We need to hear stories of hope. Hope is our mainstay in a world that is dark and often unkind.
We especially need to hear stories of hope on Mondays, when it's hard to get the motivation to get back to work after the weekend.
We could get caught up in the nastiness of Mondays, but instead let's celebrate that lives are being transformed through dignity! This week, our story of hope and transformation comes from Eden, one of our jewelry partners in Asia:
"At age 14, Li Meng Zhu was a good student. Yet when it came time to enroll in high school, despite her teacher's recommendation, her father said he wouldn't waste money on a girl's high school education.
Angered by his refusal, she stopped be a relative's house instead of going home from school. There she met an older woman who, to the naive Li Meng Zhu, seemed to know a lot about the city life and life in general.
At the end of the meal, the woman invited Li Meng Zhu to go to the city with her for a day trip. Still angry with her father, she decided it would be a good way to get back at him."Just let him worry a little," she thought.
The woman promised her she'd be back within 24 hours.
She didn't see her family again for 2 years.
After taking her to a distant city where she was isolated from friends, the lady locked her in a hotel room, only occasionally bringing her food, while men came in to look her over and discuss money outside with her captor.
Following five days in isolation with little food and water, Li Meng Zhu was too weak and defeated to even cry for help, and the woman had threatened to harm her family if she escaped.
Eventually, a much older man bought her, threatened her, and drove her 6 hours to another province. he told her she was now his wife.
Li Meng Zhu finally ran away after years of abuse and neglect, and heard about Eden through a friend. After 2 years of separation and a long journey of forgiveness and healing, Eden has helped her reconcile with her family."
Oh, it can be so hard to read these stories. But how wonderful that they don't end in captivity and brokenness. There is healing and restoration from the horrible atrocities that have been inflicted upon many people in our world.
We hope that gives you a boost, to know that you've supported work that creates dignity and hope, and that stories can have a positive ending! Have a hope-filled Monday!