In Sanskrit, The Warrior pose is called Virabhadrasana. The name derives from Virabhadra, a great warrior hero in Indian mythology. Warrior pose is a vigorous yoga posture that demands strength and steadiness. The Warrior pose has three variations. Like many yoga poses, the Warrior series challenges your concentration and increases body awareness. I have been on a “Warrior” journey since my daughter’s trip to Russia.
Summer of 2002, our daughter went with 15 high school classmates to Novosibirsk, in Southwest Siberia. They stayed in a private Dacha for two weeks and hosted orphans who had only lived in a city setting. Little did I know that giving her permission to go on this trip would change the course of my life.
It was an exciting moment when my husband and I met Amanda at Sea-Tac airport. After hugs and goodbyes to her classmates the energy of Amanda’s voice changed. We hadn’t even driven out of the airport parking lot before she said, “Dad, the girls I was with for two weeks don’t get to go to college at seventeen when they leave the orphanage, did you know that? These girls will become prostitutes and you care about sexual abuse, what are you going to do about this?” The demanding attitude of our privileged teenager “set my husband off.”
With intensity and a pointed finger he stated, “I have enough on my plate with my calling to sexual abuse. There is no more I can handle.” Without skipping a beat, Amanda turned her gaze to me and said, “Mom, what are you going to do about this?” I was aware of my quiet and slow breathing. It was a sentence that seared deep and continues to propel and haunt me.
During Amanda’s senior year we began attending conferences and legislative gatherings for the laws to be changed for prostituted women. We became connected with people worldwide who work in various legal and undercover ways to fight for the rights of unprotected women, men and children.
It was a time of research on the Internet that broke my heart. I sat stunned with a heartbeat of sorrow I couldn’t escape. The stories I was reading were realities that had been hidden from me. I would have to shut my computer down and breathe.
A few years later I was at a conference and met a woman in charge of “Late Night Outreach” with New Horizons, a ministry to street kids in Seattle founded in 1978. I was “in”. This was my Warrior’s pose to all that heartache I had been reading about.
I completed the training and signed a commitment to one year of outreach on Friday nights on our city streets. I left our home at 7:30 in the evening to make the 8:10 ferry and got into bed at my daughter’s home in Seattle at 3:30 Saturday morning. It was a life changing experience. I became fierce and invigorated by the harm I saw on the streets. I was beginning to gain a Warrior’s pose of my variation. (My blog when I was on the streets: http://fridaylights.wordpress.com/.) All names were changed for privacy and the city was never named in the blog.
The most important thing I learned is that we are all the same. The outreach was to youth up to age 25 and many of the women were moms. They had the same hopes and dreams for their kids that I did. They had the same desires for themselves that I did too. Many were out of the foster care system where abuse had been rampant. Some were working for college tuition. There was a mom whose husband sent her out for tuition money for private education for their two daughters! She hated being on the streets. Some of the girls were as young as 12! Most had pimps but some were “renegades” who stirred up problems with the pimps and with the girls who were imprisoned by pimps. One thing was universal: all of them had been raped as street workers. All of them. All had been scarred by the violence and degradation. Sometimes they had a tender side that leaked out. Even though their speech was rough and their demeanor often outrageous we met as women in solidarity of our gender. Solidarity of what our Creator had in mind for being a woman. My stance became stronger and my heart more broken.
The second Friday night that I was “on outreach” a young, beautiful Hispanic girl came screaming to our corner where we offered hot drinks, a heater, and gave away mittens, hats, conversation and condoms. “Help”, she screamed as she ran to us. “I’m going to die! Hide me!” I was new at this, right? My supervisor, looked at me and with her powerful voice softly said, “Shield her!” In a split second I thought of my children and husband and shielded her. I had no idea if I was shielding her from bullets, an angry pimp, or an enraged “John”. I just stood in front of her, held my arms out, stood still with active muscles, a pounding heart and a strong stance.
My team leader sized up the gravity of her situation and took her to our van and gave her a phone to call for help. The urgency was palatable and the calmness we displayed was odder than anything I’d ever experienced. I became a believer in deep breathing, alert senses and trust in my heavenly Father. Cars sped by and tires screeched and soon a car stopped and she ran and got in it. We had four more hours to go before returning to our computers to record our contact with “the girls” and pimps we had contact with. Two Fridays down, 46 more to go!
It was an amazing privilege to do what I got to do. This outreach does not even exist today. The trade has gone “underground” with Craig’s list and other sites. Instead of talking with 45 women a night, the numbers became 4 and 5 after major “stings” in our city. Prostitution is almost always a form of human trafficking. It still goes on. Not only in my city, but yours too. If this angers you, you are a Warrior who must find your pose.
Red Tent Living is beginning a new focus on sex trafficking called Red Tent Warriors. What is your “Warrior Pose”? How will you say no to harm that is being done? Will you join with me in the fight with your own unique “Warrior pose?” Which variation will be yours? I trust it will challenge your concentration and increase your body awareness while opening your heart further to God as you learn to breathe deeply on behalf of those who are enslaved worldwide.
Before you learn more about human trafficking and even before you ask the question: How can I help? Ask, will I let the Father of orphans, strangers, and widows take me into the fight? Will I own that my tears are holy and my anger a deep shudder of rage against evil? Will you own the fact you are a holy warrior, a mother to orphans, a friend of strangers and a companion to the widow? If so, it is time to strike more than a pose. It is time to ask God to strengthen your heart, quicken your breath, and prepare your hands for battle. Will you join me in this spiritual war, my Warrior friends?
Becky Allender lives on Bainbridge Island with her loving, wild husband of 36 years. A mother and grandmother, she is quite fond of sunshine, yoga, Hawaiian quilting and creating 17th Century reproduction samplers. A community of praying women, loving Jesus, and the art of gratitude fill her life with goodness. She wonders what she got herself into with Red Tent Living!
Thank you for leading the way today Becky, and for allowing your heart to feel the depth of its outrage years ago when Amanda’s question first drew you into the fight. You have sounded the battle cry for us and I am with you.
You are welcome, Tracy. May there be many ways people realize that they can join the battle. Glad that you had this new vision for Red Tent Living.
Oh, Becky! Thank you. Your words were the words of Jesus to my weary heart this morning: “will you own the fact that you are a holy warrior, a mother to orphans, a friend of strangers and a companion to the widow?” I am reminded…and broken afresh. …and I am most definitely in. Truly, I don’t know how not to be…even in my weariness. Praying for Jesus to strengthen and quicken us all for the battle.
I pray too for your weariness to be transformed for His glory. The A 21 campaign has great ways to begin to see how you can war against this evil.
“…it is time to strike more than a pose.” My heart is pounding!
Pounding is very good and usually what gets me going! Thank you for reading and taking it in to your heart.
“Will you own the fact you are a holy warrior, a mother to orphans, a friend of strangers and a companion to the widow?” Yes. My heart says yes, or course, yes. But I’m not sure how or when or where. My daughter and I watched the MSNBC documentary about sex trafficking last night. She is seventeen and she is angry. We live in Las Vegas. Lord, lead us into the fight.
Awesome, Kelli! You and your daughter are gaining your warrior stance. We all have different timing, strengths and calling. Watching the documentary together is powerful in and of itself. Quite a few of “our girls” would be taken to Vegas by their pimps a few times a year. Especially when things go slow in our city.
Thank you for your passion and your courage Becky! I am with you – passion rising as I type! Joining with you…YES!
Great Ellen, I need you too to keep me in the fight. I have been in a lull and need direction. You will help me! Which is so cool. We all need each other.
Thank you my sweet friend! You are an awesome, fierce warrior, and your passion emboldens the rest of us. Thank you!
You are so welcome Ruth. Thank you for your teaching that gets to the heart of the matter. You wear your warrior stance beautifully.
Heaven yes Becky!! Thank you for your call to action! I am IN and getting my warrior pose on!!! Can’t wait to be with you in a few weeks to talk more about all of this!!
Yep…it will be awesome and such a privilege to sit with those who serve in this battle on the frontlines! I am grateful we will be together.
Thank you for your offering and your courage. I’m striking this pose with you…I love you call for us to join you!
Thank you Mary Jane! I love what you do so masterfully…teaching, calling others to feel through your story and setting the captives free! You amaze me.
Warrior Pose, I like that. Thank you for taking a stand. So glad you wrote your story.
Thank you for praying for me and my teammates during the year on the corner! You were part of the battle.
I have been in for a few years. However, I look for more direction and associations. would love to hear more.
I look forward to hearing more as people write to Red Tent Living Warriors. It will draw forth passion and action! Just what we need.
Hooray. More direction and more associations are exactly what we are excited and committed to building into this website. A 21 campaign is a great place to begin. Googling UNICEF, Salvation Army, and the ministries on my blog when I was on the streets is a great beginning too. Thank you for being “in”!
I hear your call to battle and I am aware of the enormity of it all. As I walked the streets of the Red Light District in Amsterdam with a staff member from the Scarlet Cord offering our hearts to those in the windows who would allow us a few minutes to speak to them, my heart was overwhelmed. Over 300 windows and the child/women knew adult abuse and atrocity, but they were too often 13 or 14, just a child. The deadness in their eyes gripped at me. I came away wondering what I could really do to impact such an enormous environment of degradation and harm. But Becky I hear your call and I join you in the fight.
I do have the humbling honor of praying warfare prayers over, dusting off and hearing tragic and haunting stories of a sweet friend who is fighting the battle for reclamation of those being sex trafficked. She works right on the front line and was able to secure a very young teen just before she was placed in a container to be shipped overseas a few months back. She needs a safe place to dump what she knows and hold it in total confidence and her identity must be kept hidden for her safety and the safety of the team she works with. Maybe that’s a way some of us can stand in the battle for those on the front line.
Thanks for raising your sword and inviting us to follow you into the battle, Becky.
We, too, have been in the battle for women and children, for more than 10 years now; doing outreach in our communities to the women in the “gentlemens clubs.” It began for us with becoming more aware of the battle to be fought. I was told by an older, wiser woman who was a missionary in another country that she “went in, bought a Coke, sat down and smiled alot . . .” and the women would come and pour out their hearts to her. She was right-it works to build relationships and let them know that someone cares about them and their story! My hearts cry is for more people to join in this journey in whatever community they live in.
Deb, I love what you have faithfully doing for 10 years. I would love to hear more about your team, how it began, how you have been received at the clubs and what you have learned from these women who dance and the ones who desire to see them set free. Thank you. Ten years is amazing. I would love to know how your heart stays in the battle for so long.
“Will you own the fact you are a holy warrior, a mother to orphans, a friend of strangers and a companion to the widow?” Yes! Thank you for your inspiring call to action – I love how you responded to your daughter’s call to do something…and you’re still responding.
Thank you Janet! There is more that needs to be done and I have not been in the battle like Deb Van Thiel has. I want to hear more from her and others and see how we all can “show up” for His glory!
Your article inspired me to persevere. I formed a non-profit to mentor girls rescued out of human trafficking using sewing and quilting as an inroad. After 3 years, I ran out of money and had to close the shop in Dec. My husband and I agree we cannot bring these girls into our home. Would love to talk with you. Theresa Howard 419-872-4500
I love that you did what you are good at…sewing and quilting. I wonder if there is a teen center, shop, or a community center where you could sit at a table and be together. I understand the protecting the privacy of your home. We need to “partner” with other ministries and I hope that you are able to do so.
Depending upon which article you read, Toledo ranks #1 – #4 as the highest in the U.S.
The girls I’ve worked weekly with the past 3 1/2 yrs. have been 13-16 yrs. of age. I invested $20,000 in fabrics, 4 sewing machines, ironing stations and cutting stations . . .
not transportable. My vision is to love the girls and teach them how to make anything they want . .. eventually use these skills to make money. We sell items some of them make. I’m curious about your vision and have just recently connected with this website.
I hope I’m not crossing any boundaries to share like this. I’m simply befuddled as to a next step. Theresa Howard
Theresa, the more you write the more amazed I am with your love and service. I will pray that a space, an organization will see the compassion in your investment and see the gold mine you are. Truly. That is horrific about Toledo’s ranking. Given the trucking routes and the near proximity to the Great Lakes…I am horrifically not surprised. I attend International Christian Alliance on Prostitution’s (ICAP) conference at Greenlake, WI every other year and connect with people world wide who minister to trafficked men, women and children. Many do the very same thing you did with sewing stations. We will be meeting May 17-24. If you want to check it out on the Web. I would think that churches in your area would embrace your ministry.
Here is a link to the conference for those that are interested. This is the place where my passion for exploited people was ignighted http://www.icapglobal.org/pdf/ICAP%202014%20Conf%20Web%20Description%20v.2.pdf
Thank you Deb, for posting the ICAP global conference website!!!
May you be blessed mightily for your courageous and faithful steps. I will shakily join you in the Warrior pose.
Becky, you wrote these words several days ago, but I know they will continue to impact, encourage, and challenge people forever, When one comes into the presence, even virtually, of courage and passion such as you express and live, one cannot help but be changed. I have saved your writings over the years, and re-read them when I need to be emboldened. Thank you for allowing your body.soul.spirit to encounter and share awareness of deep brokenness.