JoAnne Greinke joined in a missions trip alongside Finding Freedom International last year. As a ministry partner of St. Andrew’s, Finding Freedom International embodies the values set forth by our church – to live a life that reveals God’s goodness to others. “This trip was one of my most profound – not only in how God was working through me but to also witness how God was present in the lives of these precious girls who had been rescued from sex trafficking,” Joanne recalls. “The youngest was 5 years old, the eldest 17. There were 3 sets of sisters, one of them sold by their own mother.”
The most powerful experience for JoAnne came in a single moment in which she felt the full-circle of redemption. “The eldest girl, Gabriela, was graduating to the next chapter of her life after being in the safe house for 6 years. She was on her way to college where she would have safety living with a family from her church. As we sat on the beach, Gabriela shared her love and appreciation for each girl in the safe house with me, all who had become like sisters to her. It was remarkable to see the light of God in her, and how generous and humble she was in sharing Jesus with this newly-formed family. She is living proof of what redemption looks like and how all things are possible when we choose Christ. Her transformation from a life of brokenness, violation, and sexual abuse to become a poised, confident, courageous, loving daughter of God was a testament to this ministry’s success.”
As with so many instances of watching God move, we end up changed in the process as well. “I saw how God has been working on me over the last 3 years. With each missions trip, he invites me to a more familiar place with him and deepens my humble roots within my own faith’s journey,” shares JoAnne. “I have learned that when in the presence of extreme poverty or darkness, my instinct is to alleviate my own discomfort by trying to fix the situation through financial or material solutions. The St. Andrew’s missions team has educated me through how to instead turn to God and His word for solutions.”
Sometimes the most impactful thing we can do for someone is to have a ministry of presence – to pray, listen, and encourage one another. In JoAnne’s willingness to accept a challenging opportunity, she was able to become a more impactful servant. “I am more of a godly woman because of the love, patience, prayer, and guidance of my family here at St. Andrew’s,” she shares. “The glory is all his.”
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