We love stories of hope!
They are reminders that lives can change, that we can be a part of the process, and that a desperate situation is not condemned to stay that way.
They give us perspective about our own lives and remind us that we've been blessed.
Today's story comes from one of our jewelry partners, Eden Ministry. The girl's name is Xiao Ping.
"Xiao Ping loved chatting with her many online friends - especially boys. Her father never paid her much attention growing up. But she was pretty, and even if her father wouldn't pay attention to her, the boys online would when they saw her picture.
There was one particular boy, Zhang Li, who kept inviting her to visit him. He made her feel so special.
So at 15, she ran away from home and got on a train.
When she arrived, he met with her with flowers and took her to his place. He was so tender and loving, and she planned on spending the rest of her life with him. She gave herself fully to Zhang Li.
After a few weeks, he came home and told her he needed money fast. There was only one way he could think of; otherwise, they'd come hurt him.
She told him she would do anything to save him, and so he introduced her to prostitution.
Yet after a time, she realized Zhang Li was not repaying a debt with the money, but rather spending the money gambling with friends. When she confronted him, he claimed he wanted to marry her.
"Do this just a little while longer, and we can buy an apartment together," he pleaded. We met Xiao Ping during out outreach, but she refused help, believing she was sacrificing herself for love.
After another year, she found his chat open on the computer and was devastated to discover she was just one of many girls he'd lured to the city this way. She then contacted Eden. After a time of healing, she took part in making our prevention video, which has been seen by more than 5,000 at-risk students."
While it's devastating to see such degradation, to see someone taken advantage of, we love knowing that Xiao Ping has not only begun to heal but to help other women avoid the situation she found herself in! She's living a life that promotes dignity and hope.
What a story to start the day with! We hope it encourages you and reminds you of what's important.