Elizabeth* – He Gives Beauty for Ashes
Elizabeth was a child living on the streets. She would often go days with next to nothing to eat and spent her time working on the streets, collecting garbage and recyclables to make money for her family.
Elizabeth’s parents had divorced and moved to Thailand, so she and her three siblings were sent to live with their grandparents. Elizabeth, the oldest, was forced to live and work on the streets to make money for the family, while the other children got to live at home. Elizabeth’s grandmother would often beat her and didn’t allow her to sleep in the house. The only time Elizabeth would see her family was when she dropped off the money she earned. For several years, she was alone and abused. Her only comfort and support were other street children like herself.
But there was something very special about Elizabeth, and our team would often pray for her. We began to seek ways we could help her but couldn’t find her for nearly one year. After much prayer and searching, we found her again. She was thrilled to tell us that her father had returned and was going to allow her live at home. This was the first time we’d ever seen her smile. That day Elizabeth told us that her dream was to have a family that would love her. We were so excited for her and for the restoration that seemed to be happening.
However, about six months ago, we ran into her again. This time she told us that her father left and didn’t love her after all. She was devastated. Her dream for a family had been shattered, and yet again she was rejected and alone.
Several weeks ago we saw her on the streets. This time she was different. Something had changed. She couldn’t look us in the eyes and was burdened with fear and shame. We would speak to her, but she was too afraid to respond. Trauma gripped her, and she stared blankly at the floor, as we tried to communicate with her. After several inquiries, asking if someone had hurt her, she began to motion with her hands to explain what happened. She couldn’t use her words but with her hands indicated that she had been sexually exploited.
After investigating her family and others in her community, it was confirmed. Elizabeth was being used as a sex slave. She was not safe and couldn’t stay on the streets any longer. So, our team began to work with the government and other local authorities to get her into safe care.
Elizabeth is now safe in our care and living in one of the XP Missions Children’s Homes. Today, it’s hard to find her not smiling. We gave her a teddy bear as a welcome gift when she first arrived, and she said she’d never had a toy. There have been many firsts for Elizabeth – first time in a bed, first pillow, first new clothes and shoes, first time eating consistently, and the first time ever experiencing real love.
Elizabeth is now receiving counseling and healing for the trauma and pain she’s experienced. She now has her dream – a family that loves her. Through all the pain, through all the heartache, God saw it all, and God has provided a way. Elizabeth will always have enough and will fulfill her destiny. Thank you for partnering with us to make that dream possible.
*Not her real name.