Lynda Oatley, a Bethlehem Global Partner serving with Converge Worldwide, has been working with street children in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Her recent video gives an update on the work going on there and a special acknowledgment of Bethlehem’s Global Diaconate gift that helped them start a new program giving counseling to children and their families.
Bethlehem Global Diaconate funds have recently been sent to Peace and Hope International, an international Christian human rights organization that promotes justice for people and communities who suffer all forms of injustice and poverty so that they may realize their full potential. Peace and Hope has offices in Peru, Ecuador and Bolivia. This project focuses on expanding initiatives and programs that prevent trafficking in Ecuador, particularly in the city of Cuenca, where trafficking is prevalent. With this grant of funds, Peace and Hope will be able to print biblical anti-trafficking training and awareness material, and train pastors, church leaders and their families to advocate for victims of trafficking and learn how to be a voice on trafficking issues. The funding is also for addressing human trafficking issues through awareness raising programs for churches and poor communities. This is the second grant of funding that has been sent to Ecuador to build and equip the church and community so that trafficking awareness is addressed. Peace and Hope continues to be used by God to bring about systemic change in Latin America by equipping the church, building awareness and establishing partnerships that promote justice and healing in Christ.
Bethlehem Baptist recently helped to fund a project through Agape International Ministries. Holly Andrews, who heads up the anti-trafficking task force of the Global Diaconate, visited the work and helped us connect with this amazing ministry. AIM is an anti-trafficking ministry based in Cambodia that seeks to prevent child‐sex trafficking and restore hope to its victims by providing holistic aftercare to rescued victims, equipping and mobilizing Christ’s church to take action and building church‐sponsored community centers in communities where sex‐trafficking is prevalent. The Global Diaconate project focuses on supporting the counseling services of 20 rescued girls for one year. The funding will support the restoration of rescued girls who are counseled by a primary counselor and an assistant counselor who use biblical counseling approaches and Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy adapted to the Cambodian culture. The funding also includes the cost of counseling materials.
More information can be found on the AIM website. ABC Update had a feature story on their work.
In September 2009 several people from Bethlehem visited Loving Shepherd Ministries in Les Cayes, Haiti. The mission of LSM, led by Pastor Ed Schwartz, is to care for abandoned, orphaned and at-risk children around the world and help others to do the same. They now have nine Homes of Hope in operation in Haiti with another 4 on the construction schedule for next year.
Bethlehem, through the Global Diaconate, gave funds in March 2010 to help in the construction of an LSM Home of Hope for 12 HIV+ orphaned and vulnerable boys. The construction of the home was finished this summer and the boys are living there and have adjusted very well. Two of the HIV positive boys are brothers. The Bethlehem team met them and saw that one especially was in dire circumstances. Ed notes, “The difference that a few months can make when a child has food, clothing and shelter, not to mention love, family, a mom and dad, and Bible teaching, is stark.” Both brothers are now in the Home of Hope supported by Bethlehem. They are doing well and all you see are smiles!
Bethlehem has come alongside the Pakistani people with a gift to an international aid organization to provide emergency, life-saving assistance to flood-affected villages.
With a large team already formed and in place across Pakistan and with a long-time presence and relationships with communities close to some of the areas hardest hit, this aid organization has been in a strong position to quickly assess the needs caused by the recent mega-flood and to begin to mount a response. They have already distributed food, clean drinking water, mosquito nets, and household items to almost 1,000 households, and have continued to assess needs in areas heavily hit by the flood. Several of Bethlehem’s Global Partners have worked or are working with this aid organization.
In July/August 2010, unusually strong and sustained monsoon rains led to flooding which has, according to the UN, left at least 1/5 of Pakistan under water. At least 13.8 million people are directly affected by the disaster, and this number is growing daily. The scale and cost of responding to this disaster are larger than the most catastrophic disasters in recent memory, including the Haiti earthquake of January 2010, the Pakistan earthquake of 2005, and the Indian Ocean tsunami of 2004.
The residents of both targeted districts are among the poorest and least reached peoples of Pakistan. Both targeted areas are known for their conservative values and resistance to outsiders, causing them to be among the more isolated communities of Pakistan.
Close to 100% of homes in the chosen areas for relief work were severely damaged, or completely destroyed by the floods of late July and early August. The vast majority of villagers are living under the open sky, and only a small percentage has received tents from either the government or various NGOs. Water systems in affected villages were almost completely destroyed by the flood. Furthermore, many household goods, including kitchen items and clothes, were either destroyed or swept away in the disaster.. Finally, livelihoods in both chosen districts were severely affected by the floods, leaving the majority of people dependant upon food rations from either the government or NGOs.
The goal for our Bethlehem gift is to help with the following:
Water, Sanitation and Hygiene
- initial distribution of buckets and jerry cans for storage of drinking water
- ongoing distributions of clean water
- repair and restore existing hand pumps and tube wells
- repair and restore public sanitary facilities
- distribution of antiseptic soap and other critical hygiene items
- teach principles of good hygiene and how to avoid the spread of disease
Slavery Today: Sex Trafficking and the Gospel of True Freedom
Saturday July 31st, 7:30 PM, Downtown Campus
Join us for an interactive evening of worship and prayer concerning the issues of modern day slavery in the form of global and local sex-trafficking. Bethlehem members and Freedom Firm’s Jayson Palm will talk about Christ’s heart for justice and practical ways that you can be an abolitionist.
Contact: Brooke Johnson email@example.com or Jason French firstname.lastname@example.org
Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit widows and orphans in their affliction and to keep oneself unstained from the world. James 1:27
Following the devastation of the January 2010 earthquakes in Haiti, Bethlehem’s Global Diaconate task force members began following the Haiti Orphan Relief Team as we were searching for opportunities to bless our Haitian neighbors and children who had been orphaned.
Bethlehem, through the initiative of the Global Diaconate, is participating in a Church to Church “C2C” Partnership with World Orphans OVC (Orphan and Vulnerable Child) Program in Haiti that is the result of the HORT trips.
The OVC Program exists to strengthen local indigenous churches’ abilities to care for orphans in their own community. These local churches are partnered with western church partners who provided prayer and financial support, as well as short term missionary team visits to their local church partner. World Orphans have done over 500 indigenous church based orphan care projects worldwide and have established approximately 27 of these C2C Partnerships. They are now working to set-up a number of partnerships between US and Haitian churches as a means to care for orphans and vulnerable children in the aftermath of the Haitian earthquakes. The Global Diaconate is excited to participate in this program and to begin to connect the church to the needs of a Haitian church and the children for whom it is caring. World Orphans is still looking for three more American churches to join in this first stage of partnership.
Bethlehem Global Diaconate funding will be used for one of these C2C Partnerships to care for 20 orphans/vulnerable children who have been taken in by extended family or other community members by helping to feed them, educate them, care for their medical and trauma needs, as well as getting the encouragement and support of a committee of church members who will monitor their care.
Bethlehem will have several opportunities to participate in this partnership:
- 4-5 Bethlehem people are needed for a committee to work directly with our church partner;
- Bethlehem will have opportunities to participate in short-term mission projects to visit our church partner; and
- All of Bethlehem can participate in praying for our church partner and the 20 children who are being served through our church partnership.
Next week, Pastor John and Noel Piper will be visiting Haiti, meeting Bethlehem’s Haitian church partner and learning more about the World Orphans OVC Program. To follow the Piper’s trip in Haiti check out Noel’s blog and twitter account.
This tour, presented by the “Not for Sale” Campaign in partnership with Bethlehem’s Global Diaconate, uncovers often-unseen connections to the modern-day slave trade by revealing the true value of our purchases. This presentation implements multimedia, video, live songs, stories, and reports.
The Bethlehem Haiti Team is coming home. The first group of eleven people arrived back in Minneapolis about 8:00 Sunday night. The next group of four was flying directly from PaP and arriving at 10:00 p.m. while a final group will be returning on Tuesday. They are driving to Dominican Republic today. Here is an update of the final day of work on Sunday for those who will return on Tuesday.
“Dear Friends and Family,
The last day of the last group is coming to a close….we had a good day today. We spent our time at CDTI, the hospital we were at yesterday. As a little bit of background, the hospital is still standing, and is used for some procedures and wound surgeries, but all of the patients sleep outside in tents. Each tent has 3-6 patients in it, and we often found ourselves kneeling in dirt to push IV medications or take care of wounds. Definitely not an American-style hospital–but the patients and families were so welcoming and so glad to see us. We were struck by how gracious most of the patients were–they called us by our names, asked about our lives, and were so genuine in making us feel needed and wanted.
Most of the nurses took patients, and Deb and Jean rounded on all 52 patients and got immunization histories and gave diptheria and tetanus shots–which was a huge task! It is definitely a different breed of medicine out here…the hospital has many supplies, but not always what exactly is needed. The patient’s charts are made up of haphazard orders and scribbled pieces of paper–and are slowly getting organized into chronological order and correct medication records. We have had to have a lot of creativity and thinking “outside the box” to get things done!! : ) I (Kristi) and Rachel spent some time with our patients yesterday and today updating their medications and making sure their medication records were up to date.
Josh spent the day taking pictures and walking a little bit around the city…the kids love seeing their pictures on the camera after the pictures are taken. The candy he gave out, plus having the camera, made him quite popular. : ) We were able to go on the roof of the hospital, where we were able to see almost the entire city of Port Au Prince, from the mountains to the ocean. What a beautiful view….and such a contrast of poverty and beauty.
We felt that we had a very satisfying day, and enjoyed taking care of some of the same patients that we had yesterday. I met Saint Phar, a young man who was crushed and trapped in a fallen building for several days after the earthquake (this is the same young man that Hannah Carlson mentioned in her note on the Global Diaconate blog). He and his brother Jameson were so very happy to see us, and so very gracious…and I was so humbled by the overwhelming joy in the Lord that they had. The first thing they asked me yesterday was if I was a Christian, and the second was a reminder that we “had to pray”. Pray for Saint Phar and his brother, that they would continue living with such joy in Christ.
Please pray also for a little boy named Joshua Emmanuel–he got his name from the hospital staff after he was found on the streets abandoned. He around four years old and has cerebral palsy and club feet. He is wheelchair bound as his legs don’t work very well–but his arms are almost always flying wide open to hug someone or take sticker from them as he smiles and laughs. He has spent the last several weeks at the hospital, and it is evident from the joy on his face how he is thriving there with all the love he has probably never felt before. However, his mother came to the hospital a few days ago and said that when he was ready to be discharged, she wanted to take him back, as she was getting less money from begging on the streets without him. A seemingly impossible situation for men–but nothing is impossible with God. Please pray that he will be well cared for….there is no easy solution, even if his mother never comes back to get him. Pray that God will continue to bless him with His presence wherever he ends up.
There are so many other patients I and others could tell you about here…Bellarice, an older gentleman who’s leg was crushed under rubble, little twin girls staying in a tent at the hospital because they have no where else to go, and many, many others. The need here is so great, and it is overwhelming to think about all of the needs that are not met and may never be met. But, God placed us and so many others here for a purpose–and His ways, while sometimes beyond our comprehension, are always for His glory and the good of His people. Please pray for the people of Haiti–pray for hope, pray for Christ to send revival…as one of the interpreters said so very correctly, “The first place that hope comes from is from God.”
We are looking forward to seeing you all in two days…we love and miss all of you–and be prepared for many pictures and stories when we get back!
love kristi (for all of us still here in Haiti)”
Steve, the team leader gave a few concluding remarks.
“The families from IBG church in Santa Domingo were such wonderful hosts and took great care of us and we praise the Lord for what He is doing through them in the DR as well as Haiti. It is great to have such Godly partners.
This is the last update that we will be sending out but I wanted to let you all know that God has used this team in many ways. Some in ways that we anticipated, some that we did not, and I am sure that there are numerous ways that he has used us that we will never know about. We have all have seen His hand working in Haiti and even greater in our own lives. We are all leaving with a heavy burden for Haiti. The need there is so great and it is hard to not feel so small with the overwhelming need. But we need to realize that God has not called us to fix all the needs of Haiti – just to be faithful lights for Him throughout this dark needy world and to spread the love of Jesus to those that we come into contact with.
Thanks again for all your prayer – it has been so important and appreciated this whole trip. Please remember the last team traveling these next two days.