I’ve experienced why it’s valuable for teams to come over and see from the team’s perspective how much it impacts the team and how much I think it impacts the girls, but from your perspective is it better for the teams to come over three or four times a year, or is it better just that we support the girls more fully in the sense that we just send the money? How valuable do you think the team’s impact is on the girls here?
RANJANA (Safe House Manager): We have the name of this ministry, Restoring Hope Nepal, and the name itself has a meaning – it is restoring hope. To restore hope money cannot do that. Money can meet the physical needs, but the spiritual needs they have – for that we need more than money. The girls we have here, the girls who have been rescued from brothels or streets or red-light districts or restaurants, cabins, they are broken from inside. They need touch, they need love, and if a team or whoever people are interested to come here, if they come here and be with the girls, even their presence can make a big difference – that I have seen.
Every time when the team comes and visits these girls, some of them don’t have a family, parents, dad, sisters … when they come here and when they hug them, they spend their time together with them, they have experienced that the gap they are having is now filled with your hearts, with your love, with your presence, with the words that you are speaking. So I would say that more than money, the first important thing for Restoring Hope Nepal is your presence, your visitation to girls, your expression of love to them. You may not come and talk much with them, but you can just come and be with them. You can spend your few hours with them, and that has made a big difference.
Some of them (the team who has come before), they came and spent their precious time, they went back to US. Later on when I am working among these girls, they have shared with me, “I don’t know who my father was, I haven’t seen my father, but I have seen a kind of fatherly love in them. If I had a father, I believe that my father would have been like that, would have loved me in that way. I don’t have sisters, but the way she has loved me, the way she has embraced me with love, I feel like my sister would have done the same thing if I had a sister.” So I personally feel like how important somebody’s presence among these girls.
You can see the videos and photos and read their stories and sympathize with this girl from there, reading their stories, but there is a term called empathy – when you come and visit here and stay with them, then you can stand in their shoes. Why teams come here and why they are weeping, why they have tears in their eyes – it’s because you are just sympathizing: oh wow, they are sad, they are rescued, they don’t have family, they are rescued from brothel, I feel bad, I feel sad, I am praying for them, but when you come, when you see them, when you touch them, when you spend your time with them, then you stand in their shoes. You are feeling what they are feeling, you are going through the same kind of feeling what they are going through. I don’t think money can buy this.
Yes, there are so many needs around today, like they need food, they need to stay in a good house, they need shelter, everything they need. You are doing a great job by sending money, it is very important. But along with that money, the first thing, if you come and if you make them feel like they are so important … anybody can send money, but everybody cannot come and visit them.
For that, you need the heart, you need love, and Restoring Hope Nepal is trying to restore the hope they have lost somewhere. Restoring Hope is trying to restore the peace they have lost. Restoring Hope is trying to restore the life they have already destroyed, they have already destroyed so much from them. Nothing in this world can do that except love. So I would encourage all of you, all the young people, everybody from the church, whoever is watching us today, hearing us, reading our newsletters and watching our profiles, I would encourage you: would you please come and share your love with them, with your words? That can make a difference.
SURENDRA (Safe House Director): And by doing that, they can see God through you. Your love that you express to them will give them the fuel to move on. Whenever a team comes and they leave, we feel they are very different. Why? Because they are transformed, they felt the love through these people.
By saying all this, those who cannot travel to Nepal shouldn’t support Restoring Hope Nepal, we don’t mean that. If you can travel, you get to experience all this kind of thing and you get to pass love to our girls who are here. And for that reason from our girls’ point of view, it is giving fuel to them to move on with their life. Physically they live here, but to transform them from the inside, you can be the channel of blessing to them – and how important it is if someone can see love in our presence, the way we talk, the way we hug them, we are privileged. I think it will be a privilege to come and do that. For that reason, it is very important for a team to come over here from time to time.
RANJANA: One more thing is, if you want to have yourself changed, if you want to see the work in a different way, then I think you should come and visit here. Because it’s like if I have an apple and ask Jordan, “How is this apple?” he may say, “This may be sour or this may be sweet.” If I let him eat the apple, then the real test he will be able to tell us. It’s just like that: ministry from the outside can be seen in any way. People may have sympathy, pity, people may have love, what kind of feeling they have, we can’t express. But when one eats that apple, the real test of that apple, only that person can tell who has tested the apple. For that reason also, if you want to have an exploration of ministry, you should come, if you want to know what girls are going through, you should come.
SURENDRA: For example, if it is very warm, a very sunny day, and I am very, very thirsty, and Jordan brings me very cold water from the freezer and that looks very nice – and Jordan started to explain to me, “Surendra, this is very good water. This is pure water; this is cold and this is very nice.” He can explain that to me for hours, but my thirst would not go away. If and only I take the water and drink, that is the experience, that is the transformation of what things do within us.
And if you want to have that experience, words cannot experience what they have felt coming over here. If you want to experience that, then I tell you what, you will not regret traveling here.