We have all experienced things that feel too big and too heavy to communicate. After a trip to Indonesia this week, my words feel more important than ever before as I write to tell you the story of our journey to open a new shelter in East Java, Indonesia. God is moving, breathing life into dead things, growing a beautiful, organic picture of Himself, and He is inviting all of us into this wild adventure.
From day one, we walked into a cemetery filled with prostitutes and their families simply to make friends, learn names, and hug and kiss everyone in sight. Slowly, friendships were built, and women who once looked down at the ground looked up into our eyes and smiled. They know why we are there; it’s not to tell them to change, it’s not to hand out food and clothing, it’s to know them and love them.
The ministry has grown into two bustling community centers with classes and activities for women and children, as well as a child sponsorship program. Our child sponsorship program in the cemetery is very young, it started a little over a year ago. There are currently 28 children in the program, and a few more are added every couple of months. Children in this program are the most vulnerable in the community; unable to afford school, often without parents, or in a broken family. The boys are often exposed to drug dealing at a young age, and the young girls are vulnerable to being exploited and sold for sex.
To our knowledge, three young girls in our community have been trafficked in the past six months.
We are struggling to place these girls into aftercare shelters. Our shelter in North Sulawesi is far from their home, and located in a Christian region of the country. East Java is primarily Muslim, and the girls’ families fear their children being Christianized. Also, Sarah’s House is currently at capacity.
We reached out to our supporters over the Christmas season asking to help raise the funds for a new shelter. A team looked at a few properties in East Java during our recent visit, and one of them has the potential to be our new facility. The initial funds for the property are in place, but the ongoing cost of staffing and operations is crucial before we can be up and running, ready for rescued girls.
Thank you for your partnership as we pursue expansion and the restoration of more precious children. We trust the Lord’s provision, as these girls are truly His own, and we are blessed to serve them.
For the Sake of Others,
Kallen Hawkinson, Compassion First Communications Coordinator
Categories: East Java,Updates