A Letter from the President

Mike Mercer, President/CEO of Compassion First

On more than one occasion in the last year, I have found myself sitting against the wall in one of our aftercare centers just watching it all: the life and vibrance, the flow of the activity and work, the singing and dancing, and the preparations for whatever was next. I tried to take it all in, realizing that it is the actual activity of lives being restored.

I would be reminded that just ten years ago, none of these centers existed. Further, there was not anything like it in Indonesia. From each of those moments, I came away feeling overwhelmingly humbled to have any part in it. I am humbled by our staff, by our supporters, and by those who we serve with everything we have to give.

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Operational Update

Valerie Bellamy, Director of Operations

Some seasons in life seem long and laborious; others make you sprint to keep up. 2019 was one of those years, with so many milestones, lessons learned, and reasons to celebrate.

With Sarah’s House filling to capacity in North Sulawesi and Grace House taking in its first child in East Java, we are caring for more girls than ever before and are making room for more.

Walking life’s twisty path with the cemetery community continues to be a sacred privilege. Sprinkled through the bustle of daily life, we welcomed babies, celebrated high school graduates, cheered a hard-working teen on to college, and said some really hard goodbyes.

Life is sacred in all its seasons and forms, and we did a lot of it together last year. I can’t wait to do a lot more.

Only because of Jesus, all because of love.

 

 

Valerie Bellamy
Director of Operations

Sarah’s House

Sarah’s House reached capacity this year and then some, making a transition home a necessary reality. The transition home opened in 2020 and is a safe, familial environment that helps survivors transition towards independence and reintegration into the community. Having this home also opens space for girls that have been recently rescued to live at Sarah’s House.

The police are vigorously investigating and breaking up new online trafficking rings and continuing to partner with Compassion First. Fourteen girls made Sarah’s House bustle with life as they eagerly worked on their goals, participated in activities, played sports, and attended classes. Outside of studying, the girls at Sarah’s house enjoyed painting, playing guitar, singing, basketball, knitting, and watching Korean TV. Life, laughter, and hopes for the future were solidified in 2019 at Sarah’s House.

Grace House

This was the year that we saw our hopes and prayers realized as government permits were granted, and we opened the doors of Grace House! With hearts full of love and expectation, the first resident came home. She quickly brought life and joy to all we had been planning for her, and for those to follow. The first holidays were celebrated together with BBQs, cookie making, movie nights, and roasted marshmallows making the season extra special with new traditions for years to come.

She is quiet and soft-spoken, though timid at first, she warms up mid-conversation. Her sweet demeanor masks the deep strength that has helped her make some very brave decisions regarding her future. Eager to learn and engage, she is a delight to have as our first resident! She is the answer to our prayers, and we, she told us, are the answer to hers.

 

Yellow Flower Cemetery Community

We celebrated three of our first sponsored kids graduating high school, with one continuing on to college! With the challenges these kids have faced growing up in this environment, finishing high school often falls to the lowest priority. We are so proud of the hard work and perseverance of these graduates: Rico, Ihksan, and Stevanie!

The community centers saw a host of new creative and artistic programs with our new Program Coordinator who helped kids identify and grow in their talents through private voice lessons, classical guitar, creative writing, and drawing classes.

 

 

Stevanie is the first college bound graduate from the Yellow Flower Community and we could not be more proud of her! Stevanie graduated from a vocational high school, she is continuing on to college for her accounting degree. Though there were setbacks along the way, Stevanie’s resilient spirit helped her focus on her strengths and the positive things in her life, allowing her to achieve her goal of attending college. You will find her smiling and laughing most of the time, but she is also a hard worker, holding down a full-time job to help with daily expenses while pursuing her higher education. Congratulations Stevanie, we are cheering you on!

 

In 2019 we lost two beautiful souls from the Yellow Flower Community: Sarah and Imelda.

Sarah was a strong woman who faced life’s most difficult challenges with grace and perseverance. She had a long battle with illness that she fought until the end. Her children, brothers, and mother have walked with her through this and carry on her legacy of care and resilience.

Imelda, with a sweet spirit and broad smile, eagerly became fast friends with us. She was a part of the Yellow Flower Collection team and learned how to sew. She also worked cleaning the church she attended, willingly attributing all the beauty in her life to God. She lived courageously in spite of life’s hardships and was not calloused by them. She is survived by her son, the kindest young boy. She is resting peacefully in the loving arms of her beloved Savior, but her presence and memory are still felt by those who knew her well.

2019 Financials

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