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Making Broth for Brothels

International Women’s Day is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. This year’s campaign theme, "Pledge for Parity”, is a call to recognize the gender inequalities that exist globally. IJM Canada’s #PledgeforParity includes a commitment to ending violence against women in the developing world. This blog series is intended to celebrate International Women's Day by sharing empowering messages from women who support IJM’s mission. Read and be inspired to action!

Making Broth For Brothels

Written by: Andrea Shepherd

There I was in the theatre parking lot, bawling my eyes out. The movie was Taken, and it broke every vessel in my heart. The film opened my eyes to the world of endless rape and unimaginable abuse that so many women call "a regular day”.

I came home and couldn’t sleep. My house was too safe, my family too loving and my body was too much the same as these poor women. To sleep soundly felt criminal. At 1:00 a.m., I began googling "help with sex trade” in hopes of finding a way to get involved. Immediately, IJM’s website popped up. I read about the rescues, prosecutions, healing homes and the education offered. I knew I was reading about a very special organization. My husband and I decided we would donate half our income to IJM each year and so that was that.
Oh I wish!!!!
At the time, my husband and his friends had just started a landscaping company and so paycheques were...well for the sake of Derek’s dignity, let’s just say that earlier that month I was also googling "meals on a dime”. No matter how many times I reorganized the budget, I couldn’t find a way to commit to a monthly donation to IJM. I was forced to offer my broken heart to God and wait for Him to give me a plan.

A couple months later I decided to do a fundraiser. As a church employee at the time, I was used to doing fundraisers and was usually able to raise a few hundred dollars. I hoped this fundraiser would generate the same outcome! I love to make soup as it’s easy and cheap, and with trying to raise money for brothels, it only seemed fitting to make "broth”. 24 hours after "Broth For Brothels” was born in a Facebook status plea, I had over a hundred pots of soup to make! I was shocked.
Before I knew it, I set a campaign goal of $4,500 as I read that this was the cost of an entire rescue mission. During the campaign, a lady I had never met wrote asking if she could make a cookbook with my recipes in it. Of course, I complied and God continued to show His power allowing the cookbooks to generate thousands more and counting!

The night the campaign ended, I received a phone call from a girl pledging to give $200 bringing the total funds raised to exactly $4,500.00. Wow!

Little did I know, God was just getting warmed up! Last summer I received an email from a contact at IJM who let me know that an anonymous donor would be matching any funds raised from the #JustAct campaigns from that week until Labour Day. I didn’t think anyone would fancy soup in the summer, so since peaches were in season, I decided to make peach crisps this time. I think it also needs to be stated that these ideas were NOT well planned at all! I literally thought "Mmm….peach crisp!”, and within five minutes my Facebook status was putting the idea out there! God doesn’t wait for the GRAND idea or the MOST organized plan.
It’s not our might nor our power but only by His Spirit breathing life into what we do that produces the fruit! (Pun intended!)

I was delighted the next morning to see a long list of orders, including a private message with a pledge to give $5,000.00 for their crisp! I quickly googled ‘peach crisp recipe’, printed, prayed and packed as many peaches as I could into that pie!

Spontaneity--not always good! This is my mudroom with hard peaches on and soon to be under newspaper. My desperate attempt to ripen them as my team was getting together the next day! Bah!

Around eighty more orders came in and with the much needed help of my friends, we filled the orders and sent just over $11,000 to IJM right before Labour Day!

Three years ago, God broke my heart for a matter that broke His. The beautiful part? He didn’t stop there. Being a part of the solution has given me a hope filled joy - a relief of that very disturbing pit in my stomach. It’s my prayer that even now, ideas are percolating in your mind that you will say "yes” to, and that you can then watch God respond with "Watch this!”

Andrea and her husband Derek live in a small town, Chatham where Andrea stays at home to raise their four children. With a diploma in music, she also teaches violin on the side. She loves her local church and is as involved as her schedule allows her to be.


This blog post is part two of a series in support of International Women's Day.
Read other blog posts in this series:

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