Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Heading Home!

As our suitcases are being rolled down the hall right now, I'm typing this final blog post from India.  We're about to get in a car to head to the airport where well catch our first in a series of three airplane rides back home.

jewelry project
our team (minus Jen behind the camera) with the young women of Rescue & Restore Jewelry Project

Our team dynamic has more than exceeded my expectations and each one on the team has served those we came to help with incredible love. Thank you Kelly, Jen & Crissie. You are awesome, and I'd eat carbs & ride in a rickshaw with you in India anytime!

kelly & i in the rickshaw


Check back soon for more info on our jewelry!

Photos by Jen Price

Making beautiful Jewelry = SUCCESS!

Today we worked hard making jewelry side by side with the young women of the Rescue and Restore Shelter jewelry project.  This is our third project and there are six young women we worked with to create new jewelry designs.  Thanks to the creativity of Kelly Jo, we are leaving 9 different earrings for them to make! Woohoooooo!  Can't wait for you to see the earrings.

making jewelry

Can you hear us cheer all the way from India?

Photos by Jen Price

Day 2 in Chennai

As Jen & I made our way by auto rickshaw from the jewelry project to a nearby slum, a young woman came to mind who I met on my last visit to Chennai. Her name is Bhavani. She has two small sons and lives in utter poverty. I wonder what her life story is, and hopefully someday I'll get to know her more. As we drove up to the entrance of the slum, surprisingly Bhavani was walking toward me. She smiled a beautiful smile when I called her name. What a wonderful thing to know her name. Even though she lives tucked inside this destitute place, she is not forgotten, definitely not by me. She kissed my shoulder as we said goodbye.


The slum is not a great place to raise a family. The stories that come from this place are not pretty. A while back an eight year old boy was going around sexually abusing the little neighborhood girls. Finally their mothers went to the mother of the boy to get him to stop. She just laughed, and said that's what boys do. This is not the safest place to raise a child.

standing by bike


I also met Vita, a young girl maybe 15 or 16 years old. She has a baby about a year old now. When I started coming to Chennai four years ago, she was about 11, and I used to give her and the other children of the slum candy. She is a young mother now.

in doorway

We visited a preschool in the slum and spent some time with the kids. They were proud to sing songs for us and loved the treats we brought. Rescue and Restore works every week day to give these kids a place of refuge. They feed them a hot meal before sending them back home. For most of the kids it is their only hot daily meal.

Check back for part 2 of Chennai Day and more jewelry!

Photos by Jen Price

Monday, March 28, 2011

Sitta's Story...Day 1 in Chennai

A blast of hot humid air hit us as we walked out of the Chennai airport last night! Wow, it's hot here.

What a terrific first day we've had, though. This morning we loaded up in two rickshaws and headed to the bulk jewelry supplier to purchase some raw materials to use for jewelry designs for the women to make. The market was dusty, crowded and very HOT. A motorcycle hit me in the leg, but thankfully I squeezed out of the way at the last minute and didn't get crushed.

in a rickshaw

In the afternoon we worked with the young women of Rescue & Restore jewelry making project. This is our third project that's being launched in a home that rescues orphans and young women from the streets.

making jewelry3

Siita's story is one of heinous abuse, but also of intervention. She lives in Rescue & Restore home. While she was growing up, Siita's mother was a prostitute. When she was about 14, as her mother was leaving for Dubai, she gave Sitta to a local pimp. After being terribly abused, the pimp finally took her to the hospital. When she arrived she was barely hanging on to life. At that point the directors of Rescue & Restore were called by the psychologist at the hospital who knew them. They were asked to come and take her to their home because she was all alone and at great risk for her life. Now, several years later, Sitta lives at Rescue & Restore home and she has started working in our jewelry making project. Today it was wonderful to see her smiling and making beautiful jewelry with the other young women! Her dream is to one day be a lawyer & fight for the rights of young women who've been exploited & abused.

Hope's Gate exists to give hope to orphans, victims of human trafficking and the most vulnerable. It's our dream to help young women like Siita achieve their dreams & have hope for the future!

Check back tomorrow for day 2 at Rescue & Restore jewelry project....

Sunday, March 27, 2011

In Transit

Tonight we fly to Chennai to work on the development of a third jewelry project! Tomorrow we'll be working with some young women on jewelry making techniques and purchasing some supplies. Check back tomorrow for more.....


Photo by Jen Price

Jewelry Project: day of training at Rescue House

28 hands twisting, shaping, clipping. The young women of Rescue House crowded around a small table as our team worked with them to master the basic jewelry making techniques they need to know in order to create beautiful jewelry. All 14 young women, ranging in age from 18 to 21, have been rescued by the police from a life of sexual slavery. When I first met them, almost two years ago, their stories gripped my heart. I remember weeping long and hard as they sang the hymn "Because He lives, I can face tomorrow". What struck me today was how much they have changed in the past two years. Two years ago they seemed a little tougher. Today they are softer, more tender, even joyful. It's obvious something beautiful is happening deep inside their hearts and lives. They are being changed from the inside out. Healing has come.

making jewelry7

We taught them how to make a new earring design, and I am bringing back 39 pairs of fresh water pearl earrings they made today for you to buy! Please let me know if you are interested in purchasing a pair or two.

making jewelry5

handful of earrings

At the end of our time we celebrated three of the young ladies birthdays. We sang, they blew out their candles, and then all the others started yelling, "kneel down, kneel down!" In their home they have a tradition to pray for each birthday girl and the girl must kneel down in the middle and they surround her. What a privilege it was to join in the celebration. We felt like family. After the party we offered to give the girls a manicure. They selected a color, we washed their hands, and then painted all of their nails.

painting nails

Earlier in the day we visited with the directors of Rescue House and they helped us understand in a clearer way what good timing this jewelry project is for these young women. Over the next three years they all have to transition to living on their own outside of the safe house. By making jewelry they will earn an income and that income will help them begin a life on their own and also achieve the dreams they have for the future.

That is just what Hope's Gate is all about: hope for orphans, victims of human trafficking and the most vulnerable. Giving them a way to have hope is our goal! Please keep praying for each step along the way, and for their lives to be changed forever!

From India,


Photos by Jen Price

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Thoughts on being in India from Jen

Thirteen years ago I came to India. After that trip, I never wanted to come back. Everything about it was tough. Being here a second time, I've had the time to reflect on the differences. During this reflection, I've realized that my heart has totally changed toward this beautiful, crazy country.

During our time here we've visited a brothel, the area where the street kids live, the children's homes who have rescued these kids, and the various jewelry projects. You can't understand the impact these children's homes and jewelry projects are having without seeing the other two places.

praying and talking

singing kids

We started a new jewelry project the other day with some ladies. They had such a joy as they learned to make earrings for the first time. Later we heard their stories. Many of them had been rescued off the streets when they were young children and had been living in the home for eleven years or more.

One girl in particular caught my attention. Maybe it was her love for art. Maybe it was her sweet spirit. She shared with us that one day she wanted to start an orphanage, so she could help kids. I was amazed as my mind flashed back to the street kids and the girls in the brothel. That street kid was her and those girls in the brothel could have been her, but she was rescued and now she is learning to make jewelry, so she can earn an income and attain her dreams.

girl & painting

The number of street kids and prostitutes in this country are overwhelming. You can easily get lost in the numbers and start to feel a sense of hopelessness. BUT there is hope! There's hope in Jesus. We do our part one by one, and God is faithful. One child rescued from life on the streets, one girl saved from the slavery of prostitution leads to tens, to thousands of kids with a hope and a future. Let's all do our part and start with the one and see God change destinies...

Check out my blog at!
Photos by Jen Price

Friday, March 25, 2011

Launch of a NEW Jewelry Project for Young Women Rescued from the Streets

Today was an incredibly exciting day! We launched a new jewelry making project for a group of young women who were rescued from the streets when they were very young. They have grown up in a Childrens' home, but they are reaching the age that they must find a way to earn a living in order to transition into a healthy life out on their own. This project gives them a way to begin earning fair wages in a very safe environment.

kelly teaching2

shaping metal

making jewelry4

Kelly Jo did an amazing job teaching them basic earring making skills. She was patient and persistent in showing them exactly how to make a perfect loop. After about an hour and a half we were surprised to see about 46 pairs of earrings completed. They were so proud of their accomplishment! Kelly Jo, you are a gift from God to these beautiful young ladies. Thank you for your labor of love!
Photos by Jen Price

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Rescue Children & They are SAFE

Tonight I heard some beautiful music. Now all the notes weren't in the right key, but it was beautiful because of what the notes represent. They represent peace, safety, joy, life and FREEDOM. After leaving the red light district we made our way to Hope of Glory Childrens' home.

Little Meriamal grew up in the very brothel we visited earlier today, but was rescued and came to live in this home when she was very small. Today she is 6 years old, she's going to school, and she is safe. If she had stayed in the brothel, she would end up growing up a prostitute like her mother, but her mom chose love and is allowing her to grow up away from that place. Children who live in the brothel are often druged or given alcohol to make them sleep while their mother works, but they see and hear everything, and they are sexually abused as well. Tonight I celebrate--Meriamal is safe!


There are 30 other children in the HOGF home, and each one has a story. Some were street children, some orphans, and some came from the red light area, but now all have hope for a different future.


So grateful tonight to see beauty in the midst of the darkness. Enjoy this little clip from our time, and a few pictures! Check back later for a report from Thursday...launching a new jewelry making project for young women who grew up on the streets!

Photos by Jen Price

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The Brothel-Wednesday Part 2

My heart thudded in my chest as we walked up the narrow dark stairway leading into the brothel. At the top of the stairs we turned into a small room where several women sat, just waking up from work the night before. Boxes of condoms lined the wall by the door. They welcomed us in, and took the gift of lunch we brought. We sat down on 2 dirty straw mats they put down on the old wooden floor. Wadded up clothes and dirty dishes crowded the already small space. Looking around the tiny room, I noticed the girls hesitated to look us in the eye. They wore shame like a heavy blanket, but we came in and sat beside them. I reached over and put my hands on the arm of the girl beside me. It took some time, but slowly she let her guard down.
on shelves

As Crissie started to share from the Bible, more girls came in the room. They sat down in a circle, at their lunch and listened. She told them of God's love, how we are all unclean but Jesus can live inside us and take away our shame.

The reality of the situation, of what really goes on in this place hit hard when two of the women jumped up all of a sudden and left the room. We asked where they were going, only to find out that a client had come up the stairs.

We met two sisters Priti and Sanju. Priti is extremely beautiful. She asked us to pray for her. This life is hard. She is having to work extra hours to help pay for a third sister's wedding. We prayed and cried. We asked our guide how these women end up here. He said no girls choose this life. They are either sold by family members or they are tricked into coming to the city from villages on the promise of marriage only to be auctioned off to the highest bidder. Then their life of prostitution begins. They can never leave till their debt is paid off, and that never happens, because they are forced to pay interest. They are slaves for the rest of their lives.
praying together color

At the end of our time one of the girls thanked us for coming. She wanted us to know it made them feel special that we would come all this way to see them.
As we got ready to head back down the stairs, I wasn't prepared for the young girl who came down from upstairs and reached out her hands in the darkness. She had a desperate look on her face. I reached out & touched her and started to pray for God's peace, His joy, His presence in her life, for freedom, for Him to be with her when she was lonely. She clung to my hands and was weeping as I prayed. She was so tenderhearted, and so young. I am guessing she was about 16.
praying hands1

It's hard to even type these words, and tears are close as I think of where she is today. I don't even know her name, but the Lord does. Lord, set her free. Change her life.

The girls asked if we would come again and bring nail polish so we can do nails together. I told them I will be back later this fall and I would bring some polish with me. They smiled.

Check back later today for Wednesday Part 3 & pray for freedom for the girls we met today and that they would know the love of God.
Photos by Jen Price

Life on the Streets-Wednesday Part 1

washing clothes color
streets color
This afternoon we visited families living on the streets. Life is harsh for them. We met a group of young women who live alone & unprotected in this rough part of town. Their stories are shocking, heart wrenching, frustrating. These two young women are picked up regularly by a local gang and raped, and they can't do anything about it. If they fight back, they know they will be killed by the gang. They each have several children now, but still they live alone with their little ones. Their faces are old, but they are young, maybe 18 or 20. In the eyes of their children I see no hope for the future.
kid1 color
What can we do? Lord, how can this change? You are the only hope. Show us the way.

After spending time with these families the four of us loaded up in the car and headed into the Red Light Area with our guide. Check back later today for a glimpse into our visit with a group of young women in the brothel. It was an amazing time.
Photos by Jen Price

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

First Day...We made it to India

leaving for india
Early this morning we pulled in to our hotel in India, a little road weary, but very excited for what's ahead this week. In the afternoon we got out to pick up some supplies and also to catch some glimpses of the city and the people who live here. We met a little boy who lives on the street with his family. Even at the age of 5 or so his teeth are rotted out in the front. It was fun to get down at his level and look him in the eye and talk for a few minutes. I wonder if anyone has taken time lately to show him he's valuable.
handing out gum
chewing gum
We all had to pile in one rickshaw when Jen & Kelly's rickshaw ran out of gas. Here's a fun clip from inside our ride!

Tomorrow is a big day. We're heading out again to meet some families who live on the streets, to the Red Light District, and to HOGF children's home. We'd appreciate your prayers as we go!
Check back tomorrow for more.
Photos by Jen Price

Saturday, March 19, 2011

A sneak peek of what's to come & note of thanks!

Take a sneak peek at some of the jewelry that the young women in our projects are making!
Join us as we leave for India tomorrow, Sunday March 20th, by following our blog.

A big thank you to everyone who donated, to New Hope Christian, to Streams of Mercy (, to Yogurtville & Saxby's in Murphy, Texas for supporting our project and helping us in our fundraising efforts. This project would not be possible without you!

Our team of four flies out tomorrow afternoon, and we'd appreciate your prayers!


Thursday, March 10, 2011

Preparing to go...

having fun
making jewelry2
Three of us took a jewelry making class the other night to better prepare ourselves to work with the jewelry project in India. It was great to get a better handle on jewelry making techniques and a lot of fun to twist, hammer and snip our way through the evening. Kelly, the jewelry making pro, was in her element! So glad she's part of our team.
photos by Jen Price

Monday, March 7, 2011

Coffee, Henna & "Fun"draiser...

painting henna
With less than two weeks to go until our team of four leaves for India, as a team we're working together to see all of our funds come in to cover the expenses for the trip. Friday night we had our first event at Saxbys. What a great evening where friends dropped by, sipped coffee, browsed our display and had henna applied by Kelly Jo.
hope's gate

If you'd like to donate to our project, check out the donate section on the blog or contact Patty at

Stay tuned for more opportunities to support our trip in the Wylie area!
Photos by Jen Price

Follow our blog as we leave for India March 20th!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Making Jewelry, Giving Hope

In November of this past year Hope's Gate started the first jewelry making project at Project Rescue Women's shelter which is home to 19 rescued young women. The young women have heartbreaking life stories, but also stories of hope.

When Teena was 12 years old, she wanted to be a doctor. She was the middle child of three kids. Her uncle had a terrible gambling debt, so one day he asked her parents if he could take Teena to a carnival, but instead he sold her for $250 to a pimp to repay the debt he owed. When her uncle returned without her, he told her parents that she ran away. After several years of sexual exploitation she was finally rescued and made her way back home. When she arrived at the door of her house, her parents finally learned the truth of what happened to her, but instead of embracing her, they rejected her because of shame. Today Teena lives at Project Rescue Shelter in India. Our project is making a practical difference in these women's lives. It's giving them hope for the future. It's giving them dignity.

While in India our team of four will be working on the development of the project by teaching jewelry making techniques to the women, and taking photographs and videos that will share the women's stories. We will also be in the red light area of the city visiting and praying with our friends there. We will be working in several orphanages, as well, to see how we can make a difference in the lives of orphans and children at risk of exploitation. We will also be working on the development of two other jewelry making projects.

For this next phase of our project we currently need $3500. Would you consider donating to make a difference in the lives of these young women and children?
Click on the donate button above for information on how to give.

And join us on this journey to India March 20th by following our blog!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

We Have A Jewelry Project In India!

Many of you know about the desire I've had to start a jewelry making project in India to help women who've been rescued from a life of sexual exploitation.
Well, I am happy to say while there, the first project was started! This project will give young women jobs, give them an income with dignity, and help them transition back into society in a healthy way. The young women of Project Rescue begin making jewelry today (Friday). All the young women in this home have been rescued from sexual slavery, and have lived in this rescue home for several years.
Stay tuned for ways you can be involved in purchasing jewelry to support this project in the near future!

Jewelry Project Happenings

Friday afternoon we met with a wonderful couple and discussed some possible options for the jewelry project here in Pune to help young women at risk! As you can see our team got down and looked at some jewelry options, as well.

It's been encouraging to see the momentum build for this project.

Monday we have our final meeting with an organization that rescues women out of prostitution. We are meeting with them to see if our project can offer some young women jobs making jewelry instead of living a life of prostitution.

Please keep praying with us for the Lord's help. It's more than obvious how much we need Him to see this vision become a reality. A friend recently said "if this was easy, everyone would be starting a project like this". Easy - not by a long shot. Worthwhile, you bet!

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