Fear and shame welled up in Eshe* every night as she prepared for work.
It was dark—in the dingy bar where she worked in prostitution, and in her spirit. She endured physical and emotional abuse from her clients, and it destroyed how she thought of herself. “Who could love me?” echoed in her mind.
“Who could love me?”
But even in those most terrible of moments, God never stopped loving her. This is something that Eshe now knows since she found refuge through our partner project for women at risk in Ethiopia.
Your prayers and support for projects like this around the world are vital to helping women like Eshe escape the misery of sexual exploitation—especially in these days of economic turmoil and uncertainty.
Like so many young women, Eshe did not choose prostitution willingly.
She grew up outside of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia’s capital, but traveled to the city in the hopes of finding a better future by going to school. She went to live with relatives, but instead of helping her, they forced her to live as a servant. Eshe endured it for two years before she ran away. Now on her own and desperate for work, Eshe went to a job broker who sent her to a bar and the start of four years trapped in prostitution.
That’s when our Ethiopian partners found Eshe and offered a way of escape at our center for women at risk. With support like yours, she would have a safe place to stay, meals, Biblical counseling, job skills training, and, most importantly, love and compassion.
Eshe accepted. She was deeply wounded but ready for a chance at a new life. Through counseling, she heard how much Jesus loves her and she was able to forgive her family for the abuse she had suffered.
She began to thrive through the 12-month program and started to see herself the way God sees her. “Everyone knows Eshe as a peacemaker. She is good at solving conflicts,” said one of the project staff. She also received job skills training. The center teaches women skills such as hair styling, jewelry making, hospitality, food service, and weaving. Through the training Eshe received, she was able to start earning an income making clothing and jewelry
God transformed Eshe and released her from her shame. She rejoices that He holds her future, too: “I feel safe when I think of tomorrow because God is the one who gave me the chance to get out of prostitution.” She often thinks of her favorite Scripture, Psalm 25:3: “Indeed, let no one who waits on You be ashamed” (NKJV).
Through your gifts and prayers, God can use you to help many more young women know this same powerful truth. No matter where they have been or what they have done, in Jesus, there is no shame.
The hardships women in the developing world face often leave them without hope. Through your generous gifts, Samaritan's Purse is working to restore the hope of women through programs aimed at increasing literacy, providing maternal health care, teaching livelihood skills, and stopping trafficking and prostitution.