Running to Hope | Aye’s Story
Desperately needing to flee her complex situation, Aye* remembered some kind strangers that she had met only one time while she worked on the street. Out of earshot from her pimp, they had promised to help her begin a new life and provide support for her if she dared to run to Eden. Filled with hope, she ran.
Now safely at Eden, our team journeyed with Aye toward healing. Upon entry at Eden, we provide all women with a health check including a HIV, STD, and pregnancy test. At 16, both Aye’s pregnancy and HIV tests were positive. Our staff lovingly walked with her through the deep despair.
After a few weeks of trauma counseling at Eden, she bravely shared her story through tears: Two years earlier, when Aye was fourteen, her mother sold her virginity to repay gambling debts. Aye was then forced to work for a pimp who cared only about money and did not provide Aye with any health protection. Very slowly, she improved and even began the painful process of forgiving her betrayers.
Five months pregnant, she joined our Mother and Child Shelter which is specially equipped for trafficking survivors. As she lived there, Eden staff watched her grow in self-confidence. She eagerly participated in new mother classes, and she also found critical strength and encouragement through a local community of faith. Months later, her son was so eager to meet her that he could not wait until Aye was admitted to hospital but was born safely and without complications on a gurney outside the hospital. The next day, Aye proudly introduced her Eden family to her healthy son.
However, after arriving home, her new baby boy fell very ill. The baby’s birth and sickness triggered Aye’s memories of her own mother’s betrayal. Through her pain and confusion, she didn’t even want to look at her own son. Our work at Eden is often to sit with these women, who have been so unjustly treated, loving receiving their misdirected anger, and being present with them through the pain. Why did we let her have this baby? Why didn't she just die giving birth?
An Eden staff member from the Mother and Child Shelter lived at the hospital while Aye was unable to, faithfully caring for the baby as he hovered between life and death. One day while the same worker prayed for the newborn, she felt his name was supposed to be Ezekiel, and Aye also liked it. In a biblical story, a man named Ezekiel has a dream of dry bones coming to life again. It was a promise of hope. What seemed to be dying and fading away would come back to life again.
“It was a promise of hope. What seemed to be dying and fading away would come back to life again.”
We spoke this promise over him. Still, he continued to lose weight and struggled to breathe, but throughout the month of February, we went on praying for him and hoping. Finally…...doctors deemed Ezekiel strong enough to go home!
One life matters. One staff member, who may never know Ezekiel’s future, stood in the gap, loved him, and prayed for his life. The legacy she leaves is his name. Baby Ezekiel is now thriving, and, with a lot of encouragement and support from Eden staff, Aye’s confidence to care for Ezekiel is improving every day.
Safe shelter with loving support was essential for both Aye and baby Ezekiel’s survival. Through our new Charity Gift Cards, you are able to gift safe shelter along with other essentials such as therapy, vocational training, and education for a child like Ezekiel. It is a simple way for you to help support and empower women like Aye to dream again. Share this post or a Charity Gift Card with a friend today!