Making a Difference in Bangladeshby Jill Sherman, WOV Columbia-Willamette
I believe in the power of one,
one person making a difference in somebody’s life,
with just one act in one moment.
Much has happened in these past couple of months to change me, to cause me to look to God with hard questions, and to see His almost unbearable grace in it all.
I had the incredible privilege, back in May, of traveling to Bangladesh with a group from my church. It was a World Vision trip so it also gave me the opportunity to see it for my Women of Vision chapter, as well.
This trip was the most intense trip I have taken. We saw desperate poverty – people living on $36 a month, most of which goes for rent of a windowless shack.
We saw children living in brothels, sometimes hiding under the beds while their mothers served clients. We saw the brothels themselves with pimps, madams, and sex workers made up to attract clients. We saw little boys carrying very heavy loads of fish to make a few pennies a day, a job which can often stunt their growth.
But we also saw God there in the work of World Vision. Child Friendly Spaces welcomed us and the children of the brothels to light and joy and hope. There the children can learn and play and be safe, surrounded by the love of God and the staff. Life Skills classes are giving the fish market boys training and opportunity to have a bigger, more fulfilling life. A Child Forum showed us sponsored teens who are learning about their rights and banding together to make a difference in their communities. Visits to our sponsored children encouraged all of us and showed us ways to make a difference by providing funds for a business for one family and a new home for another.
And we got to hang out with the incredible World Vision staff – all who live sacrificial lives to do what they do. I have never been more impressed with a group of people. World Vision is highly respected here due to the integrity of its staff who know sex workers by name and treat them with dignity and respect.
We came prepared to despair but often found joy in those places, too. We were greeted with songs and dances and flowers – beauty from God who shines brightest in the dark.