These last few weeks have been a whirlwind of travel checking on our children, staff, partners, and programs that we have in Benin and Liberia, West Africa.
I always come away from these trips more humbled and more motivated! Being face to face with children who have endured incredible abuse and pain at the hands of those who were supposed to protect them puts a fire under me to fight for justice like nothing else. I have found that only through extending mercy and making personal sacrifices is freedom attained for these children. Anything of great worth always costs us something. Whether it’s you as the partners who give and pray sacrificially, or for us as the workers who give up our usual comforts on a regular basis.
A new story embedded in my mind, is a young lady who is sixteen on our sewing program. Her name is Josephine and she had been a slave for five years in Nigeria until she was brought into our program. In our year and a half of having her on our sewing program, she had never shared much with us about her past. We only heard a few details, and knew we should not push to know her full story until she was ready.
A couple weeks ago, to my surprise, she was ready. She opened up about her experience as a slave. She shared details of her torture, hunger, and pain that she endured. As she told her story of survival, her eyes were filled with tears, and at one time she completely broke down in a hard cry. At that point, three ladies, who had come with me on this particular visit, and I gently extended our hands and laid them on her as our own tears began to stream down our faces. I thought she would end her story there, but she did not want to stop. She took a deep breath and continued. We all knew this was a very symbolic moment in her life, and she needed to be able to tell her story. Getting it out somehow was healing to her, and we, as women, were able to validate the pain she had gone through. It was a moving experience.
As she spoke, a powerful thought came to my mind: Josephine and the many others who are being rescued through these efforts are going to be the ones who help eradicate child trafficking in Benin!
In an area where many parents have sold at least one child into slavery, our micro finance program is doing amazingly well. Listening to parents’ testimonies of completely changed lives has been incredible. Beautiful redemption stories are unfolding daily in the five villages where we have been able to completely stop the trafficking of children.
The older children in the orphanages we have graduated from our Relief and Food Program in Liberia continue to thrive through our Greater Opportunity Program. Education and Mentorship through this program is bringing up the next healthy leaders in this country.
On this particular trip to Liberia, our Programs Director, Stefan Lako and a partnering organization, who we will share with you about later, were preparing for a new program we would like to implement in 2017. This program is called “Break the Silence”. It will empower and educate children who are being sexually and physically abused, or in slavery, to be able to get help by calling a hotline.
Thank you for your continued prayers and financial support in these efforts. Josephine and the many other children we are helping have a whole new life because of your giving. Your sacrifice is ensuring their freedom.
You will not want to miss attending one of our two big events coming in November!
The Annual Seattle Gala is November 5th, and Idaho/Oregon Dinner & Auction is November 12th.
Visit our Events page to see more details and to reserve your seat.