Today's post is written by former intern, Nikki Mullins, about her experience at Refuge for Women.
Interning for Refuge for Women changed my life. When I began my internship, I knew that I was coming into a ministry that was representative of what I wanted to do with my life. Not every intern who has worked with RFW carries a desire to work in a safe home after their internship, but I had been sure of this for a long time.
Upon preparing for my internship, I had many fears of what could come. As a twenty-two year old, my biggest fear was if these girls would be older than me and how they would react to me wanting to invest in their healing. With all of the emotional wounds that come from being sexually victimized, I knew that there was a chance that these girls could take their emotions out on me.
When I met the girls of Refuge for Women for the first time, my heart sank as I realized that my expectations were completely wrong. These girls were my age. I immediate felt a sense of relief, but it was short-lived. These girls were my age- and they were victims of sex trafficking. Getting to know these girls was way too easy. We had fun, danced together, and played in the rain together. All too often, I would forget why these girls were even there. There were so many personalities and interests that reminded me of myself.
While I was spending time with these girls, a new fear came into my mind: how could I possibly help them? I had never been abused. I had never experienced what they had. It wasn’t till near the end of my internship that I overcame this fear. In a time of need, a girl came to me for advice. As we talked, I felt words coming out of me that I never knew I had. There was an overwhelming sense that God was in control of my conversation that night. That is when I realized that my fears didn’t matter. God didn’t call us to go out and serve broken people only if we felt capable and qualified- He makes us capable.
One other thing that I learned from working at Refuge for Women was that my desire to open a safe home, run a program, counsel the girls, and fundraise the money to do so was completely unrealistic. After working for RFW, I have realized that it takes an army to run such a ministry. I was able to prioritize my pursuit of a counseling degree and my desire to work on a development team. Interning for Refuge for Women really helped me figure out how I can efficiently play a role in the movement to end human trafficking.
Since my internship, I have been working for Refuge for Women on the weekends. It’s amazing how much I am able to apply to the girls in my house because of all that I was taught in my internship. The mentors and friendships that have carried on past my internship is an encouragement. Because of them and all that I have been able to do with RFW, I am a stronger person in my faith and able to find joy in God’s work in my life. I would not trade my internship with RFW for anything.
Interested in interning with Refuge for Women? Find out more here.