Take Heart Resident Continues Journey of Healing Through Baptism
“My cheeks are hurting. I have never smiled so much.”
That’s what the Take Heart resident who was baptized last week said during the worship service.
Gina Colclazier, Director of Residential Ministries at Hope Center Indy, remembers when she first heard of this young woman. “I was first contacted in the summer of 2021 from a partner in another city regarding her placement here at Hope Center Indy,” said Gina. “She was suffering from parental abuse and the effects of trafficking that began as a child. She was in a very fragile state, both physically and emotionally as many survivors are.”
Recruitment to sex trafficking by family members and romantic partners is all too common. In 2020, the number of victims trafficked by a family member increased from 21% to 31%, and the number of victims trafficked by a romantic partner increased from 22% to 27%. The trauma from sex trafficking is made all the more complex and painful in these circumstances.
“When she arrived,” said Gina. “She would not engage or make eye contact and would barely speak. Like many of the women we see, she carried deep shame and guilt and would often turn the pain inward. When she first came in, she asked that no one touch her. She was filled with anxiety and panic and doubted everything.”
At her baptism, the resident reflected on where she was spiritually when she first arrived at Hope Center Indy.
“After everything that happened to me, I cut off anything that had to do with God. The staff would be like, Let’s pray about it. I would say, No! Then they’d say again, Let’s pray about it, and I’d tell them, Stop saying that we can pray about it! I don’t want to pray about it. It’s stupid, because I don’t believe in that anymore!”
But the staff at Hope Center Indy never gave up on her. They continued to love her and help her heal.
“It takes courage to face your issues and let others in for help. Now we see her walking around with her head held high. She looks at you square in the eyes and regularly asks for hugs from the staff if they forget.”
This resident began asking the Hope Center Indy staff faith-based questions and opening her heart to Jesus. She began reading her bible and praying not just with staff, but also on her own.
Just a few days ago, right before her baptism, this resident held her hands high to praise the Lord.
“This young woman is funny, curious, kind, incredibly gifted as an artist and her joy is infectious,” said Gina. “She is determined. She has goals for her life that we believe she will achieve.”