International Ministries

Pray for Debbie and Jim Kelsey

July 7, 2009 PrayerCall

Debbie and Jim assist the Evangelical Christian Baptist Union of Italy in ministry to English-speaking immigrant, particularly African, congregations. This includes local church ministry and theological and ministerial training of leaders. They work to welcome new arrivals to Italy who are seeking a better life for themselves and their families.  They also work with the immigrant churches and train immigrant pastors to strengthen their fellowships and broaden their ministries. They help in training Italian congregations in multicultural matters and missions. Debbie also ministers to young women at-risk or victimized by human trafficking and prostitution.

Debbie writes of taking a young woman, Emma, to her meeting with an intake person for a program for trafficking victims:

I shared with Emma verses of encouragement that had come to mind on the train.  We had time to talk in the empty lobby while we waited for the social worker, so we talked and prayed together. 

Emma told me her trafficker recently went to her family’s home in her country of origin to complain that she is not paying her debt.  Emma’s brother called her to see what was happening.  “Good girls pay their debts, right?”  Finally, after 3 years, she told her brother what kind of work this man made her do in Italy to make the money to pay her debt.  She told him she had to work in prostitution.  She explained that, since her arrest for a lack of documents, she has not gone back to the streets.  She told her brother not to worry about the man’s threats to go to the voodoo priest and put a curse on her.  I thanked God that Emma was willing to tell her brother the truth.  That was a good sign.

We had a good meeting with the social worker.  She suggested Emma think about whether she was ready to denounce her trafficker and asked if Emma would agree to another appointment in a couple of weeks to go further in the process.  Emma said, “Yes.” 

Yes!  We left and did what people in Italy do…We went to a café!  As we waited for our order, Emma said she told her mother on the phone not to worry about that man’s threats.  She didn’t tell her mother about her involvement in prostitution.  Emma thinks it would be too upsetting to her to know about that.  But, she reminded her mother that the man’s threats are nothing to worry about because Emma is trusting in the only true God, who is more powerful than any force of evil.  Emma told me she quoted a verse to her mother:  “God has not given us the spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”