Christmas post by our Embrace Coordinator, Lauren:
Christmas has finally arrived. Trees are being decorated. Nativity plays are being performed. Parties are being hosted. Carols are being sung. Gifts are being exchanged. Families are enjoying each other’s company. This is a sweet season as we celebrate the birth of our Saviour. A King was born to live among his beloved people so that he could one day save them. What a beautiful birthday we get to celebrate at Christmas.
And whilst it is completely nostalgic and exciting to engage in all of the cultural traditions mentioned above, I was honoured to participate in the most loveliest Christmas Party I have ever experienced last Saturday. Embrace hosted its first Christmas party and invited Befrienders and their new Embrace friends to be a part of celebrating the Christmas season. 10 survivors of human trafficking joined their Befrienders for our gathering on Saturday, along with 15 children!
One befriender and her Embrace friend came an hour early to decorate the venue. Red, green, and gold colours illuminated the room to welcome the guests. Food brought by befrienders and
Embrace friends lined the tables. Candle and card decorating ensued and everyone squeezed in to participate in the cutting and gluing. Another befriender and her Embrace friend painted each face of every child present. We played games. We sang a Christmas carol. We gave out presents.
Women that might have been alone, struggling for finances, longing for normality, and wanting to
give their children a happy Christmas – felt the joy of community, friendship, food, music, and
laughter for two sweet hours. They gratefully received the party, where I would have taken it for
granted as “normal”. Their hearts were beaming as they went back home.
Several times, throughout the party, I stopped what I was doing to just watch. Watch mums laughing with their children as they chased them in a circle saying, “Duck, duck, goose”. Watch new found friends holding hands and singing “We Wish You a Merry Christmas”. Watch ladies from different religions and cultures and backgrounds chat around mince pies and cupcakes. Watch Christmas in action. Jesus’s love for the world being displayed through friendship. What a beautiful display of the same love he showed at Christmas over 2000 years ago. He loved us. And we show others his love by loving them.
He loves survivors of human trafficking. And what a joy to be part of loving them this Christmas
season. Thanks for all who made the day possible – both Befrienders and those that have
contributed financially. It would not have happened without you! If you want to be involved in
Befriending with us, please do get in touch!
New post by Embrace Coordinator, Lauren:
Imagine with me 2 people….
What would happen if Person 1 experienced true friendship?
If this person who had only felt abandonment, rejection, deceitfulness, and hate
Suddenly encountered a friend.
A friend that could be trusted. A friend that loved without strings attached. A friend who accepted her for who she was. A friend that stood by her side when everyone else had run away.
What would happen to Person 1?
Imagine with me again, Person 2…
What would happen if Person 2 also experienced true friendship?
This Person 2 who had never felt abandoned, rejected, deceived, or hated
Suddenly encountered a friend that had.
How would that person’s worldview change? Would her love for people deepen? Would her
understanding of empathy increase? Would she walk with her Jesus more closely? Would she enter into the joy of friendship with someone completely like and unlike her?
What would happen to Person 2?
If it wasn’t just these two people experiencing true friendship with each other, but hundreds.
Friendships of paired people, with different backgrounds, different cultures, different families,
different experiences, different worldviews. Hundreds of friendships. Imagine how many people
wouldn’t feel loneliness and would know the sweetness of community.
That is what we are imagining for Embrace. Human beings created by God to love and be loved,
being in friendship with one another. ALL OVER WALES. That’s our hope for Embrace.
Do you want to be a part of our dream?
If you would like to support survivors of human trafficking and join Embrace as a befriender, please contact Lauren: email@example.com
Several years ago we ran a human trafficking awareness raising event in Cardiff with Beginning of Life Ministries, Moldova. One of the girls, Camilla, who came to that event was a trainee medic from UHW Cardiff. To say that she was impacted that evening would be a huge understatement. Following a trip to Moldova that Summer Camilla came back to the UK determined to make a difference in her particular field - medicine. Aware that many victims of human trafficking often require access to health care for various reasons (accident and emergency, maternity care and sexual health to name a few), and concerned that many of her peers may not be aware of the issue or equipped to spot signs of exploitation, Camilla decided to take action.
To cut a long story short - after a great deal of strategic planning this week we were privileged to serve alongside several other agencies, abolitionists and freedom practitioners in providing training for all final year medics at UHW Cardiff to help them better understand human trafficking / modern slavery and recognise how they can best identify and care for those affected by it. That's right - Camilla has not only succeeded in getting this training on the curriculum at UHW, it is now COMPULSORY for all trainee medics to receive this training as part of their curriculum. As far as we are aware this is the first Medical school in the UK to make such training obligatory. AMAZING!
We just wanted to post this to honour Camilla and all her hard work and also to encourage those of you out there reading this that YOU can be part of making a difference in your sphere of influence too.
Further to the post shared on Wednesday, here is the testimony of another of our Embrace befrienders:
Q. Befriender Interview Questions
A. What made you want to get involved in Embrace?
When I read the flyer about the role I was so excited! I thought this is just the sort of thing I have been looking for. I had been looking at volunteer roles to support women in Cardiff as I really wanted to do something practical to help women but didn’t know how to go about it. Then I spotted the Embrace advert via Twitter and thought yes! What an opportunity! I had no idea if I would be accepted but thought I would pray about it, apply and see if the door opened. The issue of trafficking has been on my mind for some time and the issue is so huge and overwhelming. This project is wonderfully simple in that we can just offer friendship and time to someone, to show them they are loved and cared for. Just doing something small but hopefully making a big difference.
Q. How has the experience been thus far (be honest about the easy and hard bits!)?
A. So far it honestly has been a pleasure to get to know my friend. It has been nice to show her things in Cardiff locally that she didn’t know were there, practise bus routes together, take her for tea and cake and enjoy talking about our shared interest of cooking and shared experience of child birth! It has also been good to help her with things such as attending hospital appointments with her or calling GP or housing when there have been some things she has been worried about. Sometimes conversation can be tricky and some issues we have talked about such as family have brought her to tears and I have felt helpless but honoured that she has shared some things of her past. Currently she is quite low and the last few meetings have been more difficult. It is difficult to offer hope when you do not know what will be able to change about her situation as things rest with the home office and this is causing her a lot of stress.
Q. How do you see that Jesus is using this Befriending relationship for both you and your new friend?
A. This relationship is making me rely on Jesus more and call on him for help. Every time I am driving to meet her I pray Lord what should we do today and ask for wisdom for the right thing for how she is feeling that day. Its amazing that every time He answers that prayer! Also, as my friend is on my mind a lot I am praying for her throughout the day. This friendship is also opening my eyes to others in need in the city. It is changing my attitude and opening my eyes to asylum seekers who are in the city and local services trying to help. I feel perhaps Jesus is asking me what more could I do in the future.
Q. Why would you suggest others to get involved in Embrace?
A. I would say the training is great, the support is great and you are really able to make a great difference to someone by just doing something small. It is a wonderful opportunity to get to know someone who really has absolutely no one they can call on.
Q. What would you like prayer for?
A. I would like prayer for the home office to process my friends application urgently. To call her for second interview and for her to be granted to make Cardiff her home. For a home to be found that is secure for her and located centrally with access to all the services she needs. Prayer for her mental health, for strength, for healing of her mind and body and for her children that they will have peace and a happy life here. That one day she will be able to fulfil her dream of being a nurse.