Beauty Instead of Ashes

August 01, 2014  | End Sex Trafficking, GW Trip, Global Partner

GW Moldova Team
GW Moldova Team Top Row: Pat, Kristin, Suzann, Linda Bottom Row: Emily, Jordan, Sydney
 
This is a guest blog post from Sydney Beshore. Sydney traveled with GW two years ago to Moldova and this past June. Sydney recently graduated from Appalachian State University. My favorite part of the trip to Moldova was seeing friends I had met there two years ago. I did not know what to expect on this trip, so seeing familiar faces among the campers and staff was a great comfort and joy to me. I had met my friend Alisa the last time I was in Moldova. She was a young mother with a very hard past, full of pain in a situation that would make anyone feel hopeless. When I met her, she was sweet and excited to meet our team. She was so bright and vibrant at camp, and she clearly cared for and loved the other women campers. After camp, I had the opportunity to visit Alisa's former home, which marked a very dark place in her life. I was overwhelmed by thinking of the pain and cruelty in her past. I did not understand how she could survive day to day life, especially with a child, when the weight of her past was still a little piece of her present.
After leaving camp in 2012, God showed me how her life exemplified an Isaiah passage, where God promises to "bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of despair..". Although I was deeply burdened by thinking of Alisa's past and present pain, The Lord revealed his goodness. He provided her with the help of Beginning of Life, a community, opportunities, and even a daughter whose name literally translates as "God with us"- her daily reminder of God's presence in her life.
 
Seeing Alisa again this year was a gift. We share the same birthday, and I love to remind her of that similarity- and to know that I share that day with someone so special. The language barrier between us was challenging, but we did play a few games of ping-pong while a translator interpreted for each of us. We both asked about each other's lives, and we were each excited for the other's future plans and dreams. Alisa now works for Beginning of Life, and our team got to visit her at her workplace. It was hard for me to be mentally present at that time, because I could not get over the transformation taking place in her life. God had been deep at work within Alisa, and He will continue to do so.
 
Seeing a piece of Alisa's transformation and the growth of Beginning of Life reminded me that God's work is outside of time. Despite our worldly timing and attempts to truly see God's movement, He will move and work in ways we cannot comprehend or expect. "For I, the Lord, love justice; I hate robbery and wrongdoing. In my faithfulness I will reward my people and make an everlasting covenant with them. Their descendants will be known among the nations and their offspring among the peoples. All who see them will acknowledge that they are a people the Lord has blessed."- Isaiah 61:8-9.