Compassion Is Never Wasted

October 22, 2011
My daughter, Jessi

My daughter, Jessi

File this under the category “You can never predict what effect your actions will have.”

In Week 9 of The Gentle Savior Bible study, I mention a local newspaper article reporting the arrest of seven women on charges of prostitution. That was the only time in our 11 years in Charlottesville that I can remember the paper printing the photos of prostitutes, so it stood out to me.

I didn’t mention this in the book, but at the time—this was probably 2007—I cut out those photos and took them down to my teenage daughter Jessi’s room. We talked about how sad they looked and how prostitution was far from a glamorous career choice and that they needed our compassion. Jessi wanted to pray for them, so she pinned the photos on her bulletin board.

Fast forward to spring 2011. I was preparing to teach the Week 9 lesson at a sister church, and I remembered the photos. They were still on my daughter’s bulletin board after all these years, even though she was then a junior in college. As I sat on her bed, my brain suddenly made a connection it hadn’t before. At that very moment Jessi was in Washington, DC, interning with Shared Hope International, a group that works to raise awareness of and to end commercial sex trafficking in the U.S. Even now, she wants to continue working with rescue organizations, whether she serves as an employee or a volunteer. Did I mention that I’m very proud of my daughter? She is also a strong advocate for the safety of women on her college campus.

That’s not the end of the story, though. I taped those photos beside some questions about perceptions of prostitution, made copies, and went to Bible study. As the ladies were looking over the handout, one of them exclaimed, “I know her! Actually, I know two of these women.” After I shared the story about my daughter, this woman explained to me that she worked with a local rehabilitation group for women. “Tell your daughter that her prayers were answered for at least two of the women,” she told me. One was a former drug addict, now reformed. The other was mentally incapacitated and being taken advantage of. She is now getting much-needed help.

Back in 2007, I had little idea that showing those photos to my daughter would influence her future interests and passions, but she tells me it did. I also obviously didn’t have much faith that her prayers for those women would be answered, and I certainly never imagined we would ever know the outcome one way or the other.

God keeps reminding me that compassion is never wasted.

5 responses to “Compassion Is Never Wasted”

  1. Meg Bell says:

    Lynn that is such an awesome story! This is the Power of Prayer! Uncle Ray and I are so proud of Jessi too! Sorry I missed the sister-in-law weekend, maybe next year. Love to all…Meg

  2. Pam Laird says:

    Wow Lynn what an awesome reminder that our Heavenly Father not only hears our prayers but answers them. As you already know my story about prayer and how God told me that even when we can not do anything physically due to physical restraints we can always pray! I am anxiously waiting to get your book so a group of us can study it!

  3. Adrianne says:

    This is awesome!

  4. Joe Pauley says:

    Very inspiring!!!!

  5. Tiffany says:

    Loved reading this story. I never cease to be amazed at the many ways in which God is working, even when we don’t realize it. As soon as I read the very first part about you cutting out the pictures and taking them down to Jessi, I made the connection with her internship. I loved reading her articles, you can really see her heart for this area.

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