An obvious thing to note- girls cannot talk to boys alone is not appropriate. In a group we can be mixed genders but not when we are alone.

We try to live in a way that honours God this influences how we dress, eat, speak and behave.

For more info about this exciting opportunity please write us at infoism@impactasia.ca

The Dad with the Bad Kids

  • Sarahr

    Well my third and final internship is coming to a close. And although I am stoked out of my mind to go home and see my family and all my pals, I am very sad to leave this one. I was sad to leave all of them. But for some reason, my time in India feels unfinished. I will make no promises of returning, because it’s not my place to know the future. But something has stirred within me, a fire that won’t be put out so easily. Whatever I end up doing with my life, I can never again feign ignorance for the lack of proactive action fighting for social justice in our world. That was a mouthful, basically what I mean is that I cannot pretend that I have not learned what I have learned here. You can’t ignore a bullet that hit you right in the heart. Maybe I can only make a lasting difference in the lives of a few street kids. But that would be so worth it. To give a few kids a chance in life that should be their human right. I certainly can’t save the world, but I can do my part. If I backed away now it would certainly be a greater wrong than if I had remained in my bubble of ignorance.

    Don’t freak out those who love me that are reading this. I’m still getting on that plane tomorrow. I’m actually planning on going back to school for a couple of years if all goes well so I’ll be living in Canada for a few years yet. And social justice also needs to be fought for on Canadian soil.

    What I am really trying to communicate is that I have learned so much from my time at ISM. During this last internship I was sick so often that it just became a joke. But I have encountered a part of God that I had only glimpsed before. I have known God as the sovereign creator, and God as my closest friend for almost my whole life. But now I also know God as the dad that fights for every one of his kids, who has made bigger sacrifices and has shown more grace than any earthly father even has the capacity to give. Who is reaching out to even the most rebellious of souls, always.

    This has been a very important 7 months in my life. I can feel the weight of it. My faith has solidified on a solid rock where it was pretty shaky before.

    So here’s to the God that chooses to be our dad, even when we’re the worst kids ever.

    For Narnia! And for Aslan! (Just thought I’d throw that in there)

  • Sarah Ricker – ISM 09.14

Meet Benjamin Ekres – coming to ISM September 2015 – internship Place of Grace

Hi! My name is Benjamin Ekres. It’s with great joy when I say that I will be joining ISM in Bangkok, Thailand this September! (2015)

ben

For the past 21 years, I’ve been living in Guelph, Ontario in the beautiful country of Canada. I was raised and continue to live in a home where Christ is in the center. In my youth, I truly learned what it was to have a living relationship with Jesus. This was after I tried to seek contentment and purpose outside of His will for my life (which I’m learning is the BEST thing in the whole world). He welcomed me back with open arms and revealed to me by His Spirit that He truly loves me! He has continued to change me and is propelling me into a life of service to others and ultimately Him self.

I will be graduating College with a diploma in Radio Broadcasting this April. That being said, I know the plans I had going into my school career have definitely changed… I thought I would most likely start my career in broadcasting upon graduation… But as I spent more and more time in thought and prayer about this concept, my passion for the idea began to fade. It was not without a replacement thought, mind you. God had planted a passion for missions in me at a youth conference called Overflow (probably in 2010-11). It was there that I saw an ISM booth and was instantly intrigued. When I heard about what they were doing, I got PUMPED. I thought to my self “Wow. This is something I would like to do… and probably something God wants me to do…” It’s funny how God works… because here I am, several years later writing a profile for my acceptance at Impact School of Missions!

I’m excited to see how God will move as I intern with “Place of Grace” starting in October. The thought of serving kids and youth who live in the slums of Thailand is not only humbling, but also encouraging. It is my hope that I will be able to pour into their lives and be Christ’s hands and feet within the context God puts me in.

This verse is lengthy, but it’s one I feel lead to share:

Peter 1:3-7

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.

In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ…” 

 

Thank you Jesus! I can’t wait for what’s in store!

How can I believe in God when there is so much suffering?

When you come the mission field, you can’t go a day without seeing pain. Horrible pain.  It’s easy to start ask God ‘WHERE ARE YOU?’  ‘Don’t you love people?’  ‘If you love people why don’t you intervene?’  It’s okay to ask God these questions but it may reveal a lot about where you are in your relationship with Him.  So how to do you walk through those thoughts and even doubts about the love of God?

why1

As a side note – It is fascinating that I’ve never been asked this question by people living in India, Thailand, Vietnam or Cambodia  who certainly knows a lot more about suffering than we do. Why?

When we ask this question the complaint is against God’s character: ‘Can I really trust God when I see so much pain?’ If you are sure that you can trust Him, regardless of the pain you see or are experiencing , there is no temptation to turn away from Him because He is the only one who can help.

Maybe the reason we question God’s character when bad things happen or we see suffering is that we live lives largely independent from Him. In other words, do we actually trust Him even when things are going well?   When life is easy we don’t really need to trust God for anything.  I think for many this can cause us to live as Christian Atheists.  We are Christians but we live like God doesn’t exist.

As I mentioned, I have never been asked questions about God’s love and suffering by people living in SEA. In fact, when I visit churches in parts of the world where they are faced daily with great pain and suffering, they inspire me.  They aren’t asking, “where is God?” They trust God in everything,  Suffering is part of life, part of being human and living in a fallen world.  They don’t expect life to be perfect, in fact they expect suffering.   When times are really hard, they cling to Him because they have already learned to trust Him when things are good and they know when things are bad that there is no other answer but God.  They can’t take a pill,  get a job, borrow money or run to a government agency for help.

Maybe we struggle with suffering so much in the West because we are so comfortable and ‘safe’ most of the time that we feel we don’t need God.  We don’t rely on Him on a daily basis and therefore we don’t really know Him as we should.  I think this is at the heart of asking ‘why?’ When suffering comes along, it is not so much that it takes us away from God, but it reveals to us that we haven’t actually had to really trust Him or we haven’t been close to Him in the first place.

What should we do?  Often when we are upset by our circumstances the first thing we should do is the last thing we do.  The best thing you can do when you are upset or confused is to get into the Word of God and pray.  If we aren’t close to Him in the first place, the last thing you want to do is spend time with Him.  If you’ve been a Christian for awhile it’s so easy to do and say the right things and not even really believe them.  The Word of God is supernatural and spending time hearing the voice of God through the Word helps give you the right perspective and helps you to know who He really is.  To know HIm is to love Him.  If you aren’t in the Word you can’t remember the truth and start doubting basic things like GOD IS LOVE which is true regardless of the circumstance.  The Word reminds you of that on every page.  If you don’t feel like reading the Word or praying start by asking God for a hunger and thirst for Him.  Ask Him to help you to fall in love with Him.  Forcing yourself to read the Bible and pray isn’t the way it was meant to be.  If you have to force yourself it probably means your love is waning.  Love drives us to be with Him.  If we aren’t in love with Him we’re likely  living on the fumes of former days where we did vibrantly love Him and that’s why we starting doubting and asking why.   Another helpful thing is to talk to people in the midst of suffering who have an unshakeable faith in God.   Their joy in their pain helps you understand what faith looks like and that circumstances don’t need to affect faith because God is trustworthy and He never changes.

The good news is. even in the questioning,  He loves you – He is used to His children trying to live in their own strength or running from Him and yet , if you cry out – He’s standing right there.  Arms outstretched – waiting.

Meet Jenn Johnson coming to ISM 09.15 – Internship – Samaritans Creations

Hi! I am Jennifer Johnson and I’ll be starting my internship in September 2015 at Samaritans Creations in Bangkok.

jenn

I grew up in the church and I have been blessed with an amazing family and lifestyle. I have never had to want for much. I am so thankful for all that my life has been this far. But I can’t help but feel that this blessing also hinders me. The devil hides and captures people in satisfaction and mediocrity. I am a daughter of the living King as well as a daughter to my father and treated as such by many close family role models. I have been surrounded by amazing men my entire life, men that have taught me to bring this world more good than bad, to never stop fighting for an intimacy with God, and to love each and every person with a passion, just as God loves us.

Being dipped into the world I have found that everyone desires to be loved, and not everyone has gotten a chance to feel the kind of divine love that is ready to be poured out upon them. I feel called to share this drowning love with others that I have been so fortunate to feel for myself. I have found freedom in knowing our Creator and Father. And in knowing him I have found so much grace, mercy, and rest.

God has taught me many lessons in the past four years that I have spent at school and the main thing I know now is that I need to get up and go with His light shining on me, my walk in faith needs a leap and he is calling me to empower women. Faith in God has grown as I consistently call on him for a path. From all angles in my life sexual trafficking as been brought up, and now that I know so much about the topic, I feel like God has put this directly in front of me for a reason. I am an equality advocate; racial and gender prejudices make me cringe. I feel so honored to have been loved by my Father in heaven, and my earthly Father, I feel it would be selfish of myself to not share this love with as many people as I can.

There is one verse that is constantly consuming my mind; I think the world needs to hear it. Psalm 139:14, “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.”

Meet Marcie Braun – Coming to ISM 09.15 – Internship Samaritans Creations

Hello! My name is Marcie Braun and I will be interning in Bangkok in September of 2015. I am from Saskatchewan and I am so excited to be serving for five months at Samaritan’s creations in Bangkok!

marcie

I have known for a while that I have wanted to take a year off from school and focus on service. There is such a vast amount of opportunities out there and I found the decision quite overwhelming. ISM drew me in with its focus on specific ministries. The word “go” on the promotional video immediately struck my heart. Being presented with all these decisions, I felt that God just kept telling me “go”.

I did not hear the whole gospel until I was 12 at my church’s youth group. I gave my heart to Jesus at a Bible Camp and God has been drawing me closer to himself ever since. A passion for the Bible became significant in my faith as it gave me so much assurance while living with parents that did not support me being a part of the Church. I was blessed with my sister Kelly who has interned at ISM in following God under these circumstances.

Camp ministry has been a way for me to grow in leadership and has spurred my desire for others to know Jesus. Learning more about the issue of human trafficking that I was previously unaware of, I felt a compassion that I had never felt before. I knew that I could not ignore it. I feel so incredibly blessed to be a part of God’s work in curing injustice and comfort hurting people. This will be my first time doing missions abroad. I am still in awe of how God has given me this amazing opportunity to intern.

A verse that encourages me is: “For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. And he died for all that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.”

-2 Corinthians 5:14-15

Mariana from ISM 01.14 is returning to SEA for a year. Read her journey here!

A few days before I left my internship last year, I told my hosts I had a bachelor thesis to write in order to finish my degree (because I studied business, it could be a business plan instead of a thesis), and I’d be happy to write a business plan for them, if they had something in mind. So they  said they’d like to have a business plan for their ministry and would be happy to have me write it. So I kept in touch with my hosts throughout the whole year, and some other staff that work at the ministry.
Mariana_Feniman-Pic
As I continued with my university degree it took me a good amount of time to start enjoying my course. Business management wasn’t my first option and my first year and a half was hard because I didn’t like the course and wished I could be doing something else. God did a deep work in me to turn my attitude around, and gratitude and enthusiasm about my course started growing in me in my 3rd year only. By then, I knew I’d have to do a long final project, so since that year I started to ask God to give me some interesting topic to write on. The Lord totally answered my prayers and from the first word to the last of a 60-page plan, I was thrilled and loved writing it. A couple of times my internship hosts wrote me saying my work was a reminder of God’s love and provision.  So good!
In November, my internship hosts from 2014 wrote me saying they were opening a position for business development in January 2015 and they asked me if I’d be willing to go back. My heart shouted a loud “yes” haha. I felt the Lord confirming that in my heart – it was so clearly right. I had an interview via skype with the HR person  and it was a really good conversation, she just kept saying “the position fits you well” all the time. So what happened next was really unexpected. They wrote me saying they were  taking some critical decisions they needed more time before the position was available. So I continued waiting.
My “waiting season” lasted for almost three months. It wasn’t easy to wait at all! I think it was the first time that I was really confident the Lord was opening a door but then circumstances drastically changed and the Lord seemed so quiet… what was happening? Had I done something wrong and the Lord was closing the door? So many times I felt weak in my faith… wishing I could love Jesus better and believe he was leading me, even if the lights were off! I had told a few people that I was going… and then had to tell them that I wasn’t sure anymore… Should I be doing something else? Everyday I’d wake up and check my emails to see if there was any message but  nothing… my parents encouraged me to stop waiting for an answer and simply assume there was nothing for me there.
A couple of weeks before I had first heard of the position – I had a vision of Jesus taking me by the hand and leading me somewhere. Everything around us seemed blurred, but I could clearly see him leading me. Then a week later I had this other vision with a similar message. We were face to face, he was holding my hands, and we were soaring. I had nothing beneath my feet nor anything around to hold – just his hands. When I got the email offering the job, I thought “o cool, God was preparing something for me and he’s leading me!”. But now things seemed to be going wrong… I remember one day, when I wasn’t feeling really well, my boyfriend was praying for me and he said, “Lord, help her to believe you’re still leading her”. And he answered that prayer, too.
I learned not to be anxious or worried, but to bring every single thought before the Lord in prayer. When I was feeling weak, I’d just ask him for faith, that the answer would come in good time, whenever he felt I was ready for it. I asked him to equip me for whatever he had in store… whether in South East Asia* or not. I asked him for a faithful heart that would be willing to serve him wherever he wanted me to be, even if not in my dream job position.
Then just a couple of weeks I go I received the email – I could have the job. I’m so grateful and excited! I can see now that the Lord answered my prayers and strengthened me so much. I’m so confident that he has a great year ahead. There will be so much to learn, but I’ve just confirmed once again that he’s trustworthy. Unpredictable, but trustworthy. Such a privilege to have my faith tested and increased, to see his power made perfect in my weakness… Such an honour to accept a job that was hand-picked for me. So good to be reminded that He’s the one who inspires love and trust in me… and when I ask him to help me to love him more and better, he’s generous in his gifts. :)
Please be praying for me :)
Mariana – Sao Paulo Brazil
*Location in SEA not specified for privacy reasons

Unstoppable

Every time a session of ISM comes to a close I’m surprised at how quickly 4 weeks can pass.   For me the weeks are full of discovery.  Every class is different and every student has something unique to offer.  Even when we come from different cultures, and unique spiritual backgrounds, one thing that always remains the same:  The desire to bring hope to hurting hearts is the reason everyone comes.  How beautiful is that?  How amazing is it that we get to inspire this generation a little more, and that putting feet to dreams is a job? It’s a privilege to work with this generation, year after year.  There are so many beautiful young adults who are wanting to make Jesus known in the world and bring the GOOD NEWs to anyone who is willing to be be loved.  Pray with me that this class of 01.15 will be so filled with the Holy Spirit that through them His beautiful, life changing  presence is felt:

in the streets,

the taxi cabs,

the back of motorbikes,

on a bus,

in the market,

in the brothel,

on the train tracks,

in the mountains,

on the littered streets,

in the office,

and around every dinner table.

Be strong and courageous ladies – the Lord your God is with you.  Jesus’ love is a powerful, unstoppable force and He lives in you.

Is God in the middle of the hard stuff?

The Call of Jeremiah Jeremiah 1:4,5

“The Word of the Lord came to me saying, Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart, I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.”

Jeremiah then puts up his fists as it were and says “But I’ don’t know how to speak, I’m only a child. ” Then with a mild rebuke the Lord tells Jeremiah Don’t say that!  “You must go to everyone I send you to and say whatever I command you.  Don’t be afraid, I’m with you and I will rescue you.” vs 8

Often when we read this or hear this preached  we are inspired to get out there and follow God’s call with abandon and gusto. We leave our pews with our pompoms on and get excited about declaring God’s love and truth in our world.   But life isn’t a fairytale.   Hard times are inevitable.   For Jeremiah when King Josiah died, Jeremiah’s hardships as a prophet of God increased. His message aroused immense hostility and death threats, especially in his own home town, Anathoth (Jeremiah 11:21). Even his own relatives conspired against him and betrayed him (Jeremiah 12:6). NICE!

His persecution increased in Jerusalem when a priest named Pashhur sought out Jeremiah to have him beaten and put in the stocks at the Upper Gate of Benjamin for a day (Jeremiah 20:1-2). After this, Jeremiah lamented the hardship that had come to him for speaking God’s words. It was difficult to have become a laughingstock to the people and a target of mockery (verse 7).

Later, spiteful men obtained the king’s approval to arrest Jeremiah for prophesying disaster. These men then lowered Jeremiah by ropes into a cistern, and he sank into a layer of mud (Jeremiah 38:1-6). When another court official learned about Jeremiah’s fate, he persuaded the king to let him rescue Jeremiah before he starved to death at the bottom of the cistern (verses 7-13).

Yet Jeremiah knew he had to speak the message God had given him. He wrote how, if he tried to resist speaking what God told him to speak and tried to not even mention God’s name, God’s words became like fire in his heart. He was unable to hold them in (Jeremiah 20:9).

God told Jeremiah that if he would boldly speak His words and not shrink back in fear of the people, He would give him the strength he needed to withstand the persecution. God told him, “I will make you to this people a fortified bronze wall; and they will fight against you, but they shall not prevail

Often in life we are hit with difficulties.  We have relationship problems,  health problems, loneliness, self doubt, that job you wanted just doesn’t come through,  the finances aren’t there, the ministry you are helping has leadership problems, living in another country as a missionary is way harder than you ever thought it could be, your internship doesn’t look like you thought it would, you have visa issues and the difficulties continue to mount up so high you can barely remember the call or you think your must not have heard God correctly.

Throughout life we are told that if everything goes right then we have the favour of God on our lives.  A perfect life means your are living under blessing right?  If things fall apart or don’t go as we expected,  well maybe we’ve stepped out of God’s will, our we’ve somehow messed up.  I probably thought that way myself at one point in my life.  I do believe that when you honour God and seek him first you are blessed and live life to the full, but blessings as some define them are not necessarily (or even often) financial or material or perfect health.     The scriptures are full of great, exciting calls, often followed by great hardship.  We need to remember that the circumstances don’t change the call.   Difficulties don’t mean the call has left us, or we didn’t hear correctly, it means you are living a normal Christian life.  The blessings in the difficulties are dying to self, learning dependance on the Holy Spirit,  learning to consider it pure joy when you go through the trials (James 1) because God is really at work in your life.  Perhaps those fighting through hardship are the most blessed of all.  

Is God in the middle of the hard stuff?  Always.