Get an inside look at what it’s like to travel with Freedom 4/24. Lynchburg local Linda Galvez was a member of our trip to India this past April. Read Linda’s reflection after leading and spending time with trafficking survivors at a wilderness camp alongside our partner Freedom Firm.
A few years ago, I heard the founder of Freedom 4/24, Christine Gelatt, speak at Liberty’s Convocation on the issue of human trafficking. I soon became interested in learning everything I could about the issue and how I could help survivors of trafficking as well as those still enslaved. I began volunteering with Freedom 4/24, and then interned with them during my time as a student at Liberty. I knew the Lord was also calling me to go on a trip with Freedom 4/24, and while my heart was saying “Thailand”, the Lord was saying “India”. I finally applied and interviewed for the India 2018 trip and was asked to join the team. The fundraising seemed daunting, but I quickly started receiving donations and support from friends and family all over the country. Everything was falling into place for me to go and I had never been more confident of a decision.
Months turned into weeks, and weeks into days. We left on April 3rd, and arrived in India on April 5th. It was a long and exhausting trip where we began encountering attacks from the enemy upon entering the country. I could tell you countless stories from the moment we arrived in India to the moment we left. Looking back, it all went by so fast, and the days are almost blurred together for me. It’s funny because you think you know what to expect going into a trip like this. There’s this nervous excitement going into the preparation and even being there, and then the Lord just surprises you with what you experience. Each of us in our own way had to trust that God would meet and sustain each of our needs that week.
One thing God definitely reminded me of during and even after this trip was His grace and mercy. The enemy can try to bring us down, whether that’s physically, spiritually, or mentally - but God is greater. My greatest burden leaving camp was, “Where will these girls go now? Who will watch after them now and make them laugh, and encourage them?” The day we were leaving, we met with Freedom Firm’s founder and God used her to tell us exactly what we needed to hear: “You were obedient in coming to India; now leave in peace knowing the Lord used you all to plant a seed in their lives.”
We may not know where the girls are today, tomorrow, or 3 months from now, but God has them in the palm of His hand, just like He has us. They received love and acceptance that they had not ever received. I received love from these girls and grace from God that I had never received. When I think about India and this trip, I think about everything we suffered through, and let me tell you – we suffered. But Romans 5:3-5 reminds us:
“More than that, we rejoice in our suffering, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.”
It was hard to come back to the States and rejoice in that suffering; it was hard to be in India and rejoice in that suffering! It has taken me time to process this trip, but I can look back now and, while I still cringe at the smell of curry, I’m rejoicing because I know I endured, my character was strengthened, and I still have hope that God used our team to plant a seed in those girls’ lives. I rejoice because I know they have suffered greatly, but God did a greater work that week in their lives and in ours.
If you feel strongly led to go to India or another trip to meet the women Freedom 4/24 exists to rescue, you can sign up today! Applications for next year’s trip to India in February of 2019 are due August 3rd: https://www.freedom424.org/trips