Around 2 million children in the Philippines are at-risk of exploitation. (Story and cover image courtesy EFCA ReachGlobal)
Philippines (MNN) -- As rescue and relief efforts transition to rehabilitation and development in the Philippines, one threat grows daily.
According to the 2013 U.S. State Department's Trafficking In Persons (TIP) Report, the Philippine archipelago is an established source for sex and labor trafficking victims. Typhoon Haiyan's wrath is adding another layer of risk.
"The specter of human trafficking requires serious integration of protection initiatives into both emergency relief and recovery efforts," said U.S. Congressman Chris Smith earlier this week, returning from a fact-finding visit to the Philippines. "This must be a very high priority.
"The world's response to Typhoon Haiyan must include serious and sustained efforts to combat potential disease epidemics and the cruelty of sex trafficking."
EFC Philippines church leaders and EFCA ReachGlobal are ringing the same alarm bells.
ReachGlobal director Mark Lewis says, "Of the 13 million people affected by the typhoon, about four-and-a-half million of those are kids. UN information is now saying that about half of those--about two million kids--are at-risk of exploitation and trafficking."
EFC Philippines church planter, Pastor Sam, visited affected areas with Lewis last week and helped him grasp the scope of Haiyan's damage.
"Families are facing huge challenges: the loss of housing and then the related security and stability that goes with that: the loss of the economic base and the livelihood for the family," notes Lewis.
He says there were "huge hits" on palm oil and coconut production, an income source for so many families, as well as bananas and mangoes. Fishing boats were wrecked by Haiyan's wrath, and poultry houses were completely destroyed. Rice fields were clogged with debris or contaminated with salt.
These realities spell hopelessness for families in East Samar and the small town of Hernani. According to Pastor Sam, around 80% of the people living in this region depend on palm and coconut production for their livelihood.
In addition, Lewis continues, the wide displacement of people and extensive destruction of school buildings weave despair into the next generation's future.
"The environment that I just described is exactly the fertile environment where…predatory behavior or predatory opportunity would find root," says Lewis.
ReachGlobal and EFC Philippines are reducing the risk and weaving new strands of hope in the lives of at-risk families through development strategies.
"Focusing quickly on recovery and development aspects are going to be so important to preventing that predatory outcome," notes Lewis.
ReachGlobal is helping church partners in the Philippines develop response teams within the local churches to deal with emotional, physical, and spiritual needs of Haiyan survivors. Those church-based teams will also set up safe places for children to gather and learn, since most school buildings were destroyed.
Lewis says the ministry is also equipping church teams with chainsaws. This way, they can convert downed trees to lumber and build new homes. They're "hoping this restores a measure of security so people have safe place to live."
To meet spiritual needs, counselors are being equipped to help people process emotional trauma through a Gospel lens.
"Soon we'll be helping to clear out rice fields and resourcing fishermen with the ability to repair boats," states Lewis.
These strategies are "going to be key to help the community recover; but at the same time, they're going to address the effects that lead to this increased risk and vulnerability."
Involving local believers in disaster relief efforts can often mean the difference between success and failure. Lewis says all of these strategies flowed out of the assessment and conversations with Pastor Sam.
"The local church has the relationships in the community; it has the pulse and the understanding," explains Lewis.
"They're invested and they're going to be there for the long-term, which is essential for disciple-making and...for community recovery efforts that are really going to express the transformational power of the Gospel."
Ask the Lord to give local church leaders wisdom.
"Pray that teams could be formed in the local churches that can provide a long-term, sustainable response for the benefit of the community," Lewis requests. Pray that development strategies will be helpful to those response teams.
"Pray against this predatory opportunity that's there," asks Lewis. Pray also "that God would protect kids."
ReachGlobal is hoping to raise $500,000 to help restore broken lives and livelihoods in Eastern Samar. Click here to help.
Mayle Family (Courtesy of AIM)
(MNN) -- The Mayle family will be enjoying their last Thanksgiving
in the U.S. tomorrow. No, nothing bad is going to happen. Rather, Shawn and Angie have decided
to take the next step in their journey in God's plan. They're heading to
Madagascar for a couple of years with Africa Inland Mission.
couple, both nursing graduates of Indiana Wesleyan University, has always had a
passion for missions. In fact, ever since they started dating--over ten years
ago, they have felt the call to be missionaries. "We weren't sure exactly
where it was going to be, when we were going, how long we were going for, or
any of those details. But we knew missions was going to be a part of our life," Shawn says, "About three years ago, God kind of told us it was time to
start moving in that direction, and it's just really been a journey of
island, about 20 miles off of Madagascar, is Nosy Mitsio. It is only two miles
wide and under eight miles long. The people living there number between 1500-2000.
The Mayle family will be working with other missionary families alongside the
unreached Antakarana people. "The ultimate goal
there is to plant a working and ministering church."
Africa, they will be a part of a TIMO team which stands for Training in
Ministry Outreach. This is a learning program that will help them set the
foundation for their life in ministry. They will also be learning the culture and
language of the Antakarana people in order to build relationships and minister
team consists of 10 adults and eight children. As for their medical help, Shawn
says, "We're hoping that not only can we provide some medical support to
our team there, since there's no medical facilities on the island, but after
some assessment, figure out how we can help the people there as well."
This help will not only be for physical needs, however. Eventually, they hope
that they can incorporate sharing the Gospel into their medical ministry.
ahead to the big change in their lives, Shawn says, "There is
excitement, and there's fear.... But there's a peace in that fear, knowing that
we're heading where God has called us to be." Along with them, Shawn and Angie will take their three young children. "I'm sure there's a lot of
people that think we're crazy, taking our three young kids over there."
to live in a foreign country can be quite scary, but Shawn says they are trusting
God, "Bad things can happen there, bad things can happen here. But in
that, I'd rather be where God has called me to be." The family will be
leaving July 2014.
are several ways that you can assist this couple as they make the big move to Africa.
"First and foremost: we want people praying; we're going to need it. We
would love people to contact us through our Web site. Secondly: financial
support. We're kind of in the midst of our support-raising, so if people feel
called to support us financially, that would also be great."
can pray for the family as they make this transition, especially for their
oldest son. Also pray for the rest of the team in Madagascar, as well as for
the Antakarana people. Shawn will be heading to England
November 19 to begin a three-week Tropical Nursing School. Pray for the family as they are separated.
Native youth become a modern-day bridge to reach their people with the Gospel through On Eagles Wings. (Image courtesy RHM/OEW)
USA (MNN) -- When November rolls around, thoughts in the U.S. usually turn to the Thanksgiving holiday, lots of food, and football. But, it's also Native American Heritage Month.
As families gather around a turkey tomorrow, Native Americans are probably far from their minds. Ron Hutchcraft of Ron Hutchcraft Ministries explains why the November observance holds meaning.
"It's very significant that we be honoring Native Americans…as an incredibly important part of our history," says Hutchcraft. "We've all seen the pictures of the first Thanksgiving, with the Indians around the table, with the pilgrims.
"Here in this month when--at least on a calendar--Native Americans are remembered, this would be a wonderful time for God's people to say, 'I need to open my heart, and I need to add to my prayers the First People of this continent.'"
Hutchcraft says Native Americans played a vital role in the founding of the United States.
"You've got story after story of the contribution of Native Americans to our history," he states. Hutchcraft points to Squanto and Sacajawea as examples.
Historians know little about Squanto's life, but he is best known as an interpreter and guide for the Pilgrim settlers. Squanto acted as a liaison between the United States' first settlers and the Wampanoag tribe in modern-day Massachusetts. He held a seat at the very first Thanksgiving table.
The daughter of a Shoshone chief, Sacajawea played an irreplaceable role during the Lewis and Clark expedition in the early 1800s. She was the only woman to help the explorers find a route to the Pacific Ocean and acted as the group's interpreter.
"They met 50 Indian tribes for the first time of contact; she was the bridge," Hutchcraft explains. "Sacajawea's name is on more public things in America than the name of any other woman."
Today, Native American youth are becoming a "modern-day bridge" to their people through the ministry of On Eagles' Wings (OEW). It's a peer-to-peer evangelism ministry that equips and mobilizes Native youth to share the Gospel with their age group.
"They are the ones who are bringing the message that John Elliot brought 400 years ago--and subsequent missionaries since then," says Hutchcraft.
Sports, Christian music, and personal stories of hope give Native young people throughout North America an opportunity to accept Jesus Christ as Savior. OEW teams tour the U.S. and Canada during the "Summer of Hope."
Click here for stories from Summer of Hope 2013.
Throughout the year, OEW youth are mentored, discipled, and trained. There are several ways you can help them bring the Gospel to Native America.
"We're about to have a conference to help the On Eagles' Wings team members be discipled and strengthened--and to learn Christian leadership--right after Christmas," notes Hutchcraft.
"There might even be somebody (in MNN's audience) who, as part of their year-end stewardship, would want to contribute to help these warriors become strong leaders for Christ in this generation."
Here are some specific ways you can help. Above all else, please cover OEW teams throughout the nation in prayer.
"Please pray for the spiritual protection of these young warriors of the On Eagles' Wings team," requests Hutchcraft. "They have invaded the darkness; the enemy is extremely angry about it.
"I've never seen such a concentrated attack on any group of people in my life as I have seen on these Native American young people."
Find more ways to pray by vising HopeForNativeAmerica.com.
(Photo courtesy International Mission Board)
East Asia (IMB) -- Christian worker
Ben Lim* smiles and fans out a deck of 52 playing cards, as he invites a random
person in the audience to "pick a card ... pick any card."
This unique deck depicts Old Testament Scripture. Another deck in his pocket
has 52 stories from the New Testament. Together, the two decks of cards are a
pocket-size pictorial Bible, covering everything from creation to Christ. The
uniqueness isn't simply because this wordless Bible is found on a combo-pack of
playing cards, but by the fact that Ben's teenage daughters, Jasmine* and
Jamie* (plus one of their friends) drew the pictures.
"I can't begin to describe what it is like to use an evangelism tool
developed by your own kids. It's like 'WOW man!' It's beyond our imagination
because only God can do this," the church planter from Oklahoma says. "All over
the world, people are using these cards as part of evangelism and discipleship
Jamie explains that most of the people her family works with cannot read or
do not like to read. In rural East Asia, word of mouth and pictures are really
the most common forms of communicating. Carrying the Bible stories on decks of
cards also draws interest and allows the stories to reach places where Bibles
Churches and individuals can order the cards at 123goshare.com.
The two-deck set costs just $10, and proceeds from the sale of the cards go to
the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering. Also, for every set ordered, another set is
sent to a worker on the field to use as a witnessing tool.
"People are going to see how creative God is and amazing He is through these
stories," Jamie says, shuffling through the New Testament. "Just pull a card
out of the deck, and you can share about a different characteristic of God or a
different Bible story."
Giving to Lottie Moon offers constant support of creative workers like these
and families who are dedicating themselves to sharing the Gospel however they
can--even through a card game.
*Names changed for security.
(File studio photo courtesy Audio Scripture Ministries)
Mozambique (ASM/MNN) -- Preliminary results show
Mozambique's ruling party leading in municipal elections after the main
opposition group boycotted the polls. Tensions rising before the
voting continued to simmer.
Three days after annulling the election for Nampula's mayor,
Mozambique's National Elections Commission (CNE) also annulled the election of
the members of the municipal assembly. New elections are slated for December 1. Those weren't the only irregularities
Chad VandenBosch with Audio
Scripture Ministries lives and works in Xai Xai,
Mozambique. In an e-mail to the home
office, he noted the goings on with some resignation. "Well, last week was the week that many
people around here were dreading. Municipal elections (mayor and city
councils) took place last week Wednesday. There had been many threats of
violence to disrupt the elections, but on Tuesday the major opposition party,
who was boycotting the elections anyway, said that they wouldn't try to disrupt
the elections because they weren't valid anyway since that party wasn't
from some isolated incidents, the elections were quiet. However, VandenBosch notes, "Unfortunately it
appears that the elections were not free and fair. There have been lots
of accusations and lots of evidence to point to mass electoral fraud by the
current ruling party." Electoral
observers were prevented from entering polling stations in some areas, and in others,
they were detained when they pointed out obvious fraud.
these reports surfaced, instead of calm after the elections, anger over fraud
added to the hostility. Worse, he adds,
"The main opposition party, who boycotted the elections, is still making
attacks along the main roads. On top of this, now the third-biggest
political party--who probably realistically won a decent number of the mayoral
elections--is up in arms because of the fraud which robbed them of their
victories." Since the early
results were posted, mass demonstrations have been the norm. Government forces quelled these using tear
gas and live ammunition.
says their ministry team seems to be sitting in the middle of trouble again.
"In Chimoio, the official results have the current ruling party winning
with just over 50% of the vote. The third party claims that they had
observers at every polling station, and when they calculated up the results from
each individual polling station, they had 52% of the vote. So now they are
up in arms."
candidates, angered over the results, indicate they won't shy away from
violence. "We aren't really sure what this means," says VandenBosch, "but
it sounds a bit ominous to us... [There are] an unusually large number of federal
forces gathered in town. We pray that level heads prevail."
the rumblings of trouble, the ASM team is preparing more equipment and figuring
out a distribution/recording plan throughout Mozambique for next year. Plans are moving ahead to submit the paperwork to finalize studio registration amidst
finalizing plans for an audio Bible distribution south of Maputo, the capital
city, this coming weekend.
continue to pray for wisdom and safety for this team. Pray, too, for open hearts to the Gospel.