Fifty years ago today the world was wrapped in amazement as astronauts from the United States set foot on the moon. That “one small step for man” was truly “one giant leap for mankind!” What the Apollo astronauts did fifty years ago today certainly changed the world.
We all want to change the world! We all want to make the world a better place but with the magnitude of the problems scrolling across our news feeds where do we begin?
We may not be able to touch the face of the moon and change the course of the entire world but what if we could change the course of one life?
We eagerly offer two ways for you to change the course of a life.
Today’s ministry story is an ongoing story. Karen Lambert served as the national director for the Children of Promise in Ecuador for over 20 years. She and her husband Jon now serve as missionaries with Caring Partners International. Before she left Ecuador Karen handed the Directorship over to Angelita.
We eagerly await the day when all things are made new! Today’s ministry story happened during the first year of our ministry here. We invite you to journey with us through this difficult ministry encounter. Be prepared to be touched by this sad story.
We recently had the joy of attending the graduation dinner for our friend Jonatan.
Jonatan was a Child Of Promise. He grew up in the Santa Clara Church and his family has been active in that ministry for many years. Somewhere we even have an old photograph (non-digital) of a young Timothy and Jonatan’s father taken during one of Timothy’s youthful visits.
Thanks to the love and encouragement of his Family, Church, former missionary and Children of Promise director Karen Lambert and of course his Sponsor he has now earned an engineering degree and has even invented a machine that makes fertilizer pellets!
Jonatan is a sharp young man, a very hard worker and has a bright future ahead of him.
Jonatan’s Children of Promise sponsor is unique because they continued their encouragement and financial support well beyond their original commitment. Sometimes when you connect through COP you make life long friendships!
Angelita and I love how Jonatan’s story has turned out so far and we look forward to walking alongside all of our Children of Promise on whatever adventures may come!
We are always amazed by the generosity of our supporters! We know that many of you are actively looking for opportunities to make a positive difference in this world. Many of you have asked about needs in our ministry here in Ecuador. With that in mind we want to introduce Jean to you.
Jean is one of our Children of Promise kids who are currently waiting for a sponsor. He lives in a small costal town and is an active member of the church there.
Jean is in 7th grade and his favorite subjects are Math and Natural Science. He has one brother and one sister and along with them he lives with his Mom and Dad in a three room house made of cement and zinc roofing. There is water, electricity, and a latrine at the house. Assistance is needed for Jean’s school fees and basic necessities.
Jean has a bright future and we invite you, your family, your Sunday school, your small group or your church to become part of his life.
For just $38 dollars a month you can partner with Jean through Children of Promise and our ministry. You can help mentor him through your letters and your monthly donation will help him succeed educationally.
One of the ministries we are honored to be a part of is the Children of Promise sponsorship program. We help facilitate the relationship between our Children and their sponsors (padrinos). Currently that is over ninety relationships!
This year we celebrated Christmas with several churches and their Children of Promise. We wish we could have celebrated with all of our COP churches. We represented the padrinos at each celebration. What the kids wanted to say to their supporters, they said to us. It was an honor. We also gave greetings and presents on behalf of the padrinos.
One of the pure joys we experienced this Christmas was the reply to a simple question that we asked each child. “What do you want to be when you grow up?” Each child, no matter their age had a goal that they were working toward! What happens when the same question is asked of a child not in our program? The results vary but most kids here do not have a plan, but most kids here don’t have a padrino who mentors and encourages them through their correspondence.
We see them. We see the gripping photos of children and parents separated from each other on the U.S. southern border. Our hearts are broken. We also hear the political arguments and the unhelpful moral grandstanding.
We see the social media posts, some from truly thoughtful people and some from people who seem highly concerned with this issue until the next election cycle. In the public discourse we see the depths of compassion juxtaposed with the glibness of scoring cheap political points.
We read powerful and often one sided reporting. We hear people who are involved in Christian organizations state that the only Christ-like position on this issue is to oppose this practice and insure that families get to stay together.
We are missionaries with great compassion for those who want nothing more than hope and opportunity for their children. We are serving alongside a movement of believers who have decided that we will be part of the solution to sex slavery and all forms of modern slavery and human trafficking. It is through this lens that we examine the border situation.
We do need to take a stand on this practice of separation but it is an issue that we have found conflicting. It is not simple! We do not want to see parents and children separated. However, if the parents in question are not using a passport or other documents to prove that the children who are with them are indeed theirs, separation seems to be the only safe alternative for the children. Why would we think this, especially when there is a tidal wave of people who are against this practice. Because we are very familiar with the numbers.
According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime reports the percentage of child trafficking victims has risen dramatically in the last several years.
Of every three child victims, two are girls and one is a boy.
The gender and age profile of victims globally is 59% Women – 14% Men – 17% Girls and 10% Boys.
600,000 to 800,000 women, children and men are bought and sold across international borders every year and exploited for forced labor or commercial sex according to the U.S. Government.
When internal trafficking victims are added to the estimates, the number of victims annually is in the range of 2 to 4 million.
50% of those victims are estimated to be children.
2 million children are subjected to prostitution in the global commercial sex trade according to UNICEF.
There are 1.5 Million human trafficking victims in the United States.
Revenue from human trafficking has surpassed the illegal sale of drugs. (Drugs are used once and they are gone. Victims of child trafficking can be used and abused repeatedly).
The $32 billion-a-year industry of human trafficking is on the rise and is in all 50 states according to the U.S. Government.
4.5 Million of trafficked persons are sexually exploited.
The average life expectancy of an underaged traffic victim is 4 to 7 horrific years. (The most common means of death for these victims is suicide, abuse and untreated STDs).
These are statistics from 2012, the year we first began to look into this issue.
Modern day slavery is real! The southern border of the United States is a major human trafficking corridor. Perhaps the responsible thing to do on the U.S. border is to separate minors from adults when they enter without documentation until it can be established that the adults are actually parents and the children are not actually victims.
We post these thoughts knowing that the knee-jerk reaction for many will be to filter these things through the lens of their political leanings. We ask that you, dear reader, resist this temptation. We know that this topic is fraught with politics but we have tried to warn about something more important than politics, modern day slavery.
The one political statement we will make is this: Unfortunately, we will have to leave it up to our politicians to come up with a humane way to keep families together while at the same time protecting the nearly unbelievable numbers of victims being trafficked at the borders. Although we have little faith in politicians from either side of the isle to be able to act in the interest of anyone but themselves. The power that we do have it to apply pressure on our elected officials to put aside the hatred that they hold for the opposite party and actually do something to protect the children who are caught up in the dangerous situation at the U.S. border.
Today is June 19. Juneteenth. It is the day that we celebrate the end of the U.S. Civil War and the emancipation of all slaves in the U.S. The end of the stain of America’s original sin of slavery. We work diligently for the end of modern slavery, and we hope to see the end of human trafficking and sex slavery in our lifetime!
What Can You Do?
You can help us fight human trafficking before it begins, ensuring a child has opportunities by becoming a Child of Promise supporter. This is the organization that we are involved with because it goes beyond providing a child with financial support, it gives you the opportunity to speak into the life of a child through letter exchanges. You can be a supporting voice in the life of a deserving child! We also love that this program joins children with the local church, giving them a group of believers to help them along in life. You can click here to check out the Children of Promise website for further details.
This week we had the honor of visiting with our brothers and sisters in the Sucumbios Province. The Sucumbios Province is located in the Oriente and borders both Colombia and Peru. It is a jungle Province. We were delighted to be able to visit both the Lumbaqui and the Amazones Churches.
The Lumbaqui Church.
The Amazones Church.
We loved meeting the Children of Promise in Lumbaqui. (If you would like to support a child here in Ecuador please call the Children of Promise office at 1.765.648.2190 and ask for information about kids in Ecuador).
The purpose of our recent trips is multifaceted. We need to spend quality time with our Pastors and church leaders to get to know them and their families. We also want to meet as many of our Children of Promise kids as possible we want to know them and pray for them. It is important for us to enter into the lives of our new friends on their terms and in their context. During this trip we had a wonderful opportunity to spend much time with the pastor and many of the leaders in the two churches. We were even taken to into the Jungle to experience some fun with our brothers and sisters.
One aspect of our journeys that we should share is the road there. Driving can get mundane but in Ecuador driving requires hyper awareness. You never know when you might encounter a bus passing another bus on a blind mountain curve or a damaged road or a pedestrian. This trip went well we only had to stop at one police check point!
We were blessed beyond measure during our visit to the jungle the hospitality and love we experienced provides for a firm foundation for lasting relationships.
Once again we are proud to be Christ’s hands and feet here in Ecuador. If you would like to learn more about us or join our support team please click here.