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.”
- Pray for Emma and the upcoming meetings she will be having.
- Pray for Joann in another city who is considering making steps similar to Emma.
- Pray for women's groups in Italy to be prepared to reach out to trafficking victims in their communities.