‘Esther’s Voice exists to prevent human trafficking and bring healing to women rescued from human trafficking by breaking cycles of brokenness and empowering women to bring change into their own lives and families through healthy decision-making’
The Esther’s Voice Story
A message from Janine Kubala, cofounder of Esther’s Voice
‘Believe me when I tell you, if your faith is only as big as a mustard seed you can say to the mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. You will be able to do anything’
Have you ever been confronted by a problem that is just too big to solve? A large immovable mountain that dominates the landscape of your world. Shifting it seems impossible. Overwhelmed and intimidated you open your mouth to speak but nothing comes out. You feel powerless. Dwarfed by the magnitude of the forces against you, you forget you even have a voice.
10 years ago I met my mountain. A trip to Cambodia in 2005 changed my life forever. Leaving the international airport in Phnom Penh I was confronted by a startling image. Across the road was a large billboard containing the darkened shadowy image of an adult holding a small child by the hand. Underneath the image were written the words, ‘It’s wrong to have sex with children’. I was shocked! Was it really necessary to make such an overt statement about something so fundamentally obvious?
It is impossible to visit Cambodia and remain unaware of the heart wrenching crimes of child slavery and forced prostitution. Over the course of that first trip I sadly realised that yes, overt statements really are necessary. Although we may assume that fundamental rights like freedom and the dignity of human life are universally enjoyed and upheld, they are not.
‘For I have been sold, my people and I, to be destroyed, to be killed and to be annihilated.’
Many reports have been declared over the nation of Cambodia. At the end of the last century, Cambodia became infamous for its ‘Killing Fields’, as reports of the genocide that occurred during the Khmer Rouge regime made global headlines. In the 21st Century, the report of death continued and Cambodia once again made headlines for human trafficking. Cambodia is one of the highest trafficked nations in the world, particularly for the trafficking and sale of children. With every generation sold, the cycle of bondage continues.
But God has declared a different report over Cambodia. The page has turned and a new sound is beginning to emerge from this nation. It is the sound of change as hope fills hearts and more and more voices join the heavenly declaration and bring a report of life.
Read on for the full story and to learn how you can make a difference
Light is shining on Cambodia. It’s been amazing to witness the magnitude and speed of the changes that have occurred each time I have returned over the past 10 years. Along with the development of infrastructure and business growth, many incredible organisations have been established to work effectively in the areas of rescue, shelter and the retraining of young women from situations of sex slavery.
However, outside the main cities, the influence of this development on village life has been limited. The impact of alcoholism and gambling continue to exacerbate the issues of poverty and generate debt, forming an environment of pressure and vulnerability that places children at great risk.
Every year as many as 100,000 girls, as young as 4 years old, are sold into sexual slavery. Alarmingly, most are sold by people they know and trust. Current statistics also reveal that more than 80% of rescued girls will return to prostitution.
Human trafficking is an incredibly complex issue. Far from being black and white, human trafficking disguises itself in varying shades of grey. Poverty, institutionally embedded corruption, the compromise that exists within every human heart and social acceptance of these violations as normal or even necessary, join forces to form a fortress so comprehensively entrenched that it seems impenetrable. A mountain that cannot be moved.
Two years ago during a conversation with a friend who works for a rescue organisation, God sparked something in my spirit and reminded me of the power of our voices. Discouraged over the number of girls returning to prostitution and unable to break free from the cycle of brokenness my friend said, ‘These girls courageously fight their attackers, they will fight their rapists, but it’s so much harder for them to fight the voice of their mothers”.
At the same time God spoke into my heart a simple statement and a powerful message,
‘My daughters are not victims. They are the voices that will change their nation.’
In that moment God changed the way I saw myself and He changed the way I saw my mountain. His divine whisper made way for my quiet beginning and Esther’s Voice was established.
It would be easy to view the women of Cambodia as victims. But that is not the way God sees His daughters. There are no words that can describe the betrayal and despair that fills the hearts of young women sold into slavery by the very people supposed to protect them. But God has given his daughters a voice and their voices can speak to mountains and cause them to move!
The heartbeat of Esther’s Voice is transformation. It is impossible for any of us to remain in a permanent state of rescue. God’s word promises He will not leave us in our current state of helplessness. Instead He empowers us to be part of the miracle that transforms our world by changing the way we see ourselves.
‘Don’t think for a moment that because you’re in the palace you will escape when all other Jews are killed. If you keep quiet at a time like this, deliverance and relief for the Jews will arise from some other place, but you and your relatives will die. Who knows if perhaps you were made queen for just such a time as this?’
In the story of Esther, Mordecai acknowledged the difficulty of Esther’s circumstance and the reality of the danger to her life but he also showed her that, far from being helpless, she was strategically positioned to deliver the message that would liberate her people. This transformation in the way Esther saw herself empowered her to speak up and deliver a message of freedom.
What is the Esther’s Voice?
Esther’s Voice works in partnership with both NGO’s and local churches and brings strength and support to the incredible work they are doing. As well as ministering with organisations involved with rescue and training, we also focus on prevention through our ministry with women in the villages. The emphasis of the village ministry is on breaking cycles of brokenness and empowering women to bring change into their own lives and families through healthy decision-making.
The Esther’s Voice programmes are founded on the assurance Romans 12:2 gives us that our behaviour does not have to be determined by our circumstances. Instead our external behaviour can be transformed if we allow God to change our internal belief system.
‘Don’t change yourselves to be like the people of this world, but let God change you inside with a new way of thinking.’
More than just a series of programmes, Esther’s Voice is a belief in the ‘God likeness’ of every person and recognition of our ability in Christ to overcome even the most challenging circumstances. The programmes provide an educational framework that enable women to process their past and take hold of a different future. The end of the programme is not the end of the ministry and when the external structures are removed the power of a transformed life remains.
‘On the day their enemies had hoped to overpower them, the opposite occurred, and they empowered those who hated them.’
In April, I travelled to Cambodia to minister the Esther’s Voice programmes at retreats for young women who have been rescued from human trafficking situations. The magnitude of the transformations that occurred in women’s lives during the course of the retreats was incredible and impossible, outside of God’s power and the life breathing presence of His Spirit.
In November we will be taking a team to minister with the women in the villages. The most exciting part of Esther’s Voice is the freedom cycle it is establishing to replace generational cycles of bondage and brokenness. Every woman’s story of victory is a powerful testimony and the key that helps to unlock hope in the hearts of other women trapped in the most desperate situations. Here are just a few of their stories….
Stories of Change
‘Last year I heard you share your story and I realised my story could help people too. 2 months ago I testified against my mother. My sisters (8 and 6yrs old) have been rescued from the brothel and are now living with me’ Bophea
‘God kept me safe from the Khmer Rouge and I always wondered why. I felt so guilty. My family was destroyed and so was my heart. I met Jesus at when I heard you speak. He healed my heart. Now I know God kept me safe for a reason. He saved me so I could help save other people.’ Bong Latah, village retreat 2012
‘The same God that rescued me, is still working miracles today. He doesn’t want to just rescue us. He wants to give us a future! I never went to school and thought I would never have a good life or a good future! But God did miracles just for us! God wants to take away our pain and fill us with His love! Who wants me to pray over them so that they can experience God’s goodness and love and healing right now!’ Jennifer, sharing her testimony in front of 60 rescued women 2 months after attending the April 2014 retreats
I spent $300 paying a witch doctor to put curses on my husband and all the women he was having affairs with and nothing changed. I hated my husband and he kept having affairs. Last year you prayed with me and the God of heaven healed my heart and changed the way I feel about my husband. Now I have a good marriage. It was God who did this for me.’
Woman’s testimony given in front of the women of her village at the Esther’s Voice village retreat in October 2013.
‘There is so much healing to be done in this country, healing that cannot be done through therapist or counselors. It was so awesome to have girls come up to me at the end of the retreat and say that before their heart was empty and now there heart is full. To have someone minister to them with the message, ‘You are not a problem, you are the answer’ is incredible. Thank you for coming to minister to these girls who thought they’d been forgotten.’
Helen, Training Centre Director
Your Moment to Bring Change
As momentum gathers and the voices of hope become louder my faith has grown so much bigger and by comparison the mountains are becoming smaller. We can be part of a miracle. Change is happening and mountains are moving.
Mordecai delivered a message to Esther that shifted her from helplessness to the voice that changed her nation. Please partner with us in delivering this message to the ones who will reach the thousands. This is your moment to bring change!
The most important and effective way for you to be involved is through prayer. Prayer is accessible to everyone and can be done from anywhere. Contact us firstname.lastname@example.org to receive weekly updates and if you’re in Sydney join us for prayer every Thursday morning in the Prayer Chapel at C3 Oxford Falls.
Be Part of the Programme
A limited number of places are available for women to attend and be part of Esther’s Voice programmes in villages and regional centres. Our next trip is in November 2014. Please contact email@example.com for more information.
Give a Woman a Gift
A donation of $30 will enable us to give a gift of clothing and hygiene supplies to each woman.
Sponsor a Woman*
A donation of $100 will enable us to deliver the Esther’s Voice programme to a woman in a village.
Sponsor a Village*
A donation of $1,000 will enable us to deliver the Esther’s Voice programme to 10 women in a village.
Make a Donation
All our activities are provided without charge. Your support makes a tremendous difference and enables us to bring change to women’s lives.
*Your donation will cover the cost of providing programme materials, transporting women to and from the programme venue, meals throughout the programme and a gift of clothing and hygiene supplies for each woman.