An Excerpt from Pinpricks in the Curtain, by Isabella Flinn
Editor’s Note: Pinpricks in the Curtain is the detailed account of God’s work in the hearts of Isabella Flinn and her family. When God chose to stir her elementary-aged daughter’s heart to be a missionary, Isabella panicked. As readers discover, however, God met that panic with His power and love. He planted a seed for missions in both ladies’ hearts, fertilized it through tests of faith, and forced its bulb into fruit-bearing service to the people of India. Please join Isabella as she details her encounter with women freed from sex trafficking.
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The school adjacent to the mission agency is quite different from the slum school where we taught first. The school on campus is very well developed. It’s quite large, has actual rooms with walls and chalkboards, and seems cutting-edge for India. There, problems have been identified and solutions have been offered, accepted, and are being incorporated by the Indians themselves.
For example, trafficking in India is an enormous practice – in fact, India is the largest sex industry center in Asia. Shockingly, 35 percent of Indian girls enter the sex trade before their eighteenth birthdays.
Located within the mission agency’s school is the Independent Living Center (ILC), where women are taught skills such as sewing, quilting, and beadwork to help them earn an income, taking them out of a life of prostitution. This center is an effective, thriving answer to a problem that probably seemed insurmountable years ago until one woman responded to God’s call to take the burden He’d given her for these women and make a change. Now, hope abounds as lives have been transformed. We saw their eyes dance in merriment; we felt the warmth of their embrace, and for Juliet and me, these women are no longer statistics on a page but rather people we are honored to now call friends…
One petite women we met adeptly guided yards of material through the pulsating sewing machine as we looked on with admiration. She labored steadily, creating her own work of art, but took the time to smile and chat with us when we paused near her work area. We learned that she, like so many others, had had no say in the selection of her husband. As a result, she was married to her uncle, making her grandmother her mother-in-law. Her husband was an alcoholic who chose to support his family by selling his wife’s body to other men to use.
That dreadful past is just a small section of the beautiful quilt of her life she’s piecing together, because now she teaches other women at the ILC how to sew, and she independently runs the successful bead-making section. She’s learned that she’s not a piece of property to be used and abused but rather a masterpiece created by a holy God.
The depth of this woman’s joy was visible in the contentment in her eyes. I thought of the woman in Matthew 8 who was dragged before Jesus by angry, judgmental accusers. That woman must have avoided eye contact with Jesus, overcome with her own sense of shame. She might have pulled her tunic tighter around her body in an effort to conceal every inch from sight as the mob glared at her, hurling their insults at her frightened form. But the Son of God shamed those who had elevated themselves above her. He reminded them that each one of us is in need of a Savior, who shouldered our sins for us.
Jesus went to women and gave them dignity and value in a culture where women were viewed as property. He looked into the eyes of the lonely and left out. He pardoned the accused and comforted the broken.
As I stood in the ILC with women who had been born into a caste system that elevated all others above them, stripping them of any dignity, I was touched by the sacredness of the moment. These were not women whose bodies had been ruined when they were sold for a pittance to fuel men’s sexual desires. No, these women had been bought with the high price of their Lord, who paid in full with His own blood, because He valued them so very much that He would die for them, and did. That’s why I didn’t see anger of bitterness in the eyes of this Indian seamstress. I saw joy and peace – the kind that could come only through a personal relationship with Christ.
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Pinpricks in the Curtain; Copyright © 2014 Isabella Flinn, is available through Amazon and other retail outlets. You also may request a copy for purchase by writing to us at firstname.lastname@example.org