//Lana Vasquez, Thailand
On any given day, you could find Joy* running barefoot on the streets of a small border town in Thailand. She spent her time digging in the trash looking for recyclables to sell or begging in front of the local stores with her two-year-old sister on her hip.
If at the end of the day she didn’t bring enough money home for her parents to drink and gamble away, this little nine-year-old would be beaten.
“Their number-one thing is that they now KNOW Jesus.”
Because Joy was getting older and had two younger sisters who could beg, her mother thought it would be more profitable to sell her to the traffickers. So Joy was sold for $16 and was to be taken to Bangkok to be used for slave labor and child prostitution.
Miraculously, Lana Vasquez, a 2000 graduate of RHEMA Bible Training Center, found out about Joy’s situation just in time. The little girl’s mother only wanted money. So Lana, with Joy clinging to her leg, negotiated for a few hours. When the traffickers arrived to pick her up, they were too late. Lana pulled away with a relieved Joy, whom she was able to purchase for $24. Another life rescued!
|Pray for at-risk and exploited children and adults on the Thailand-Burma border and in Burma. “Pray for their intervention and protection, and that we would always be in the right place at the right time intervening on their behalf,” Lana said. “Pray for complete healing in their soul and body, and that their hearts would be open when they come into our programs to quickly receive Jesus and start a new life.” |
|Pray for the Life Impact staff and missionaries. “Pray for their protection and for wisdom and utterance in how to teach and raise children coming from these horrific circumstances,” Lana said.|
|Pray for favor with the governments and those in authority.|
|Pray for the finances of Life Impact. “We never want to turn an at-risk child or adult away for lack of finances,” Lana said.|
|To learn more about Life Impact International, visit www.LifeImpactIntl.org.|
Stories like this aren’t rare for Lana and Life Impact International, the ministry she started in 2008. Lana and her team have rescued more than 100 children and helped countless families through two safe homes (one for babies, another for children), an emergency shelter and vocational training center, a university home for boys, and an orphanage.
“We are in a major hub of drug and baby trafficking and child prostitution,” Lana said. “We are in an axis of evil on the border where we are strategically placed. The heart of our ministry is to care for at-risk children—spirit, soul, and body— by bringing them into a home and environment where they will be loved, healed, kept safe, and allowed to be kids again. Our desire is to create homes where they can leave the memories of war, exploitation, and abuse behind them and enter into a new life with God.
“We want them to enjoy a life where they can be all God has created them to be,” she added, “a life they wouldn’t have otherwise, where they are free to play and dream—a life where faith replaces fear, and laughter replaces tears and bloodshed.”
As Lana prepared to move to Thailand, the Lord gave her verses from Psalm 127: “Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, The fruit of the womb is a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, So are the children of one’s youth. Happy is the man who has his quiver full of them; They shall not be ashamed, But shall speak with their enemies in the gate” (vv. 3–5 NKJV).
Through these verses the Lord showed Lana that she would not only rescue children from the streets, but she would train them to reach their nation with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
“These are kids who have been abused, sold, and used for child slavery,” Lana said. “They are treasures in darkness. The enemy has tried to destroy their lives, but we are raising them up to be an army to reach these Muslim, Hindu, and Buddhist nations for the Lord. They are the ones preaching the Gospel and seeing salvations, healings, and miracles!”
Considering the life many of these children have come from, one would believe they would be the most thankful for safety and food. And they are truly thankful for those things. But they are much more grateful for something else.
“Their number-one thing is that they now know Jesus,” Lana said with a smile on her face and tears in her eyes. “They say, ‘We didn’t know Him before, and we now know Him. God lives here with us. Jesus is here with us.’”
‘We Believe in This Jesus’
Lana and her team minister to more than hurting children and families. God has opened doors for her to minister to the Taliban and other military groups. In one situation, she was asked to speak to a secret rebel army. Her audience was American-hating, Christian-killing, women-raping, child-kidnapping soldiers. But she, an American Christian woman working to save children from kidnappers, was invited to speak by the army’s general.
“The Lord gave me a word,” she recalled. “He said, ‘You are tormented at night from everything that you have done and from all of your sins. Because of the rape and the murder, you cannot sleep at night. You see the blood on your hands. The blood of Jesus is more powerful to wash away any blood on your hands. For once you will have peace and you will be forgiven for all of your sins. The pure, sinless blood will wash away that blood that is on your hands.’
‘We BELIEVE in this Jesus. He is the one that HEALED me.’
“One hundred and fifty Christian-killing, rapist soldiers raised their hands right there with their weapons in their other hand and received Jesus that night,” Lana said. “The wife of the general came up and grabbed the microphone. She said, ‘I couldn’t bend over because of pain in my back. This Jesus you talked about healed me.’ She showed all the soldiers how she could now bend over. Then she said, ‘We believe in this Jesus. He is the one that healed me.’”
The general told Lana, “I know that what we do is very dark, but we are soldiers. You brought a message of hope. For the first time I have felt hope.”
Bringing hope is one of the main goals of Life Impact, and they have brought hope to thousands in Southeast Asia.
“We have seen about 40,000 saved,” Lana said. “We have gone into war zones where the people will face eternity tomorrow. God has given us doors to preach the Gospel and connected us at the right place at the right time. The greatest reward is being in the perfect will of God, knowing that you’re right in step with His heartbeat for your life and fulfilling His will for you.”
*Joy’s name has been changed for her safety