I enjoy reading the National Geographic, for its reporting of peculiar and often unknown happenings around the globe. Specifically, when it comes to unique culture.
So, this particular article drew my attention, Far From Home (Jan. 2014). It reports the Arab Gulf states is a hub for “guest workers” – and specifically, Dubai. Guest workers are foreign laborers, mainly with the intent to support their own families ‘back home’…such as India, Vietnam, the Philippines…to name only a few.
So, the name “guest” worker seems a curious label.
While the Arab Gulf may draw a vast population of these workers, we must not overlook those who make their way right next door. The ease of travel has increased over the decades, thus, many from impoverished parts of the world look to the wealthier countries to help their families for a better life. The demand for nannies, domestic servants, manicure services, cruise ship tours and other are just a handful of opportunities bringing these workers to our borders.
But, at a huge cost…with it comes the breakdown in family structure and values. Some start second families while abroad. Others risk physical and verbal abuse. Isolation, becoming victim to the employer’s whim. While others are pressed into human trafficking.
Out of desperation, is this their only hope?
By no mere coincidence, the same evening after reading this article, I attended a Perspectives class. The topic covered examples for Unleashing the Gospel, in ways not particularly seen. The instructor, Miriam Adeney, gave life accounts from around the globe where Hope was truly taking root. Included, was a very timely story.
The story of Chelsea…a maid.
Chelsea, like many before her, left home to find work to help her family. Eventually, finding employment with a very wealthy family, she quickly learned how confined her position would be as their personal maid. Weeks turned to months which left Chelsea struggling. She was not trusted to use the phone, stay in the home alone, nor go outside the home. Yet, there were a few times she would have encounters with other maids in the neighboring wealthy homes.
One maid in particular challenged Chelsea. This girl had something Chelsea didn’t. A strong believing faith in the living God. As Chelsea learned more about her friend’s growing faith, she, too, began to take her own relationship with Jesus more seriously. This developed into earning greater trust and position with her employer. Because Chelsea grew more in love with her Savior, her love and respect grew stronger for those she worked for. Over time, the restrictions began to soften into a deeper trust of this maid.
Chelsea’s story is important, because, even though many of these guest workers are risking everything to provide for their families far away – they are also bringing Hope of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to a part of the world difficult to reach.
Sadly, some are abused and others are trafficked. This is a tragic reality where Chelsea has become a beacon of encouragement and wisdom for those working in such harsh conditions. Read more of her story and others in the newly published book, Wealth, Women & God by Miriam Adeney and Sadiri Joy Tira.
Meanwhile, continue to pray and become aware of the issues of trafficking and oppression of those most vulnerable, along with those who are sharing the Good News of the Gospel where it has yet to be spoken.
This sight also supports Starfish Project. Click on the link to learn more of how exploited women find hope and a future through these precious gems. Thank you for taking the time.
How does the “guest worker” story affect you? Share in the Comments.