Today I'm grateful to give you a few words from my wonderful husband on his introduction to Love146. This was originally written for another publication but I appreciated the realistic experience offered so wanted to post a portion of it here. The plight of those forced into slave labor worldwide compelled him to go back and get his law degree four years ago. The relationship that had been formed with Love146 in New York City back in 2009 carried over and we were so grateful to join their team in 2013, bringing us to Texas.
In the spring of 2009, I embarked on a Southeast Asian Partner Trip with Love146 to investigate the organization’s programs and partnerships. At that time, I served as a pastor at a church in New York City. We wanted to get a closer look at exactly what kind of work Love146 was doing over there.
After seven days of international flights, walking through red light districts, schlepping through slums, visiting partner programs, and attending coalition meetings, I honestly wasn’t that impressed. I was just overwhelmed and tired. And, quite frankly, sad.
For a full seven days I was inundated with rampant exploitation, complex cultures, paralyzing poverty, and systemic corruption. I’m not a particularly optimistic person by nature, so perhaps it’s not surprising that this tour de depravity left me feeling on the downside of depressed and irritatingly listless.
But on the last day of the trip we visited Manila to celebrate the grand opening of Love146’s new flagship aftercare facility, the “Round Home.” Sitting there in a folding chair on the perfectly manicured front lawn, everything changed.
Against the dour backdrop of brokenness sat a beautifully colorful house. Well, not just a house, actually – a home. Children ran around freely. They played, laughed, and sang. They were animated by things I hadn’t felt or seen in well over a week: healing, restoration, hope, joy – and even worship. It was actually their worship that surprised me the most.
Toward the end of the opening ceremony, Dr. Gundelina Velasco - with her uniquely quiet and unassuming gravitas – announced that the girls had prepared a dance. She told us they’d chosen an accompanying song and felt particularly excited to share it with the guests. I don’t remember the details exactly, but the music was some Christian worship song popular at the time. The dance was perfectly childlike – an elegant amalgamation of clumsiness, grace, silliness, and serenity.
I was visiting as a pastor and supporter of this work, but hadn’t felt able or impelled to worship since leaving New York. But there they were – children who had experienced the devastating realities that I had just seen and heard about – worshipping. Given the spiritual coldness I felt during that week prior, their exhibition elicited in my heart a simultaneous sense of deep conviction and remarkable freedom.
That night, I came to appreciate the thoughtfulness, sensitivity, and consideration that went into Love146 Survivor Care. Providing space and care capable of helping children transition from acute trauma to active celebration does not happen casually or haphazardly.
Love146 now serves in the areas of advocacy, volunteer mobilization, and direct service provision. And while the organization executes none of those roles perfectly, it remains fiercely committed to undertaking each of them with the utmost thoughtfulness, foresight, and consideration. There exists an enduring commitment not just to good intentions, but also to significant outcomes. That reality defines the broad culture of our organization as much as it did the care of those children.
Take a few minutes to watch Love146's newest video.