Friday, November 26, 2010

where are the men?

there are lots of men here. lots of men in the states. lots of men on this earth. However, where are the men when it comes to the issue of human trafficking? I go to conferences and they are filled with advocates for women. advocates for the girls who are victims of sex trafficking. and yes, there are some men advocating for the victims of human trafficking.
but i must make this point. if there was no demand for the sex trade, there will be no need to supply women. Men, you buy sex. Your gender is the reason that human trafficking exist. I am trying my hardest not to come across as an angry feminist but its a simple fact. with out the demand for sex, there would be no supply.
so my question is, Men where are you? why are you not advocating and fighting for the souls of them men who are buying the 13 year olds girls? who are buying the 25 year old? who are buying the 40 year old women? who are oppresing my friends around the world? why are you not coming along side these men and standing with them, fighting for them. identifying with them,.......doing your part to end the sex trade. to end prostitution? to bring the men to freedom?

i am tired of people telling me that "it the oldest profession". no its not...its the oldest form of oppresion. and for some reason men don't stand up for this issue. They justify it with lust.

lust is a complicated thing. i am a women and can say that i DO NOT understand the power and force and controlling power of lust. i DO NOT understand its ability to control and manipulate men. or its power to make men feel like hypocrites if they do stand up and fight. or the power it has to make men hide in shame and live double lives. and i am not writing to say i understand men or to shame men or to give answers. only questions.
and My question is, Men what are you doing to help other men? what are you doing to help end the sex trade? Men, are you entering into each others suffering, shame, darkness, oppression? are you walking besides your brothers and offering grace and a safe place? are the problem. are the solution.
men in the gatch sell their wives. men in the gatch tell me to my face that they have come to the red-light district for "fu^*%*^ing", i had a christian man in the red-light area say that he couldn't control himself and had to come sleep with a girl daily. i had a tourist sleep with my friend s. who was only 15 at the time. i see men in america whose sole purpose is to sleep with as many women as possible or do anything do get a girl in bed. i see televison sitcoms a that make watching pornography a joke.
so men.........where are you? where is your fight?
i pray that shame and fear would not keep you silent. we need you to fight. we need you to love your brothers. we need you to face your darkness and let people in. we need you to come into the light together. we need you to stop making pornography and one night stand acceptable. we need to stop the idea of 'boys will be boys".
Men we need you. Because us women cannot fight on your own. without you we will never stop this problem. without you we will still need 9, 720 more jobs to end the sex trade in songachi alone.
please men. fight. do not give up. there is a Jesus who loves you. there is a chance to change things on this earth. there is redemption. YOU ARE THE SOLUTION. YOU ARE THE ANSWER.

i love the fried eggplant just outside of sarah's house. i love that i am excited to go home tomorrow to jacksonville. i love everything i have been able to see and experience in kolkata since i have been here. i love hearing a women's testimony at saribari who said her life now has respect. i love sari bari, beth sarah and my friends here.

Friday, November 19, 2010

the celebration

there is so much to write. so much that i feel overwhelmed when i think of writing. so much that i feel so inadaquate to get it all down on paper (or computer) so i can remember it and come back to it. so here goes.....
When i would think about india over the past two years it would be the worst of the worst....i close my eyes in worship and would see the young girls lining the streets or holding the women at the train station while she was dying or my friends being raped in the bed besides where i was sitting.
and yes...those memories are real and horrible and the reality here but coming back to Kolkata has reminded me of how much good there is also.
yesterday we had to walk through the red-light area to get to the new sari bari unit. (need to interject here....we dreamed for a safe place in the gatch for years and years. we even tried to start sari bari in the gatch while i was here but it all fell through. God timing right???). We only walked through a small portion of the area but it was enough. we walked by our friend Beauty who i knew for my entire five years here. we walked by the young girls who i thought were 15 at the time but as i greeted them again this time they still looked 15. it was the same young girls that i knew from last time! the same young girls who are under slave labor! the same girls who are forced to work the line from 8:00am to who knows how long at night. the same young girls who are forced to wear mini skirts and bad makeup and are taught to grab men when they walk by them. the ones whose childhoods have been stolen by men's lust. these are the girls whose faces haunt me. who i bring to God and cry out "why?" and "How?" and what are you doing for them?
so after seeing them i am walking down the red-light district with tears streaming down my cheeks. those questions start to rise in my mind again...the anger towards God. the questions and will never be answered.
as we come around the corner from seeing the girls kyle says, "look up kristin. that is sari bari". and i go up some stairs.....not slime covered, dark stairs that lead me to a friends room where she is oppressed and her dignity is stolen but stairs that lead to hope and new life and new beginings and grace and love and safety.
i walk into sari bari in the gatch and can again breath. the place is open and beautiful and the ladies are laughing and i see girls who i knew in the red light district sewing!!! i see ladies who i knew from kalighat now in leadership and giving freedom to the ladies in the gatch. i see and feel hope and i feel all the anger and hate and questions melt off of me and all i can do it sit there and cry and be amazed.
i walked from hell to a place of hope in the matter of minutes. Hope exist in the gatch. HOPE EXIST. it was an impossible dream. impossible. but through dreams, work, prayer, community, grace, power, exist. and it was so damm awesome. it is my answer to most of my question. Thank you God.

there are other stories but this will be a start.
i love that when i cried at sari bari a. gave me a huge hug. i love that God is allowing me to celebrate. i love how normal everything feels here. i love that i got to have tok doi and bananas for breakfast this morning. i love that i got to see my friend jon again. i love beth and sarah so muchly.

Saturday, November 13, 2010


I don't really know how i can piece together all my theology about timing and God but it feels like this trip is so timely. perfect really. have been surprised so far how much i feel that. yesterday i spend the day with charlotte and julian and their two seriously adorable daughters. i mean a 2 1/2 year old who has the sweetest british accent is enough to melt the heart of any american right? we went to the tate modern (didn't really get a lot of the art but there was so come cool stuff), had coffee by the river, took the tube around town, and ended up at an amazing cathedral and got to sit in on a reharshal of mozarts requasition. it was amazing.
and today i got to take part in charlotte and julian's "church". 4 times a year this group of friends gets together to pray for their friends overseas as well as for each other.....and eat brilliant food together. it was such a refreshing intimate time. we worshipped together with no guitar just our voices. most of their friend are artist or musically talented so it was beautiful. then we two specific times of prayer. it was like breathing fresh air.
and i met a girl who had lived overseas for 5 years, came back relatively burned out and was just again getting back into working with women in prostitution (um sound familiar). so it was so encouraging to meet her and hear her story and her journey. so similar to mine. makes it less lonely.
two more days until kolkata. can't wait.

i love that i bought a shirt and a belt today from a consignment shop in london!!!! i love that today in the grocery store i heard three different languages and saw people from at least 7 different nationalities. i love that london reminds me of how big and small the world is. i love that i met a couple who met kyle and michelle in india and another girl who worked with nepali trafficked girls in hong kong and actually met brook and kara. such a small world. i love that i miss my friends in jacksonville.

Sunday, November 7, 2010


So, i haven't blogged in a long long time. nothing much felt worthy of a blog. but but i am going back to india in four days. four days. so i decided (with a little prompting from a friend) to start blogging again. but just a fair warning....i am a terrible proof reader and my blog will be filled with spelling and gramatical errors and lots of exclamation points. but i can promise that i will always try to be thoughtful and real. so here goes.......
as some of you know i tried to go back to india back in april and being who God created me to be realized at the airport that my passport would expire 4 days into my trip.
but it has seemed to work out for the better. in that time beth and sarah both have come to visit, God has worked a lot out in my heart, my life in jacksonville is getting exciting and i feel like i am coming alive again, and probably one of the best reason is.....its not gonna be hot!!!!
when i think of going back this time my heart starts beating faster. i get so excited. very different what i felt 6 months ago. I feel like my two weeks in India is going to be a celebration of what God has done. My friends have made me out a schedule for my trip. and when i was reading over it i couldn't stop crying. My schedule is filled with seeing the fruit of my labors. of seeing people and places i only dreamed about....that were just my crazy visions. and now i am going to see my friends in places of redemption. I can't wait.
so will try to be better about updates. i feel like its important this time to take people with we can celebrate what God did and what in HIs mercy He let me be apart of. and for that i am eternally thankful.

and to continue my tradition of blog i will close with the things i love.
i love my mom's pumpkin pie. I love doing something i think is impossible. i love drinking wine of the veranda with beth and sarah. i love that my niece loves me. i love i get to baby sit amelia dec. 4th!!! i love the adventure that is my life.

Monday, August 17, 2009

why i am so muchly loving my country.

My life is pretty surreal. I am working as a dietitian for the WIC (women infant and children) program in jacksonville, fl. I am a supervisor (weird!!) and get to see high risk clients and give nutrition counseling (teen pregnancy, low iron, low birth weight babies, permies, underweight kids). i go to a great church....river city church. and live next door to the coolest people ever...jen and craig curell. here is my list of why my life is good right now.

1. i have gotten to see my brother three times since december. This is the most in the past 6 years i have seen him.
2. when i go walk in my neighborhood i can hear bugs and birds.
3. i have cherry diet coke in my fridge.
4. everyday i am clean and cute.
5. i can wear whatever i want.
6. i can wear heels.
7. i can see my parents at least once a month.
8. i can talk with men here.
9. i went to a bar on friday night to watch football!!!
10. i will be here for gator football season!!!
11. cheese
12. beef
13. a church where i am fed spiritually
14. no garbage on the road.
15. clean, clean clean clean clean.
16. for the first time in my life having my own flat and it being cute.
17. living next door to the curells.
18. court and ange coming to visit.
19. getting to be around kids and babies all the time.
20. salads.
21. i am breathing.
22. i can let my guard down.
23. working for a country where no one has to go hungry.
24. everyday counseling women and families that if i was living in india i would be passing by on the streets holding their malnourished babies.
25. a job that is culturally diverse.
26. my new mix CD from ange.
27. craft nights
28. cheese dip
29. dancing to thriller with 20 healthy beautiful alive teenage girls who are safe in their home and haven't been trafficked and being able to tell them about kovita and have them weep with me for her.
30. my couch.
32. my dining room table.
33. my 1/2 and 1/2 coffee each morning in my to-go much with french vanilla cream.
34. NPR
35. my trip to india in feb. to visit
36. selling sari bari products
37. birkenstocks
38. my big fridge
39. nice left over beer from a party
40. real simple magazine.

these are just a few. this doesn't mean that my heart doesn't ache to be in kolkata with the girls and beth and sarah. but there are a lot of good reasons for living here.
so peace out party people.

Friday, May 8, 2009

an old email.

So my friend steve and shannon kept this email that i sent out around spring about 5 years ago. its about this crazy experience i had in nepal. it reminded me of who i am and all i have to do is be available and Jesus moves. I ministered to myself so i figured it must be God.

Hey everyone,
I am sorry for all the e-mails I haven't written back to yet. I haven't had consistent e-mail access in Thailand and the area of nepal I was in it is so slow but I have to write you and tell you some amazing stories.The retreat with the staff was so good. The island was beautiful and the time with the staff was so good. I had to say good-bye to Josh and that way, way sucked. I think that I am going to be a little lost for a while with out him in Calcutta. I will write more about all the changes later...but I wanted to tell about how God sent me into the darkness of the thai sex trade.The sex industry in Thailand is huge....not for Thai people but for forgein men coming to sleep with Thai girls, or boys, or both. At the beach we stayed with probably 1 out of the six couples were older men with young Thai girls. It was rather sickening to see. I had read some about the sex trade in different books but really could believe that I was seeing this right in front of my eyes on my vacation. Their stories are so similar to the girls in India....rape, beatings, desperation, poverty, shame. bangkok is renown for its sex trade and people actually just come to thailand to purchase sex. is how Jesus let me minister to the people not in the sex trade this time.....but the men themselves.
Let me start this story off. I left the beach two days earlier than the staff b/c I had to fly to nepal to meet the servant team. So i left the beach last saturday the 25th. I took the boat back to the mainland and ended up meeting these two guys from Germany who were going back to bangkok. Their were both 25 and studying in China and were on holiday. Their names were Thomas and Andrew.WE ended up getting a taxi b/c the bus wasn't coming for another two hours and we wanted to have some time in bangkok. So the whole three hour cab ride we chatted....about so much stuff. Communism, germany, american, china, living overseas......But within the first 30 minutes Thomas says to me "Yeah China girls are so easy. all you have to do is say Hi and they are yours". Then he asked me if I knew any dirty jokes...mind you Andrew is in the back of the cab dying of embarassment. We got our rooms at our hostel. I had to catch a cab at 4:30 in the morning and realized that I did't have alarm clock. They guys said I should just not go to bed and stay out all night....I never do things like that anymore but I was kinda like...what the heck. These guys had made me laugh, I have enough money in my pocket for a cab ride home, and I was up for some I went.
We first went to this outdoor market and sat and listened to a thai band sing Britney spears, the beatles...and a lot of other random music. Thomas started to tell me about this bar that he knows in the red-light district in bagkok called goldfinger. I told him if it was anything like I had heard about them I wasn't going in. He reassured me that it wasn't...they have bars in this area that aren't "sex bars". I told them I was a tad scared...images of the red-light district in Calcutta came racing to my mind and they reassured me that I would be okay.So we hopped in a touk-touk (like a golf cart type thing) and headed toward the red-light district that I had heard so much about.
On the way there a strange holy spirit thing happened in my heart and I started to pray for them and somehow I knew it was going to be okay and that i was actually supposed to be here in this moment.So we end up in the red-light district right smack dab in the middle of the action. It is so different than India.....there are tourist every where!!!! The street in the middle is lined with shops that sell tourist things (normal tshirts and purses) and the sides of the streets are lined with bars...some "sex bars" and some normal (i think) bars. I am propositioned (along with the guys) to come inside this one bar and they have a menu of "sex acts". that you can purchase. It makes me so sad.
WE find this bar called "goldfinger". Thomas had heard about it from a friend and it was supposed to be the best bar around. So we go in.I walk in and the first thing I see is girls on top of the bar dancing in bikini's and that is it. So we sit in the corner some and they get a beer and then I end up meeting the owner. He is american!!!
And i begin to notice the whole bar is filled with old american men!!! I ask how and why he started this. I think now he is around 48 years old and he said that 25 years ago he moved to Korea after his divorce and had worked for ITT for 5 years there and wanted a change so he came to this area and bought this bar. He said that he is married to a thai woman. He met her when she was fifteen!!!!! and the day she turned 18 she moved in with him!!! and now they have been married for 6 you do the math. He says this bar is strictly for drinking only and the girls.....well they just happen to be there.
So we move on. We finish walking down the street and it is filled with dancing bar girls and some of the names of the bar are really explicit....really different from caluctta.So....we get to the end of the street and ended up playing some pool and then going to mcdonald's!!! It was really, really fun.
So we go back to the tourist area. WE end up at this bar that they had gone to the other night. SO i once again begin to look around began to notice...not old white men with thai girls....but young men....guys my age....I mean in this bar alone I saw about 20 different men with thai girls.So I start to talk to thomas and andrew about this when we get interrupted by this waiter who says these men who know thomas and andrew want us to join them for a drink.So we move tables and I am with six men now...four older french men and thomas and andrew. I start to ask thomas more questions and find out that two nights ago he hired a thai girl for the entire night for 800 bhat (about $20). I just kinda sat there for a little bit.THen the french guy was looking at some pictures and I made the mistake of asking who they were......he then showed me a picture of thomas with a thai girl ( no big deal), then andrew sitting at a bar with a thai girl, and then a picture of the thai girl that I won't even tell about here because the image still haunts my mind.Then the gross french men starts talking about tahi girls and how he wants to marry me and they are just so gross and creepy.
So thomas and andrew and I start talking again and I end up telling them what I do exactly in Calucutta....I work to get girl out of the sex trade.thomas is silent.The french men get up to leave and the french man whispers in my ear something that makes my body twinge with disgust and hate and I wondered what vile acts he has done to they get up to leave I turn to andrew and say "I am sitting at a table of men that I hate. I am sitting here with the very people who are doing what God wants undone". He looks at me and says "I know. I think it is wrong to"
the french men left and I start to ask my two friends questions. WHy? lonliness? pleasure? they tell me it is all of the above.
SO then I get to tell them (actually andrew already has a basic knowledge of how bad the sex trade is) about how these girls get to the streets here. I get to tell them about how its not a choice. I get to tell them my dreams for the girls. It was awesome.And then somehow Thomas ended up asking me how many people I had slept with....when I said no one they about fell out of their chairs. They could believe it. So that led in to this whole other conversation about marriage, and commitment, and God. I wish you could of seen the way, specifically Thomas, looked at me differently. I think that is possible the most beautiful I have ever felt in my life. I think something connected with Thomas that night....for the first time he saw past his own lust and started to see the girls and where they come from.
I asked thomas how many people he had slept with. HE said before China....six...but since he went to china he had slept with at least twice that many. His goal was to sleep with a woman in every county he went to. When I look at this man I could so clearly see the stronghold of lust over his life. He was so obsesses with sex and what he called "fun times" that it was almost like an additicion and sex and pleasure was all he could see. I actually felt sorry for him.So we then started to talk about marriage and it was just so good.The french men invited them to go to this hotel and get some girls but instead they wanted to hang out more and we went to this other bar and ended up meeting other really cool travelers and just talked about life and culture until 4:15 in the morning and it was time to go.As they walked me upstairs THomas gave me a hug...I wish I had words to describe the was honoring to me in so many ways but also so desperate in some. I knew that his heart was hurting and craved something pure and craved to be loved. This night was so huge for huge...
I was in the midst of the darkness but yet I have never felt like such a light. I realized that I am not just waiting to have sex till i am married for my husband but for guys like Thomas and anderew and the girls in Sonagatchie and the girls in Thailand. IT made me see how obedience to Jesus makes me beautiful. I have no doubt in my heart those men saw Jesus in me. Jesus is the only reason that I am waiting and the only reason I do the work I do....and I felt like I was oozing Jesus. And the most amazing thing is that this whole night just came from being available.....from trusting the Spirit. It wasn't planned or manipulated.I just got an e-mail yesterday from andrew saying how it was really impactful to meet me and apologized again for thomas. and said that he couldn't believe he took me into those places and that he is rethinking what commitment is......Isn't that amazing???? JEsus rips my face off.
But the thing that stayed with me the whole night is that i knew that Jesus was in the red-light district. I knew that he was in that bar goldfinger and at that table amongst those men. He is there b/c he loves both the thai girls and those dirty french men and me and thomas and andrew. I didin't have to be afraid.
I was blown away that in thailand the problem are not the uneducated men of thailand or the poor or the is the average white college educated man. It is us...the westerners capitalizing on the poverty of the young women. It is us....not them. This night in bangkok brought this issue home for me. In India it is easy to blame the indian man....but I see just a glimpse in the gatch of the power of lust. It made me so clearly see that sexual sin permeates us all....all cultures, races, is not just india's is ours.
So...on a closing note. Men ( and women). IF you are caught in lust. Tell someone. Confess to your friends and your church family. Get free. I see to many men whose lives are destroyed by it and too many young girls whose lives are forever destroyed by it. I know there is freedom. Jesus wants to give it.So if you could say a prayer for thomas and andrew. I will write another mass e-mail soon and catch you up on things in sonagachie.....sorry this was sooo long. if you read to the end thank you. love in Christ,

Thursday, April 30, 2009

my balloon ride

I got to go hot air ballooning on Wednesday morning. My friend and boss, Tom Tanenbaum best friend, BOB owns a ballooning company. So he offered to take me one morning. So after meeting at 6:00am we headed out....and then up!!! it was really really cool. I felt like charlie from willy wonka and the chocolate factory when he got to ride in the glass elevator. Its such a crazy sensation to float above the world. We went over some swamps and saw deer, cows (aka beth's mom). wild pigs (hey sarah you didn't tell me your mom was visiting), and some pretty birds. It was so cool.

this is after landing...sorry...they are in reverse order. they had all this down to a science.
we got to see the sun come up. this was after we crossed over I-4. if you look you can see the other balloon that flew with us. there used to be lots and lots of flying together, but then people got nasty and competitive and went their own way. so bob is real old school and still would rather fly together.....he is cool.
here comes the sun!!!
me, bob, and a really nice british couple celebrating their 28th year of marriage standing inside the balloon...this was a cool part.
they first fill the balloon up with cold air using a huge fan. then heat of the air and shazam....the balloon rises. we ended up traveling about 13 miles in one hour. not the fastest mode of transportation but definitely one of the most relaxing!!!

After a kinda exciting and rocky landing, you get to have a champagne toast and everyone raises their glasses and says this toast together.

The winds have welcomed you with softness
the sun has blessed you with warm hands
you have flown so high and so well
that God has joined you in your laughter
and set you gently back
into the loving arms of mother earth.

isn't that pretty.

so i highly recommended going on a hot air balloon ride. specifically with bob. its cool to float.

i love that i bought a car yesterday. i love that i really am spoiled at work....tom bought be going away flowers and today we all went out to lunch at a really really nice Chinese buffet. I had lunch with 4 men today and they all make me laugh. i love what different things men talk about at lunch then women. i love the feeling of excitement i have right now about moving. i love that i feel hopeful. i love walking out of a freezing cold restaurant into the perfect 85 degree weather and having the sun thaw me out.