hope and a future

There are 19 wonderful young ladies who live at the Home of Hope.

That’s 19 individual lives, 19 sets of anxieties, 19 sets of dreams for the future…

The Lord knitted them together in their mothers’ wombs and knew, before they were even conceived, what each day of their life would be (Psalm 139).

He’s given them unique personalities, talents, and desires to use for His glory…and they are. We’ve had the privilege of watching them perform some beautiful dances. Others have amazing voices, artistic abilities, teaching hearts, brilliant minds…

Today, pray that each girl would continue the pursuit to know Him and His will for her life. The two young ladies who are in their final year of school both want to go to college, which is an amazing endeavor and would set a precedent for the other girls in years to come. Please pray they decide to follow through with college plans, and that the Lord would provide strength, wisdom and peace to take such a big step.

a new home!

We got to visit the new Home of Hope yesterday. It blew my mind.

To give you some perspective, the current Home of Hope is a 3-bedroom apartment, housing 19 girls, ranging from 6 to 18 years old, plus 4 staff. YAY for bunk beds! They stay on the 3rd floor of the building, which is sandwiched between several others. At least they have a flat roof that’s great for playing games and dancing on!

So this new home…wow. When the staff and girls started to pray for the new home and where it should be, the girls were asked to think and pray about something they want in a new home. Across the board, girls responded with a variety of fruit trees and in general, land to run around in.

And then they found this property on the outskirts of town. The land is lush. And there are an amazing amount of lychee, banana and mango trees.

The home will house 180 women and children in community-style living. Each room has a bathroom and each “pod” has a living room area. Another Vocational Unit (in addition to the one in the city) will operate in the bottom floor of one building. Guest houses (with A/C!) are in the bottom of the other building. There is a spacious dining room, as well.

Getting to be there, to pray and praise in that place, was an immense privilege…knowing women will be given jobs and discipled there…thinking of the children who will be raised to know the Lord and dream big dreams. Dreams that come to fruition, like this Home of Hope.

Please pray for all of the women and children who will get to partake in this awesome community. Pray for the Home to shine Light on the surrounding town.

Specifically, please pray that the adjacent land, which is difficult to purchase right now, would become available. This land would be so valuable for growing a garden, crops and having a fishery.

no eloquent words. “just” Jesus.

A lot of times I write a blog post because I’ve had an eloquent thought or lesson from the Lord. Sometimes the Lord teaches me something and I wait to post it or feel overwhelmed in writing it down, because I haven’t figured out how to wrap the experience up with powerful words and tie a pretty bow on top.

Today I’m tempted to do that. He did an awesome work yesterday that deserves praise and calls for more prayer. And I’m having trouble putting it into perfectly phrased words.

But Christ and him crucified is more than lofty words. He does not depend on eloquent words. He does not depend on words at all.

Without further ado, here’s yesterday’s happenings, in no eloquent words:

Yesterday, one of our musically-inclined interns was leading a session at the Vocational Unit about how to lead worship. The session started at 12 p.m. and she went through what worship is and some practical ways to lead others in it.  Just before 1:00 she was wrapping up and ended the session with song.

But that wasn’t the end of the session.

First, let me say that the Lord was doing a work in me and lifting Jesus’ name high above every other concern that had been bombarding my brain over the past hour. That was humbling. And then I realized that I wasn’t the only one getting a glimpse of Jesus. The entire room was fully engaged in worship.

People were starting to pray for each other. That went on for the next hour and a half.

Yes, for the entire lunch/nap hour, plus 30 more minutes, women were crying out and praying for each other. Two relationships were reconciled when the women went to each other and prayed together. (In one of those, the women had not spoken in 2 years) Eight women were baptized in the Spirit for the first time and spoke in tongues.

There was weeping, laughing, clapping, jumping, hugging and healing.

At 2:30, the prayers started to wind down, and the praise reports began! Almost every woman wanted to share some way the Lord began to heal her, some reconciliation she experienced, a hopeful vision or promise He gave her. It almost became a fight for who got to share next.

Our dear translator was a trooper, as we English-speakers listened with wide eyes to the Bengali testimonies, then insisted that each one be translated. Even if there had been no translation, the joy, hope and freedom was so evident on their faces.

It was truly the Spirit breathing life into that place yesterday. It will be the Spirit who sustains and grows them.

Please PLEASE pray for the Lord to raise up women who are local and long-term to disciple these dear ladies at the VU. Each one is fighting a specific battle and shedding a painful past. And each one of them can be used mightily by the Lord who makes all things new.

There is so much hope. SO MUCH HOPE….for no other reason than Jesus’ death and life in them.

“He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it.” 1 Thess 5:24

the fatherless

I’m so thankful to have an awesome dad. But not everyone is celebrating Father’s Day today.

Countless children here live with no father to provide for and guide them. Or maybe their father isn’t as exemplary as the ones we know. I couldn’t tell you how many women I’ve walked passed, who live on the streets with two, three or four children.

It’s these children who are being trafficked and exploited. The kids who don’t have a protector or guide. The kids whose families are so impoverished that sending their daughter to work as a “maid” in the city seems the best choice. The kids who don’t know better when someone offers them “work” for good pay and a better life. The kids whose fathers are the pimps.

Please pray for the fatherless today. Pray that many would come to know the Lord as Dad and that He would use the Body in this city to radically, wisely and sustainably care for the orphans.

Standing on the promises

Each Friday we have the opportunity to lead devotions at the Vocational Unit. Yesterday my teammate, Christine, brought a powerful word about trusting the Lord. She shared about Abraham, who was promised a son in his old age. Yet when his promised son, Isaac, was a young man, the Lord told Abraham him he must be sacrificed. He didn’t understand why God would ask him to sacrifice his son, but he did know that his God was trustworthy, good and loved him. He knew his commitment to his Lord was greater than anything on earth.

So he brought Isaac up the mountain. And at the last moment God provided a different sacrifice and spared Isaac.

I looked around the room at these strong, beautiful women. Many of them come from Hindu or Muslim backgrounds. Leaving that way of life means being rejected by not only society, but family; not only parents, but husbands. It can mean giving up very precious gifts in this temporary life, for the promise of an eternal gift, from which all others come. And the Lord has a promise for each of their lives; a joyful purpose to fulfill for His glory.

Today, please pray:

  • for the Lord to sustain and grow the woman who work at the Vocational Unit; that the joy of the Lord would be their strength
  • for them to be able to share their joy in the Lord with family and friends, so they can come to know Him, too
  • that these women would be a strong family, when their earthly families will not claim them

 

Raising real men

One amazing way Project Rescue shines the Light is from the edge of the red light district, at the Evening Care Center. This ECC welcomes 50-100 children of all ages who live in and around the district. They come for school tutoring, devotions, songs, and over the weekend, for Sunday school.

This year, this PR site is being graced with two male interns for the first time. The staff has been hoping for this many years. This is a big deal.

Having male interns means having godly examples of real men for the boys who grow up in the district. They are predominantly growing up around men who think little to nothing of women.

The cycle cannot be stopped by only helping women. We must raise real men in these dark areas to be good leaders, defenders, and fathers.

Today, please pray for:

  • these male interns to speak and demonstrate truth, respect and love
  • the Lord to raise up more male leaders to pour into the boys
  • the boys growing up in the district, that the cycle would not continue

The past week

The last week flew by. FLEW. There’s so much to share. But I’ll highlight…

The services are awesome. We get to worship in English (because they have services in 8 different languages) with Indian brothers and sisters. The best of both worlds! This is the Sunday night youth service.

Last Monday we bussed in kids from the red light district for VBS. The focus was Joshua 1:5 “I will never leave you or forsake you”. We spent the day singing, dancing, eating (and of course having tea), memorizing the verse, performing skits to help them remember, and praying. And singing and dancing again. Song and dance and JOY overfloweth.

Car rides together are always an adventure. And we are thankful for them, because otherwise we’d be traveling by taxi, bus, or rickshaw.

 

Everyday we see and face much need in many different ways. Even though it’s humbling to realize how little I can do (see previous post), one thing I know is that we can PRAY.

So, what I’m hoping to do from this day on is post a little bit each day, with a specific prayer request for the work He’s doing here. I so hope you’ll join this work by PRAYING (even if for ONE MINUTE) each day. Prayers for broken bondage, open hearts, changed lives, the staff, the children, the women, will reap fruit for far longer than I or the other interns will be here. But we believe that we WILL see fruit from your prayers and look forward to updating with praises.

Yesterday the Spirit started much inner healing with the national staff at both the girls’ home and the vocational center. We will be having continued sessions this week to work through how to deal with inner conflict and how it affects outer conflict. Pray the staff at each location would be willing to learn, broken before the Lord, and allow Him to continue to work in them, as He raises them up to be strong disciples and leaders.