Make Her Strong Again--CF Anti-Traffic/Indonesia

by Compassion First
Vetted

Sarah’s House is a full house again! We welcomed two new girls into our care over the past several months. With the addition of new residents comes an adjustment period for the staff and girls. One of the seasoned residents has taken it upon herself to be the house ambassador, encouraging the new girls to embrace the program, and assuring them that they will recognize great positive change in their lives. What a joy to see the girls recognize their own progress and strengths.

A formerly untouched supply of yarn and knitting supplies have made an appearance and now knitting is the new favorite past time at the house. The girls knit together all of the time. Our summer intern has been teaching dance, arts, and crafts. Her time with the girls has been sweet, and they are all really enjoying the activities.

The residents are currently in the middle of SHINE, an empowerment program that we have completed the past two summers. It is a highlight of the year for the girls and staff alike. Some of the girls have participated in this program twice and now act as co-facilitators with the staff! They have grown and changed through the year and it is equally empowering with each new season.

We are incredibly proud of one of the residents who passed her entrance exam to attend a private school nearby. This will provide great learning and socialization opportunities for her in a safe and structured environment. We are grateful for our partnership and excited for this long-time resident to experience specialized science education outside of the shelter. This development is a stepping stone toward the achievement of her dream—attending a university for medical training! Please pray for her transition to this new school and for her adjustment to a new environment outside of Sarah's House.

The department teams are thriving. The clinical and house mom teams are communicating beautifully, which makes for a consistent, strong and balanced program. We are looking into the possibility of hiring a part-time counselor as we grow. Please pray for our current counselor with her ever increasing caseload.

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For more than five years Compassion First has been engaged in a remarkable work in North Sulawesi, Indonesia. It is an organization that has quietly taken a leading role in the recovery and restoration of child victims of sex trafficking in Indonesia, a nation that faces complications unlike any other. It has been their desire to go where they are invited and to help those who would otherwise receive no help. There is no clearer example of this value than Sarah’s House in North Sulawesi and the outreach work now underway in the Yellow Flower Cemetery in Surabaya.

For those who have been so generous in their support of Compassion First’s efforts, it is a necessary question to ask if Compassion First’s efforts are actually working and making a difference. The answer is yes. In fact, the work is deeply successful, beyond just numbers. Prior to Compassion First’s law enforcement training in 2012, the police in North Sulawesi had recovered only 9 girls. Post training, there have been 31 rescues. The numbers are important, but the relationships and support of local law enforcement in Indonesia have been the driving force that has sustained the police effort.

In order to continue with this momentum, Compassion First must remain engaged and prepare for an expansion of the work. The nature of sex trafficking in this part of Indonesia has demonstrated that North Sulawesi and its surrounding communities have become a focal point of traffickers seeking to bring young girls into the sex trade. If Compassion First does not expand and work to counter this trend, then the effectiveness of the work will be sharply limited.

A proactive approach will increase Compassion First’s effectiveness and reduce the number of girls being removed from North Sulawesi to be held captive and exploited in other parts of Indonesia. The work here has identified Papua, and to a lesser degree Makassar, as destination points for girls being trafficked from the North Sulawesi area. A critical next step will be to target the primary destination point and begin the process of equipping law enforcement and support services in Papua to identify sex traffickers, the businesses/brothels being employed and the victims held in bondage. By training local law enforcement and prosecutors, traffickers will be held accountable and victims will finally be returned home to receive care by Compassion First’s care team.

Papua is an important extension of Compassion First’s work. It is not the end point but the beginning of the next step. During the third week of April, Compassion First will be sending a team to Jayapura, Papua to meet with law enforcement officials and church leaders. During this trip, the groundwork will be laid for a future training conference on the model of the work in North Sulawesi. The goal will be to equip officials in Papua and thereby link the efforts of officials in North Sulawesi province to that in Papua. The result will assuredly be more children freed, traffickers held accountable, and fewer brought into sexual servitude.  

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As with any child you love, she looks older than you think she should. Her graduation cap is offset by a jeweled garland. Her makeup is applied tastefully and evenly and her long, dark hair assembled with the effortless intricacy that only an experienced stylist can accomplish. Her smile is no longer dopey and innocent but sure and genuine. The high-heeled gait now confident and controlled. It’s then that you realize she’s not a child anymore. She’s grown and accomplished. She’s weathered adversity and become stronger, become a woman. And you realize that she’s never been more beautiful and that you’ve never been more proud. And it’s then that the tears pull at the corner of your eyes.


This is how we feel to announce that Marsya* (pronounced like “Marsha”), one of our young residents at Sarah’s House, graduated from our program last year. This is a massive accomplishment and the culmination of so much hard work and heartache. She is doing exceptionally well, living with family and preparing for a promising career as a stylist with hopes of opening her own bridal shop.

We are extremely proud of Marsya and expect great things from her future look forward to celebrating her ongoing successes with you. And of course, we are very grateful to you for helping make all this possible.

 

*For the safety of the residents in our program, names are changed to protect the identy of the girls we serve.

Sarah’s House is full of excitement these days. Our friends John and Robin Vendelin have arrived at the shelter to support our clinical team to help them better serve the girls there. They will be staying for a couple months, and we are already encouraged by their reports.

We are excited to share that two of our residents are now enrolled in college and are working hard toward seeing their dreams come to fruition. These are our first residents to start attending college and they have shown great courage and determination to get to this place.

Additionally, we are preparing for the graduation of our first resident to fully complete the program. She is in the process of preparing her résumé and filling out applications. We expect that she will be rewarded soon with a great new job. She is currently working part time for Sarah’s House learning administrative skills while continuing to live at the house. Exciting days are ahead of her as she reintegrates as a strong and vibrant contributing member to her community. We are so proud of her.

The house has never been so full! While this brings all sorts of new joys and experiences, it also presents a new set of challenges to our staff. Having never managed this case load before, they are working hard to keep up with the girls and are also learning to adjust to the new life at Sarah’s House. God’s mercies, faithfulness, and joy are new every morning!

As we takeoff from Taipei, it has now been four days since we left Sarah's House. The emotions of wondering if we would be accepted are five weeks behind us and now we are only days removed from the hugs and hard goodbyes.

 

We restored friendships with two of the girls from two years ago and became “Oma” and “Opa” to the rest of the residents. We were there to greet the newest and youngest member of Sarah’s House as she was quickly adopted into the 'sisterhood'.

 

Falling into the daily routine meant greeting them as they finished breakfast and completed their morning chores. As we did our work and taught classes, each of the girls had their activities, whether it was school, crafts, computer instruction, preparing for home visits, doing their laundry, or learning to play the guitar. They are teenage girls with the same concerns as any teenager would have, and their house moms have to deal with the same challenges that other moms have to deal with. They want friendships and acceptance. They want to know what they will be doing in the next year.But they also have concerns that no teenager should have. They need to know that the God  whispered His love to them while they were babies, is a God that will still love them as they are dealing with a world that stole their childhood.

 

They are surrounded by staff who provide them with the resources to rebuild their lives. They have activities and worship time. They are constantly shown love, and I hope they can feel the power of the prayers that are sent up for them by saints that are now spread around the world.

 

Our small team was given the task of home 'beautification'. One of the projects was to build a fountain. The place we chose to build it was on a trash pile by the wall across from the entrance to the house. This area was the least likely space that could be 'beautified'. It seemed our best effort would fall short. Each shovel hit rock, ceramic tile, roots, or buried concrete. But eventually we scraped and dug and moved enough debris into a mound on the driveway--the size of a Volkswagen (which no one drives over here). We bought plants to surround the fountain, put steps up to it, and it actually was worthy of our project name. One of our team members saw a picture of the finished work since wasn’t able to stay; this is what he said when his responsed by saying, "That is so awesome! Just what the Lord likes to do…clean out the pile of junk and debris, replant, and build it into a fountain of bubbling living water for His, ours, and others enjoyment.”


At the moment, it is hard to know which world we are in… the one that we are returning to with our family or the one we just left.  We’re not omniscient but we have hearts that can love those in another world without diminishing the love we have for our family. And with all of our prayers we can help ‘beautify’ those who feel like they have lost their beauty.

 

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Organization Information

Compassion First

Location: Beaverton, OR - USA
Website: http:/​/​compassionfirst.org
Project Leader:
Kallen Hawkinson
Beaverton, Oregon United States
$47,540 raised of $140,000 goal
 
507 donations
$92,460 to go
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