Four siblings became high priority, after receiving tragic news that the mother of one of our Education Empowerment Program families had suddenly died. With no extended family members able to care for them, we placed the youngest two children in a partner NGO home. However, in the midst of the loss of their mom, the two oldest boys got scared and ran away. At high-risk for exploitation, our team fervently prayed and combed the streets to find them. We heard reports that they were spotted in red-light and bar areas, so our concern heightened. After a week of searching, we returned to their community. Lo and behold, there they were!
The boys had been working and sleeping on the streets, begging for enough money to buy a little something to eat. Their future was a life of drug addiction, dealing, and exploitation. Little did they know that a safe home, full of abundant food and love, waiting for them.
When our team was finally able to transport the boys to their new home, the caregivers called their two younger siblings to greet them. As the younger ones approached the boys, one hesitated in fear that his older siblings had come to take him back where they came from. He cried out that he loved his new home and never wanted to leave . . . but that, of course, was not the case. The older boys had come to reunite with the young and once again they could be a family. What a joyful reunion when they realized this was “home”, and they would never be separated again!
Please join us in prayer for these four siblings, as God continues to heal their hearts
Another precious one is now thriving and in safe care. With a severe heart condition, our team had been keeping close watch on a boy who lived and worked on the streets for about five years. We had assisted he and his family in various ways throughout the years, in order to keep them safe. Yet, sadly, he had experienced ongoing neglect, abuse, and pressure from his guardians to beg for the family. A pediatric cardiologist showed great concern that if his current living conditions and way of life continued, it would shorten his lifespan. Our team would often find him walking along the streets shirtless and shoeless, lungs and heart working overtime in keeping him going. He had been abused and exploited. Wandering through the red light and tourist communities, he did all he could to make money for he and his family.
Knowing the urgency to get him into safe care, our team worked with the government to place in him in a partner children’s home.
God’s hand was on him in the transition, brining continued healing and hope. We believe His Heavenly Father will restore his heart: physically, spiritually, and emotionally. He will learn through this new family what healthy love looks like. And in this home, his heart will be made whole.
Our little one is thriving now with his new extended family in the safe house which he affectionately and confidently calls “my house.”
Victoria – Let Hope Arise
We met this amazing woman when we were visiting her next-door neighbor who had recently joined our Everlasting Love social business and training program. Victoria* had told the neighbor we were meeting with that she really wanted to have the same change in her life as what she had seen in her friend who was enrolled in our program. She wanted the change for her, but most of all she wanted her daughter to have a different life.
That day, we sat on the floor of her small one room house in the slum and heard her heartbreaking story of struggle and exploitation. Victoria initially started working in prostitution when one of her “friends” promised her a great job working in a restaurant. When she arrived at the restaurant she discovered it was really a bar where she was hired to work in prostitution. Her friend convinced her that if she slept with the men she would make more money. Soon after she was sleeping with clients to increase her income but hated the job.
She worked as long as she could there but soon grew tiered of the abuse and exploitation. She decided to find a better job and was offered work in Malaysia as a cleaner. However, when she arrived she was locked in a room, starved, abused, and forced to sleep with clients daily. She had been trafficked and had no choice but to stay and work as a slave.
Eventually she and other workers formed a plan to escape. The other workers said she was the strongest and had the best chance of getting out, so they all worked together to escape. She ran as fast as she could and was rescued by someone that helped her to the Cambodian Embassy.
When she arrived at the embassy they brought her back to Cambodia. While in Cambodia, she got taken to another place of employment that turned out to be another brothel. She had been sold yet again, but this time by a friend that she trusted, and she was forced to work as a sex worker there to pay off her debt. She eventually got so sick, was not eating, and said she prayed to die. Her mother ended up getting permission to come help her and nursed her back to health. However, because her reputation had been ruined, she was now labeled a “prostitute” and wasn’t allowed to go back to her hometown. As a result, her mother took her to a slum in Phnom Penh where they have been living ever since.
When we first met her she was a quiet, broken person, who was living in fear and shame. She continued to work in prostitution, the only life she knew, as she had no skills or education. She was judged because of her background and her illiteracy, which made it difficult for her to get any other work.
Victoria is now in our Everlasting Love women’s social business and training program and is learning sewing skills and beginning to understanding her immense value and worth. She is coming alive.
Both of Victoria’s children are now also enrolled in our education sponsorship program, where they are going to private school and receiving a nutritious school lunch through sponsorship. Victoria’s children are learning to read and write, an opportunity she had never been given. Not only is Victoria’s life being transformed, but cycles of exploitation and poverty are being broken off of her children. Victoria is now a confident, witty, and strong woman of God. She has learned that God doesn’t judge her, loves her, and accepts her just as she is. She’s found a new hope and future in Him and is being healed and restored day-by-day.
*Not her real name
Nancy – Ask and You Shall Receive
We met Nancy* in the red light district of Phnom Penh. She was working in a local bar that many foreigners frequent. The day we met her we were talking with another lady when Nancy stopped us and asked if we would pray for her. When we asked what she’d like prayer for she said “that she would find another job.” We had to laugh, because she had no idea that we had a program that could help her. Soon after she was selected to join our Everlasting Love social business and training program, where she is now learning sewing skills and no longer has to work in prostitution.
Nancy had begun working in prostitution when her husband was injured in a work accident, and she had no money to support the family. One of her children was sick and needed medication, and she knew no other way to earn money to support them. She didn’t like the work she was doing but saw no other options, as she had no skills or education. She told us in tears that she hated the work but kept telling herself that it was for her family. She told us later that she didn’t know much about Jesus, but she believed he existed because he sent us to help her.
The first day she came into the program she said she felt so happy that she didn’t need to sell her body anymore. When she heard about Jesus and what he had done for her, she accepted him immediately. She said I want Jesus to completely wash away my sin like the white paper in the new journal we had given her so that she could have a new life. God has been lavishing His love on her through dreams and visions, and she is growing in her understanding of God and in her identity in Him.
Nancy also desired that her children could go to school. They were in a very at-risk situation because of their poverty. Her children are now flourishing in our daycare program, while the older ones are enrolled in our education sponsorship program and receiving private school education and school lunch support.
Nancy and her family are now living out what was once only a dream. They are growing in their faith and being transformed daily. We are so proud of them!
*Not her real name
14 year-old girl
At the age of 5, both of her parents died. She and her 4 brothers and sisters were left to fend for themselves. During that time, a high-ranking government official took her and one of her brothers from their hometown to Phnom Penh saying he was taking them to the city to go to school. However, when she and her brother arrived they were placed on a farm and forced to work long hard hours in slave labor and were abused, if they could not perform or meet productivity demands. Lynn and her brother worked for 7 difficult years in these conditions, until they couldn’t do it any longer and made plans to escape.
Their runaway was miraculously successful. She found a family to help her and they sent her to live with relatives in a nearby slum. In her new family, she was treated as an adopted child. She has now lived with her adopted mother for 3 years. The family loves her and supplies meals and shelter, but they do not have enough money to provide for her education needs. She has still never been to school.
However, despite her circumstances, she is very smart and actually taught herself to read and write. She is now enrolled in school and receiving school lunch sponsorship. She is thrilled to be going to school for the first time and plans to work in an “office” when she is older. She is strong and courageous and will be a great leader for her nation. She continues to do so well that at the end of her first year in school her teacher asked her to skip a grade!