Loaves and Fishes

Before I begin this post, I need to be clear with you. We traveled to EE on the second part of our trip with Children’s Hope Chest. What I need to clarify for you is that Children’s Hope Chest is NOT an adoption agency in any way shape or form. There were two parts to our time in EE and they were not connected in any way. God just planned the timing perfectly for us to visit our daughter on some extras days allowed to us with our visa. So we went to EE ahead of our team for a completely different purpose.

As I shifted my focus from one purpose to another, I had grand intentions of writing about the vision part of my trip each day. What I didn’t plan for was the sketchy wireless the further we got out of the capital city and for the mental exhaustion that would overtake me at the end of each day.

As I went through each day of exploring the culture, meeting new people, tracking in two languages and interviewing on camera and interviewing again, one thought continued to permeate my thoughts–every pair of eyes has a story that lies behind it. I only wished I had more time to discover them all.

We were on this trip for a purpose and to be honest, thinking back even to a few years ago, I never would’ve imagined I’d be on this trip. I clearly remember the prayer I offered up to God. I said, “God, I get it. I see what  you want me to see. I see the fate of the orphans that age-out and it breaks my heart like it does Yours. Yet, I’m just a simple, homeschooling mom of five living in a little ol’ town over here in America. What I can’t see is how you’d use me to make any kind of difference, but I’m open.

I’m willing to offer my little so that You can make more.

You’ve just gotta show me, lead me, cause I’m kinda dense.”

Just like the loaves and the fishes in John 6, He did (and is still doing) just that. He took my meager offering and is using it to impact the lives of orphans in EE. It didn’t happen over night. It took many years of prayer and keeping my eyes open, learning as I went along and more importantly following where He led and when. Never have I felt qualified, nor have I thought I was ready for His timing. Remember, I’m just a simple mom who doesn’t want to waste the one life she’s been given. I want to live it passionately and hard.

I first learned of Children’s Hope Chest by reading the book by Tom Davis called, “Fields of the Fatherless.” Life changing. At the time I admired what they did, but certainly didn’t think I’d be traveling with them on a vision trip some day. I watched their ministry over the years and wished our family could partner with them by a sponsorship or something of the like. However, we were in a lot of debt so we couldn’t. I continued to watch, learn and pray. It took us years of hard work, but we finally became debt free and do you know what I wanted as a reward? All I wanted was to begin sponsoring a child through CHC!

About the time we were able to begin sponsorship, my mind was overflowing with knowledge about trafficking and I prayed God would allow little ol’ me to do something with it. As God would have it, some pieces fell together that allowed me, my husband and another couple to partner together and present a potential trafficking project to our Mission Committee.

One of the things I love about our church is that every February we stop everything and focus on a particular mission project. We don’t just do one Sunday. We are immersed in this project for a whole entire month. We then aim to send teams to as follow-up during the summer (and sometimes for years afterward). From babies to the older population, we are all on the same page and we dig deep into the project, people and culture.

Before that project can happen, a team goes the previous spring to scope things out. It’s not a lot of time, but it is a full trip. It is full of interviewing, videoing, picture taking, feeling out the culture and building relationship. Although our focus will be the prevention of sex trafficking, we certainly weren’t there to do any rescue, nor will our teams be doing that!

Did you know that only 1% of sex trafficking victims are rescued and restored?

What then shall we do in response to this? Yes, continue rescue and restore, but prevention is the larger answer. That’s what I love about Children’s Hope Chest. They are on the front-lines of prevention in many countries, but they have been doing it and have proven themselves in EE. They are making a difference. In one region alone, they have seen significant decrease of alcoholism, drug use and crime. They have seen an increase in college enrollment. The one statistic that absolutely grabs my heart is this:

It is a fact that orphans create more orphans.

It is a vicious cycle that continues to repeat without intervention from ministries like CHC. In the region mentioned above, child abandonment decreased from 30% to 1%. Absolutely astounding. What made the difference?

The region mentioned above has had a church partner and invest in it for the past 15 years. Year after year a church has made the commitment to come back, building relationship by doing simple things like day camps, construction projects and teaching skills classes. Many of the orphans who age-out have no idea how to budget, cook a meal or live a healthy life style. They need someone to come alongside and build into their lives.

Children’s Hope Chest works in five regions and in February 2012, our church will become the sponsoring church in another one of their regions. Simple people being willing to do simple things that make the difference in the life of orphan after orphan. Every life that is invested in, is one less that ends up in trafficking.

As I sat in the room full of orphan graduates, looking into face after face, I began to see the beauty of just being willing. I began to think of the multiplication of the loaves and fishes. I’m just a simple homeschooling mom of five living in a little ol’ town that offered my loaves and fishes. He took it and partnered it with 3 other people who then partnered it with a Mission Committee who will then partner it with a church of 1500. Imagine the amount of prevention and dent we can make in the trafficking world by simply being willing.

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