Bethsaida Portalatin: "Women of Grace & Fire" Part Deux

Miss Dosso: So Agenda: Love that is your life, your personal mission statement & The World Race is an organization, Tell us a brief synopsis on what The World Race is about.

Bethsaida: The World Race is based out of Gainesville, Georgia & it’s under Adventures in Missions. Young adults from all over America, travel 11 months to 11 different countries around the world. We work with churches or non-profit organizations in that country. We don’t go in with a western mindset like “here we are to save the day”; we go in & we serve, we partner with the church. We find out what their need is, & meet that. It can range from watching their kids, to preaching sermons. Whatever the need was, we did. My squad, a group of sixty people, which were broken up into smaller teams, went to Dominican Republican, Haiti, Ireland, Moldova, South Africa, Malawi, Philippians, China, Thailand & Malaysia. Then we flew back to America, so that was my World Race! But every squad has different country routes.

Miss Dosso: wow, The World Race indeed!

Why do you think God placed this issue specifically in your heart? Connecting with your childhood, your upbringing, your experiences, why do you feel that He did? Because I mean, after all it all connects & I know with my own personal experiences with sexual molestation, If you choose to accept that God allowed this pain for a reason; everything happens for a reason, you can use it to influence others, you can use to help the other lost and broken souls that are out there! So, why do you feel God placed this issue personally in your heart especially?

Bethsaida: I can’t really think of, as a kid, any experience that would connect, other than when people would ask me what I wanted to do when I grew up, I would just say that I wanted to help people & do music. Those are only two things I ever said I wanted to do. Maybe I am drawn to the women & the girls because I know the  haunting feeling of being alone. When I was coming to know the Lord, I was in a new church, trying out for a Christmas play. I didn't know anyone. I felt so lonely & I never in my life, felt that lonely feeling. I mean, I grew up with friends in high school, people at church, I didn’t know what loneliness was honestly. But, the Lord made me feel that loneliness; it was such a horrible feeling ugh! I hated it. It was almost like I felt the loneliness of the world; I can't even explain it. I remember crying out to God in my heart right there in that pew like “God if you love me, why do I feel like this?” “If I’m your daughter why do I feel so lonely?” “God, if you love me, have someone come up to me” I was just desperate, not even one word came out of my mouth, it was all in my heart! “Have someone say Hi to me” “have someone come up to me & show me that they care about me” No one came up to me that night, nothing. Then, my brother-in-law came down from Connecticut Friday and he said “hey I called you Monday” (that was the night I said that prayer) & I said "Yea? I was at church." Then he said “Yeah, I know you’re mom told me. I called you because I was praying & God told me to stop praying, & call you & tell you that He loves you."

Miss Dosso: *gasps* I’m on the floor! Praise God!

Bethsaida: (chuckles) yeah, so that’s when I was like wow, He’s real & He really loves me? I decided that very moment, I wanted to live my life as a "thank you" to Him, for that love! He heard my prayer, He didn’t have to hear my prayer but He did! He heard me & it was real.  I believe God allowed me to feel that extreme loneliness because now I’m always drawn to the person who’s not in the popular crowd, the person who’s the outcast, I’m more drawn to them.

Miss Dosso: The Underdog!

Bethsaida: Yeah, the underdog. So, I think my insecurity issues, & feelings of loneliness, have drawn me to the brokenness these girls & children face, internally, every single day.  They are dehumanized, & used like items or things & it just breaks my heart, it breaks God’s heart. God is for the lost & He tells us to speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves. To be that voice for the voiceless, and ensure justice for the poor & helpless (Proverbs 31:8-9). That’s our job. That’s what we are called to do! The Holy Spirit just awakening me to how me-minded I was for the first twenty-six years of my life. 

Miss Dosso: Man that was a good answer! Um, I am totally going to go off the wall with this, but I had a “wildcard” question & it was going to be “if you won $20 million dollars in the lottery what would you do with the money” but scratch that! I hear you talking a lot about hearing from God, being in tune with the Holy Spirit & it's hard when you’re a new believer. It’s a good voice so you’re thinking it’s coming from God so you’re like let me follow this prompting. Like when I wanted to go to Baruch College, I was like God wants me in this school! And then to find out you get rejected???

Miss Dosso & Bethsaida: (laughing uncontrollably)

Miss Dosso: Like God, where are you? Was that the spirit or was I being played all along? (laughing) You said The World Race helped you get more in tune with God, please talk more about that.
Bethsaida: Well, I get it screwed up too! Towards the end of The World Race, I thought, I was hearing from God about certain things...but I was totally wrong! I used to struggle a lot with discerning what was God, me, & the enemy...but it’s gotten easier throughout the years. You know, the Word of God says that the sheep know the shepherd’s voice, so we do know God’s voice but I feel the more I think it’s God & I step out, then I realize it wasn’t, I think back & say okay that wasn’t God's voice. For me, it’s more of like a trial & error that makes me realize okay that wasn’t God, which must have been something else or just me. For example, if the spirit is condemning, automatically it’s not the Lord’s voice. If its making you feel less than, or demeaning you, or anything selfish, it’s not God because God is not going to tell us to do something that’s going to glorify ourselves or condemn us cause that’s not our Father. If it’s something that is convicting, then it’s probably the Holy Spirit convicting our hearts but in a gentle way not in a condemning way. Conviction makes us look up, condemnation makes us look inward & down. So, if it is for someone else or for God’s glory & it is aligning with his word, it probably is God’s voice. If it’s for my own satisfaction, it may not be God’s voice. I definitely stepped out to do so many things, had these awesome ideas & I thought they were from God, & they didn’t work out! That’s okay because God sees our heart; He knows that if we are doing these things for His glory & for Him to get the credit then He is not going to be like “How dare you?!”. I believe it pleases God, because it shows that our hearts are open & we want to do something, we want to step out on faith, we want to serve. Now, it’s easier for me to discern His voice than it was last year. Really, it’s just trusting God’s spirit living inside of you. Honestly, there is no "formula". You know, it’s so crazy that God lives inside of us! He dwells within us, His spirit abides in us & that is just amazing! That concept if, we fully grasp it, will give us confidence to step out in faith. When we open our mouth, the word of God says, that He will fill it! It’s just being available that is key. Being available, being open. “God who can I speak to today?” “God, give me divine appointments today” Seek out! 
This morning, when I was going to church, on the bus, I prayed that prayer because the enemy was distracting me hardcore the past two days & I was just like "God, I need to focus & I want a divine appointment today. Help me to refocus, shift my attention back on you, not on myself & give me divine appointment." So, I was on the bus vigilant & available & I noticed this woman on the bus she had a suitcase, & I saw her closing her eyes & I felt the Holy Spirit say “pray for her” “pray for her” So I said okay I’ll pray for her. We get off the bus & I say Excuse me, hi... is there anything that I can pray for you for?"

Miss Dosso: You said that to her?

Bethsaida: yeah

Miss Dosso: wow, Courage!

Bethsaida: Well, I have heard that prompting before & I disobeyed, & it was such a horrible feeling. I don’t want to feel like that ever again; I want to be obedient. I don’t want to feel like "aww man, I should have done this” I don’t want to regret it. Even if I heard wrong & it wasn’t God telling me to pray for her, & she said "no, I don't need prayer pyscho lady"  at least I stepped out, at least I did what I thought God was telling me to do, you know what I mean? She said she had just been diagnosed with kidney stones, so I said "let’s pray for healing!"

Miss Dosso: Praise God! This all happened on the bus?

Bethsaida: On the bus this morning. That’s what I mean about being mission-minded & being available. God will speak. It’s not just about me, me, me. No, say “God who do you want me to share your love with today?” A simple prayer like that & you’ll be amazed at the people that he will put in your path. As you open your mouth, He’ll fill it. It’s not about us! We could look like an idiot or fool, I mean Jesus was naked on the cross for our sins. I struggle with that too “oh, what if I get rejected?” So what?

Miss Dosso: Just do it! (chuckles)

Bethsaida: If I get rejected? You know what? I'd rather be rejected and obedient, than disobedient & feel like crap afterwards.

Miss Dosso: Okay, let’s speak about courage. It’s the topic of the month! Courage. Elaborate what that means to you, how you apply it to your life & what are some applications we can use to apply it to our life?

Bethsaida: Okay, here’s a motto: “If it scares you, do it” I mean, that’s how you kick fear in the butt! By taking it on, you DEFEAT it, it doesn’t defeat you! When I go to Thailand, I am going to face traffickers, I'm going to face bar owners & it becomes dangerous because you’re dealing with people’s income.  Anytime you’re dealing with money, there is potential to be in a dangerous situation. Is it scary? Yeah it is because in the natural you’re like “I don’t know, this may not work out" but my courage comes from what God promised! He promised that He will have angels around me, & He promised that He is going to be with me. He promises me that greater is He who lives in me than he who lives in this world.

Miss Dosso: Halleujah!

Bethsaida: Those are the things He promised me. That’s where my courage comes from. I'm not gonna be scared, I'm not gonna let fear stop me from doing it, because fear is not from God, it’s straight from Satan. So I'm not going to let that spirit of fear stop me from what God has called me to do.  I was laughing on the train the other day because I saw this bag that said “Do one thing that scares you everyday".

Miss Dosso: whoa, that’s a lot...

Bethsaida: yeah but it’s true. If it scares you…

Miss Dosso & Bethsaida: (in unison) Do it!

Bethsaida: Because you don’t want that fear to grip you. Fear holds us back from so many of God’s blessings and promises.

Miss Dosso: yeah & blessing others too! Imagine if you would have been scared to walk up to that woman & pray for her? But you did it! That is very courageous, like seriously!” Nothing but God, Praise God!

So, what’s the next step in Bethsaida’s life? What role do you intend to play in the elimination of Human Sex trafficking? What do you think will change about sex trafficking, over the next five years?

Bethsaida: I have been, & I am going to be sharing at a couple of churches about the issue & how people can support me in prayer & financially. More so, exhorting the church to really wake up & be His hands & feet here. I am not there to save these girls, I can't save them, they have to make a choice. I’m there to be a mouthpiece, I am not the link between them & God, I am not the Savior. I’m there to be a link between them and  Jesus. Thailand is 98% Buddhist so they’ve never even heard of Jesus. 

I just want to be able to love these kids, love these women in hopes that just one will come to know the Lord Jesus & that that seed would fall on fertile soil & that it will produce a harvest a hundred times fold through that life. Through the next couple of years, I think there’s going to be a lot more awareness made. I think there are going to be a lot more organizations that are going to start.  But we need every part doing it’s part. We need the prevention sector doing their part, we need the intervention sector doing their part, the restoration doing their part. I believe that the church needs to rise up with this issue, of modern day slavery, as it’s coined now. What Christine Caine said stuck with me, “not on my watch, this is not going to happen on my watch Lord” I believe that the Holy Spirit is starting to break people’s heart & is calling the Church to look more out than in. In the next five years, there will be a lot more awareness & believers saying "Okay I have had enough of myself now how can I serve others?"

Miss Dosso: Tell us about your upcoming trip to Thailand. How did the opportunity came about? What is Lighthouse In Action?

Bethsaida: When I was in Thailand, on The World Race in April 2011, Emmi was sharing her story of how God saved her from the sex trafficking trade but her best friend was sold into it. Years later, She met her best friend on her death bed, in the hospital, dying of AIDS. Emmi was a believer, so she was able to tell her best friend about Jesus Christ, & she accepted Jesus. From that point on, Emmi said "One more! God I just want one more soul! One more girl who’s saved, one more girl who knows you Lord Jesus." So Lighthouse In Action was birthed with the cry of "one more". I believe that God is still concerned with the One. When I am serving with this organization, for two years, I’ll be helping to facilitate short-term teams, we will be going into the red light nightly, & God also put it in my heart to initiate a children’s program for the children that work at the red light. I have no clue how it’s going to start, but I know that God has burdened me with me these kids so He’s going to have to make the way.

Miss Dosso: One final question, What advice would you give to women & girls who wish to follow in your footsteps?

Bethsaida: Be Faithful in the little. Be faithful in where God puts you. Don’t be so overly ambitious that you forget about the needs around you. As you serve the needs in your area, God, who has given you that burden & that desire to help other people, will fulfill that desire in His perfect timing. Nothing good comes from us, so if we have a desire to help someone or to tell them about Jesus, it’s because God has given it to us. He’s not going to give us something to frustrate us, but He’s going to  fulfill that burden at the right time.  It may not be what we think is the right time, but be faithful in the little, where He has you. I remember years ago when I was nineteen, telling the pastor’s wife “I really want to travel the world and just sing for Jesus & tell everyone about Jesus” & she said "That’s wonderful! But sing to Jesus while you’re washing dishes at your parents house right now."

Miss Dosso: (bursts out in laughter)

Bethsaida: I’m like washing dishes?? I will never forget that. What she was saying was be faithful in this & enjoy this now. Enjoy washing dishes, do it unto the Lord, serve him while you’re washing dishes & He’ll open up the doors. We have this "great woman", "great man of God" mentality  “I want to be like Moses!” “I want to be like Abraham” “I want to be like David” Hello??! They all were in a waiting period for years! Twenty, thirty, forty, how long did Abraham wait for his son, almost like forty years! As humans we just want this right here, right now & God doesn’t work like that, He works in His PERFECT timing. Let us be faithful in the little first & then we can be faithful in the much. 

Miss Dosso: "Faithful over little, ruler over much"