Johnny* – Beloved of God
That week Patricia and Shirley were filming a documentary in a boarder city, called Poipet. They had been traveling all day on the dusty, bumpy roads looking for video footage. They were hungry, tired, and ready to turn back, but as they prayed, God told them to keep going. Reluctant, but pressing on in faith, they told their driver to continue following the road and listened carefully for the Spirit’s lead. Suddenly they arrived at an unmarked boarder crossing and saw a little boy.
They got out of the car where a guard met them and explained that the little boy had ran away from his abuser. He had been trafficked across the boarder but had escaped. The little boy, Johnny, was so scared and traumatized that day and still had a number pinned on his shirt.
In an auction setting, children may be numbered, lined up, and chosen to be sold. Johnny had escaped before he was resold, but scars on his hands and knees indicated that he had been drugged and used for labor for many months prior to his run away. Drugs allow the children to work faster and harder, and Johnny was no exception.
As the boarder guard apprehended little Johnny, he shook in fear and crouched under the table, clinging to the only safety separating him from the strangers he just met. Patricia and Shirley had compassion on him and immediately began working with the government and a local non-governmental organization that specialized in child aftercare to get him placed into safe and restorative care.
Later that night, Johnny transitioned into his new home. So scared and uncertain if the horrors that befell him would happen again, he shook violently with fear. Tears flooded his bed, as he cried out for someone to love him, for someone to hold him. Patricia was there that night and caressed him with songs of deliverance. With songs of hope, she comforted his cries, as only a mother could. Johnny learned that night that he was loved and accepted. He was finally safe.
Johnny then began his healing process through various counseling, medical, and prayer initiatives. Evaluations revealed that he had been severely sexually, along with the trauma and physical abuse he endured through forced drugs and labor. Later investigations also indicated a lifetime of neglect and abuse by his family members, with reports that his own mother sold him to the traffickers.
Johnny was one of five siblings but was assumed to have had an intellectual disability. He couldn’t speak from a young age, so he was treated like an animal and considered by his family to be of no value. When the family needed money, he was the first to be sold.
But God saw Johnny and saved him. Johnny, God’s beloved, is being transformed day-by-day. He has been diagnosed with Autism but has learned to speak and is now going to school. Johnny is very smart and is surpassing national standards for children with disabilities. He has reverted from anger and rage to a calm, compassionate disposition. Johnny has a bright future and hope for total restoration physically, emotionally, and spiritually – all because someone stopped for the one.
*Not his real name.