Amazing Grace

By Jamie Bagley, Pastor of Carll’s Corner Community Fellowship

On Friday September 10th I was contacted by a secretary of a social agency about a client in need. This agency will periodically contact me about assistance needed for people who are struggling. This woman was a victim of human trafficking and has extenuating circumstances that made her situation very difficult. The secretary forwarded me the following story that came from a social worker who was handling the case. *The woman’s name has been changed to protect her identity.*

“Adia is a 36 year old, widowed female from Paraguay. Adia lost her husband while he was away on a business trip. When her husband passed away, Adia had a difficult time finding a job in Paraguay to support her children and continue paying their mortgage. She was very happy when she found a flyer recruiting females to come to the United States to work in housekeeping at a hotel in Las Vegas. Adia called the number on the flyer and thought it was a genuine job. She left her children in the care of her mother in Paraguay and came to the United States to work as a housekeeper in Las Vegas. Unfortunately, like many others, Adia felt prey to a human trafficking scam. She was physically and sexually abused by the traffickers and when she arrived in Las Vegas she was forced to prostitute herself. Although the traffickers threatened to hurt her family in Paraguay if she did not comply with their demands, Adia managed to escape from the traffickers. However, shortly after she escaped she learned she was pregnant as a result of being raped by one of the traffickers. Adia spent many days sleeping in the streets with no food and worried that her unborn child would not survive because she had nothing to eat. She arrived in New Jersey after she contacted an adoption agency. Adia had not given birth yet, but she had called the agency with plans to give her baby for adoption after the delivery. She had no income and was afraid she would not be able to feed her child.

On March 24, 2010, 4 days after her baby was born and she handed him over to the adoptive father, Adia contacted our services for advice on how to get him back. She had been very depressed since giving her child up for adoption. Adia spoke to one of our attorneys, and with the advice from our office she was able to get her son back a few days later. Adia and her baby needed a place to live. We helped Adia get into a local shelter for victims of domestic violence and she has been living there since March 28, 2010. We were working on her immigration case as a victim of human trafficking when Adia learned that her mother had a heart attack in Paraguay. Her mother’s heart attack was apparently triggered by the news that they had lost the house because Adia has not been able to make any payments. Her children are now staying with someone temporarily and her mother continues in ICU. Adia needs to get to Paraguay as soon as possible to care for her children and her mother, and also to find a place to live. We are exploring any financial resources available to assist with paying for Adia’s and her son’s airfare, and to pay for his passport and Visa. Any assistance is greatly appreciated!”

After receiving the information and the story I contacted other pastors in the area that are part of the Bridgeton Christian Ministers Association. The BCMA made a sizable contribution. We also arranged to tell Adia’s story during our worship service, prayed for her and took up a special offering for her needs.

On Monday, September 13th my assistant Jesse Renaud and I took the collected offerings totaling $600 to the social agency office in Bridgeton. When we gave the money to the office secretary who had contacted me, she wept with joy and she shared with us that she had been praying for an opportunity to be used by God in a powerful way. Jesse and I then went to the Salvation Army and met with Major Tom Pierce with the hope of securing more contributions. Major Tom got online with the Salvation Army National Headquarters, Human Trafficking Division, and discovered that they would be able to donate frequent flyer miles that would cover the bulk of the airfare. This would allow Adia to use the extra money to begin addressing the difficult issues that she and her family faced. After talking with the social worker for needed details, Major Tom was able to book the flight from his office and also find Salvation Army workers in Paraguay who would be able to assist Adia when she arrived home. We are truly amazed at the way God worked over these few shorts days, connecting Christians in a powerful way to meet the needs of Adia and her family. But God didn’t stop there!

On Monday evening we learned that the Salvation Army of Atlantic City had sent a contribution of $1,000 to further assist in this crisis. Two days later, another Salvation Army worker from their National Headquarters, Human Trafficking Division, made a personal contribution of $500. When we connected with the social worker to transfer the collected monies she was brought to tears and praised God for all that had happened in those few days. On Friday the 17th of September, Adia and her baby boarded a plane and began their journey home. Just before she left she gave the social worker a note expressing her thanks to everyone who had prayed rallied to her support. She arrived home the next evening and was reunited with her mother and children.

I praise God for the secretary and her faith that God would work through his people to bring aid to Adia and her family. I am also overwhelmed by the ways that people from work places and congregations here in Bridgeton responded in prayer and contributions to meet this need, to right the wrongs of injustice and express the love of Jesus.

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