SUBSCRIBE TO OUR MAILING LIST

 

 




GIVE ANYWHERE, ANYTIME

TEXT provlife to 77977

WHAT WE'RE LISTENING TO

 

 

Prov Blog

Social Justice Month
Aug 14, 2017
0

Note from editor: Each month, we highlight a partnership, ministry, or topic on the Prov Blog. During the month of August, join us as we hear real stories about social justice, and learn how you can play a part in seeking Kingdom Justice in the world, leading up to Freedom Sunday on September 24th. 

I first encountered human trafficking in the Middle East, and I still was not sure if what I saw was human trafficking for many months.

An all-too-common practice in the Middle East is to hire East Asian woman as house maids. The women live with the their employers, and often the families that hire them become their whole lives. Some of the best families treat their maid like another family member, allowing them to eat at the table, celebrate birthdays, and enjoy going shopping. But even in the nicest of homes they are the only one cleaning, cooking, and caring for the home. The worst of the homes, the family takes the passport from the maid, claiming that it is for their own safety. The families themselves believe these women are incapable of taking care of themselves, and need to be in bondage to survive. They don’t have a room, are not acknowledged by name, and forced to work beyond their capacity, with no end in sight.

My only encounter with this nameless East Asian woman was in the home of a wealthy family in the Middle East. She was on the floor sleeping on a thin cot too small for her, in the corner of a dark kitchen. No one acknowledged her, but rather brushed off her presence. I looked at her and did all I could at the time, I prayed.

This specific instance was surrounded by debate about what was willful employment and what was bondage, and this girl was caught in between. Disagreement over what was ‘good’ for the house maid and what was dangerous was deeply discussed in social circles. To her employers freedom was dangerous, but to her the home was her prison in which she wasn’t even allowing her to live. But the young maid was suffering whether or not we knew her whole story, or the reasons for her slavery.

Human trafficking is defined internationally as recruiting, harboring, transporting, providing, or obtaining a person for labor or commercial sex acts through force, fraud or coercion. This is exactly what Middle Eastern society lives with every day, and this is exactly what is around us in the US and most of the world. Most attention for human trafficking is sex slavery, which is indeed a horrid crime. But the most prevalent form of human trafficking around the world is through labor trafficking. It is in the US, not only through the use of forced labor, but purchasing goods made through forced labor around the world.

This East Asian maid opened my eyes to the horrors that can come out of poverty and desperation for money - she could have been bought, sold, or even willfully put herself into slavery. She has a story, and it is similar to so many others whose lives are no longer their own. Who are unsafe, uncared for, and hopeless. Individuals in factories, producing goods for cheap exports are facing similar horrors every day.

With every purchase there is a story, behind every good is an assembly line of people that may be forced labor or child labor. They have stories, faces, and souls for which Christ died. We cannot know everyone’s stories, every face, or every reason human trafficking takes place. But we can do our part to prevent trafficking, and to share Christ’s love with those who have been harmed by it.

 

Some tangible ways to act:

  1. Pray for human trafficking victims. Christ knows their faces, names, and stories. We can lift them up to our Creator and Redeemer, asking for them to be saved, both from earthly bondage but also from the bondage of sin into salvation and complete freedom.
  2. Know what you’re buying, and where they are made. Demand brings supply,and if we make a stand for goods free from the slave trade, companies will listen. This site, among others, shows who made our goods, and how https://www.dol.gov/ilab/reports/child-labor/list-of-goods/
  3. Go and serve! Much of the needs revolve around prevention and rehabilitation. TEAM has many opportunities to go serve around the world, to serve vulnerable women, create stable economies, and bring education. You can finds specific ways to serve here https://team.org/ministry-areas/social-justice

Prov Blog

Social Justice Month
Aug 08, 2017
0

Note from editor: Each month, we highlight a partnership, ministry, or topic on the Prov Blog. During the month of August, join us as we hear real stories about social justice, and learn how you can play a part in seeking Kingdom Justice in the world, leading up to Freedom Sunday on September 24th. 

45 million– That’s a hard number to wrap my mind around. I can imagine 100, 1,000 or even 10,000, but beyond that– I have a difficult time relating to large numbers. Typically, I ignore them, but not this time. Why is 45,000,000 important? It represents the number of people who are enslaved today in the 21st century. Today, International Justice Mission (IJM) estimates that there are more than 45 million people suffering from slavery today. That’s more than at any other time in human history. What? How can that be? Often when I read statistics like these I am emotionally moved. I might bring up the facts in a dinner conversation or post an article on my Facebook page. Yet, within a few days, I move those nameless millions of people to the back of my mind. I mean really, what can I do about it,
anyway?

But this time my attention kept being drawn to the problem of slavery in our world through IJM's concept of Freedom Sunday. Freedom Sunday is an invitation for the church to set aside one day to learn about slavery and partnering with IJM to end it. One day to learn about slavery seemed reasonable to me; I could do that! As I started exploring IJMs materials about Freedom Sunday the concept of a tipping point: the critical point in a situation, process or system beyond which a significant and often unstoppable effect or change takes place came forward. I was reminded that in 1786 William Wilberforce and Thomas Clarkson began moving a nation toward a tipping point with a simple diagram of a slave ship. These men understood that “many small actions conducted in great faith can overpower even the most formidable odds.” Today the International Justice Mission believes we are closer than ever in reaching the tipping point that will end slavery in the world. Imagine, Providence,
lending our voices to that cause. Join me on Freedom Sunday, September 24th and learn how

Join me on Freedom Sunday, September 24th and learn how we can play a role in ending modern-day slavery.

Prov Blog

Praise God! Amen!
Jul 31, 2017
0

Editor's note: Each month, we focus on one of our partnerships as a ministry highlight. July's posts on Neema are coming to an end, but you can follow the Neema Project blog at neemaproject.org/blog. 

"Praise God."
"Amen!"
"Praise God again."
"Amen!"

This call and response has become one my favorite things about the Kenyan church and can be heard wherever Christians gather. Kenyans are passionate about their relationship with the Lord, and their passion extends beyond their words.  It's heard in the intensity of their prayers, seen in their movement and dance during worship, expressed in their continual affirmations during a sermon, poured out in their constant service of others, and lived in their sacrificial giving that never ceases.

I had the opportunity, along with Ryan Enns and Carl Green, to spend some time with a handful of these passionate Kenyan church members. For three days we taught local pastors and church leaders on Leadership and Marriage at the Latter Day Rain Pentecostal Church in Kitale. This church is run by Pastor Amos Waswe and is the home church of Anne Kasili , the In-Country Director of the Neema Project. For a couple months I had been hearing the name Pastor Amos, but had no idea what to expect. When I finally met him, I encountered a young, selfless servant of the Lord with an infectious vision to reach thousands of people for Christ, not only in Kenya, but around the world.

 Pastor Amos set the tone for the conference with his eagerness to learn, and the 60-70 others who attended emulated his desire. In the States we have endless resources for pastors and church leaders. But in places like Kitale, Kenya those resources are lacking, and oftentimes pastors lead with no schooling, training, or resources whatsoever, driven only by a love for Jesus and a desire to see others encounter that love. So to say they were eager to learn is an understatement. And what a blessing it was to share with them (out of our embarrassing abundance) the things we've learned and to encourage them to put those things into practice.

 The first day was spent adjusting to the 'Kenyan klock' as Carl put it (we were supposed to start at 9am, but didn't get underway until 11am), but once we began, Bibles were out and notes were furiously being taken. For the first two days, Carl, Ryan, and myself taught on things which pertain to the church and those who lead it. Carl showed everyone how to study the Bible, explaining how to use paragraph breaks to begin charting out an entire book of the Bible. For homework the first night, he had those in attendance pick a book of the Bible, read through it 6-10 times and then chart it out. What a joy it was to show up the next day and see a handful of them joyfully writing out on the large white sheets of paper we had hung on the walls the charts they had diligently put together. When we took the markers away from them in order to get their attention so we could start the second day's sessions, they pulled out their ball point pens and kept writing! They were so excited with this new knowledge; I'm sure it will transform how they read and study the Scriptures.

 Ryan spoke on the principles of healthy leadership, urging them to first rely on God in all they do as leaders. Among other things, he reminded them of the importance of being humble and not leading for the glory of themselves. He showed them how visions will die with those leaders who don't reproduce themselves in others by intentionally raising up new leaders.

 I taught on the spiritual life of a leader and the importance of taking care of one's own soul. Using the story of Nehemiah and the rebuilding of Jerusalem's walls as a metaphor, I presented five guidelines for how to effectively build up our own spiritual lives. We are to have hearts that are fully devoted to God by remaining in the vine.

 On day three, we held a marriage seminar, with Carl teaching on the roles of husbands and wives, Ryan teaching on balancing your marriage and ministry, and myself teaching in the devotional life of a married couple. We even had Ryan's wife, Kate, come and share her perspective as a wife! Oftentimes, in places like Africa, marriages are unbalanced and not lived out the way God intended. Pray that the things they heard would stick and transform their marriages.

 Everyday in between our three sessions, a lunch hour church service was held. This is one of thirteen gatherings (yes thirteen!!) that Pastor Amos's church has in a week (one of which is an all night prayer service on Fridays from 9pm until 5 am...every week!). Also, everyday a different group of Neema girls came and prepared lunch for 75-100 people, starting around 10am and working diligently - prepping and cooking in the open air, with no kitchen, over open fires - until 2pm when lunch was served. They selflessly served, and this conference would not have been possible without them. Thank you Neema!

 I think this week can be summed up like this: what we may have given them in information, they gave back to us in their demonstration of faith, their passion for Jesus, and their selfless service to the Lord. I may have come over with information to teach, but I'm returning with those things which information could never give me. Praise God!

Greg Lusby
Neema Team 2017

See more at neemaproject.org

Prov Blog

Neema Stories
Jul 18, 2017
0

ELLY:  "I thank God for giving me a second chance.  The first part of my life was very bad, I did not think I would have another chance, but God has given me one.  I thank God for bringing me to this place.  I did not know how to pray, read the Bible, or preach.  I now know the word of God and I can stand and preach."


IRENE:  "I have learned that Jesus can help.  God has changed my life.  I am someone better than I was before.  I have learned to pray and to offer forgiveness to those who hurt me,"
 

RUTH:  “When I came to Neema my life was down.  Then I met God.  I did not know God, I did not know worshipping.  Now I can preach and do many other things God sends us to do.”  (Ruth Nafula)
 

 
PAMELA:  "I had nothing to do at home and now I have been given purpose.  God has done many things in my life and I now recognize more of God."  
 

BILHA:  "Before I came to Neema I did not know Jesus.  But now I know Jesus and he makes me feel confident.  At Neema I got saved and learned to preach.  I can even share something with my friends.  At Neema I learned skills and I am happy because I am now earning money and I am an example to other Neema girls."
 
 

ELIZABETH:  When I sat at home, I did not know about God or how to pray.  Now I know how to pray and I know that God knows me.  My heart was hard when I stay home.  Now my heart is FREE!"
 
 
 

Prov Blog

Neema Partnership
Jul 11, 2017
0

At Neema, we value partnership, fostering relationships for the purpose of community building.  Neema is a stronger organization because of our partnership with Providence.  By coming alongside one another, we strengthen each other to love and care for those we serve.  This is evident in the strong and lasting relationships that develop between those supporting Neema girls or investing their time in traveling to Kenya, spending time fostering relationships with the staff and girls at Neema.  Together we are impacting one another to love Jesus and love others.   

This week as a Providence team is in Kitale, we are seeing and hearing first hand how the Lord is at work, transforming hearts for His glory.  At the heart of Neema's work is discipleship, cultivating Christ-centered mentoring for the purpose of personal and community transformation.  On Sunday, 21 Neema girls made the decision to make a public profession of their faith by being baptized. Leaders from a local Kenyan church joined together with leaders from Providence to baptize these young women.  The team and the Neema family stood together to celebrate each one of these precious lives as they took this step in their journey with Christ.  

Together, we have an opportunity to spur one another on in our faith and love for Christ and others.  Together, we celebrate the life transformation that comes from being made whole from the inside out.  Whether it is Bilha in Kenya or Brooke in West Chester, we are all made in His image and we all have an opportunity to be deeply impacted by our relationships with Christ and one another.  

Thank you for continuing to partner with Neema, as we seek to share the greatest story ever told to some pretty incredible vulnerable young women, for the glory of God. 

 

 

© 2017 Providence Church | West Chester   |   430 Hannum Ave, West Chester, PA US 19382