Use What You Have, Where You Are
When some stories are told, we laugh, have a good time, and walk away no worse or better for telling it. Other times, we hear a story, and it lingers on the soul. Something strikes our spirit and we know that, somehow, we have heard something deeply true from our Creator.
Dianna Bautista’s story struck me in that way. Just to hear the passion in her voice and her anger at the state of the world was enough to want me to jump right in with her mission. I hope by the end of this blog and the accompanying podcast, you will be too.
Her heart for the voiceless women trapped in the sex trafficking industry has led to a lifetime of daily surrendering her gifts and talents to Jesus. Those gifts and talents just happen to be hairdressing.
A Staggering Problem
By conservative estimates, at least 45 million people in the world have been trafficked into the sex industry. For many women in developing countries, selling their bodies for money is the only means by which they can support their families. To make a shocking statistic even more staggering, many of these women were also sexually abused, exploited, molested, or sold into the industry as a means of paying debts. Still worse is the culturally accepted nature of sex trafficking amongst men in these countries.
Yet, the world has allowed this cycle of worthlessness and hopelessness that leads to a need for fulfillment in the sex industry.
There are approximately 2.1 billion people professing Christianity globally. We have the hope of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. We know that there is freedom in forgiveness. Of those 2.1 billion, how many of us have thought about a sister in another country being broken at the hands of broken people. For them, there is no hope.
Until people like Dianna step in, refusing to allow sex trafficking to continue.
How can a hairdresser change the world?
Dianna has been dressing hair since she was five. Her whole life was spent with the knowledge that she wanted to grow up to be a hairdresser. It wasn’t until a mission trip to Africa that she realized that specialized skill could have a global impact.
Now, Dianna runs a cosmetology school out of Thailand designed to teach vocational skills to women vulnerable to the sex industry, or who have escaped sex trafficking. By teaching women how to cut hair, Dianna and her team at Shear Love International are giving women a practical means of escape, but also the spiritual and emotional support they need as they exit a season of life filled with fear, shame and suffering.
Finding a Bigger Purpose
Shear Love International is about more than taking women off the street and giving them a pair of scissors. In Dianna’s words, their ultimate mission is to “teach life lessons as we do hair.”
Dianna’s purpose is to use her skills as a hairdresser and her calling as a Christian to not only teach practical skills, but also repair a lifetime of damage—emotional, physical, spiritual—through daily devotions and unconditional love and support. Dianna mentioned her greatest strength was actually her ability to be strong for her women coming out of poverty, brokenness, and shame! I was inspired by her passion to end sex trafficking and to free women from abuse and shame. What a perfect example of someone who has identified the gifts and skills God has given her, and putting them to a globally worthy use.
How can you jump in?
Shear Love International is a NGO, meaning that none of the money raised is for a profit. Salaries for their instructors, tuition and supplies for their students, and any other incidental costs are covered entirely by donations and outside support. I’ve already bought into the mission that Dianna and her team overseas has begun with my own financial support, and a pledge of donations from future sales of my book.
If you believe there is freedom in forgiveness, and want to see an end to sex trafficking, you can go online to shearloveinternational.org to sponsor a student, buy a new set of shears, or help support the salary for a woman while she is completing her education.
Dianna also mentioned a huge needing hairstylists, makeup artists, English teachers, and Counselors to support all of the efforts Shear Love International has going on globally,
Maybe God has also gifted you as a hairdresser? Maybe you’ve been given the ability to apply makeup well, or teach in a way that people just get. You have been given a gift so it can glorify God! Prayerfully consider joining Dianna on this practical, and yet extremely impactful mission in Thailand and across the globe.
For many women, the world has told them only one story: “You are worthless. You are nothing.” Let’s be a part of changing that narrative to, “You are worth everything to Jesus.”
To hear the full story, listen to the Are You Real? Podcast, and hear for yourself the passion Dianna has poured into the lives of her students.