Every person has a story. These are the stories of some of Peace Promise girls, surviving and thriving.
*Peace Promise has been given full permission to share these stories. All names and sensitive information have been changed for privacy purposes.*
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Amber started dancing and prostituting at 17 to support her drug habit that began at 12. Her mom had her own struggles with addiction and had lived a lifestyle of selling her body, so it was an “easy” transition for Amber. Besides, her mom’s friends had been taking her body for years without paying.
Her 4-year-old was in foster care and she slipped further from “normal” life. One night in a desperate attempt to save her life, another girl called us and asked for help. Walking in that night, we knew only Jesus could do this.
Amber broke down immediately and said she wanted help. Over the next couple of days our team worked relentlessly to find a rehab that would take her for detox, especially with no insurance. A door finally opened and because of the people who are supporters of Peace Promise, we were able to fund her detox.
On our way to detox, she asked us to pull over so we could get rid of her drug paraphernalia. The image of that dark car wash - we were parked behind it-will forever be embedded in our hearts as holy ground. It was in that place, in the dark, next to the garbage dumpster, that Jesus because Lord of her life as she asked what salvation was and accepted Jesus as Lord of her life.
Her journey has had bumps and some minor detours, but today she is reunited with her son, she is expecting another baby boy, and she is not using heroin. She has left her life of dancing and prostitution and knows that she is loved by Jesus. When she sees us she jumps into our arms and tells everyone she can that she is alive today because of us.
“I Need Help.”
Those there words were all I had the courage to type. After several years of talking to the church ladies at the club where I worked, I texted in desperation.
I already left my husband who was selling me to his friends, and now, I was stuck in an abusive relationship with my boyfriend. I only had $11 in my pocket and my boyfriend made sure that I had nothing - no way to leave him, nowhere to go, and no way of escape. I was trapped. Then, my phone vibrated with a reply text, “I can come, if you want to leave.”
Thirty minutes later, I was in a church lady's car with everything I owned. We drove to a church to figure out a plan. But how? What kind of plan could we make with $11? We talked about where I felt safe and what I wanted. "Home," I replied. "I want to go home."
I still don’t know how, but within the next three hours we packed all of my belongings into two suitcases; purchased a phone that no one else controlled; ate dinner together; and then, the church ladies bought me a train ticket home and gave me cash for traveling. As we stood in the train station, they prayed with me and I knew I would be okay. Because of Peace Promise, I am now far away from my abusers; I am safe, and I am recovering. I have hope.
We met the first night we visited the club where she worked. She was vibrant and outgoing, but something was different. Curious what we were about, she came over and chatted. The conversation ended with “Well, you will not see me for long. I am on the 6-month plan. Once I get my loans paid off I am done.”
She was a former Marine, discharged due to a medical issue. She wanted nothing more than to change her circumstances, to change the direction of her life. She came from a broken home and had suffered sexual abuse at the hands of her stepfather. Her biological father had passed away several years before. She joined the Marines to escape her reality and now found herself right back where she started but now she was even more emotionally beaten down.
On our 2 year anniversary of visiting that club she looked at us and said “It can’t be 2 years, I was on the 6 month plan.”
Within a couple weeks we had helped her find a job outside of the club and though she did not stay there long, it was a jump start to her confidence. This past Christmas we walked into her new place of employment with a Christmas present to remind her she is loved and we were greeted with her jumping into our arms. She now has a relationship with Jesus and has confidence that she is priceless.
She spent years in church, she was even serving in her local church and going on missions’ trips. She didn’t know why everything changed, but the pain got too intense. She self-destructed and did not believe anyone could love what she became. The secrets she had carried came to the surface. Adopted, she never felt like she fit in; picked on as a child for looking different, she believed she was broken; raped, she believed that her body was her only value and it was not hers to control.
She hurt herself before others could hurt her. She closed doors on relationships when anyone got too close. She covered her thin and unhealthy body in scars. When that did not make the pain go away, she tried to take her own life.
The only thing that made her feel like she had control was being on that stage. No one could see the scars under the dim lights; no one could see her pain. She could be someone else, even if only for a short time.
One day everything seemed different. She took a pregnancy test and it was positive. She did not know what else to do so she sent a message to the church ladies. She scheduled an abortion, twice. The Peace Promise team prayed, they offered love, they offered support. She saw her baby’s image on an ultrasound with one of our volunteers standing beside. The next day she posted, “I don’t know what the future looks like, but abortion is not for me.”
It has not been easy. She is making significantly less money; her body has changed; she has suffered extreme depression. But in all of this she has made a choice, not only for life for her child, but for life for herself.
“It’s easy and I owe it to him.” Those were the words she spoke even though her face and her tears said something different.
Ruby was only 20. She was “dating” a guy 10 years older and supporting him by making “out calls.” When she came home, she handed him the money and he gave her the fix she wanted. If she needed anything, she would need to set up another date and bring home more money. She “owed” him because he helped her get away from her abusive father, and he could no make enough money to support their heroin habits, but she could. In fact, he told her he could not work at all, she would need to support them. All she had to do was go on a call for an hour at a time.
She started working at a club to get a new set of customers because she and her boyfriend always needed more money to support their habits.
One night she met our team and she shared her story. She also shared that though she thought of leaving it could never happen. There was no way he would allow that. He was in control. We encouraged her that she could love. We shared that Jesus loved her and he situation she is in.
Then she was gone. We had no access to her and no way to know where she was or if she was even alive. All we could do was pray.
Over a year later, one of our team members saw a comment on someone’s post and it was her! Not only was she alive, she was safe and she was encouraging another girl to leave her situation and to find a good church.
Ruby’s Story is a reminder of the many women out there that we only get a moment with but whose lives are impacted by the simple message that they are loved and valued.