We are hearing more about human-trafficking in the US due to the flow of lives across our southern border, many are children who are accompanied to the border from the south and are abandoned as soon as the “adult” transporting them can flee into the US.
This is human trafficking:
“the unlawful act of transporting or coercing people in order to benefit from their work or service, typically in the form of forced labor or sexual exploitation.”
The purpose of this post is not political. It is protective. The children being exploited as “tickets” to cross into the US in a presumed family are frequently exploited sexually along the way to our border and then abandoned without education, income, safety or guardians once they get across our border. Such children are then prime for another round of exploitation after arriving in the US.
Be against human-trafficking. For the safety of the children, be against it. Don’t pretend it isn’t happening or is just a handful of cases. It is dominant and the success of exploiting children in this way increases the number of people who do it.
Join us in the battle. Invite us to hold a Human Trafficking Awareness Event in you church, school, business or neighborhood.
“Same same but different” is a phrase used in the markets in Asia. When you want something red but they only have blue, the seller says “same same but different”. Or if you want something in a large size but they only have small, again, “same same but different”. The sale is more important than you getting what you want.
While 2021 is almost upon us, 12 new months, the same as any year, let’s pray for a big difference and not so much “same same”.
For six years we developed outreach and strategies for strengthening the local believing community so that their testimony grew in impact. We returned to the US confident that the Lord had begun a good work. Then Covid brought the strangest and strongest challenge – and we were concerned.
Our ability to sell jewelry which provides support to the brass artisan group ceased. We could not schedule human trafficking awareness events where we also sell goods. Import of jewelry stopped.
We are now scheduling events again. Contact Pete for info. Engage your group in this serious battle for freedom.
The school was forced to close by government edict even with no Covid infections in the students or staff. It remained closed for 7 months. This could have been devastating. In fact for many businesses it was. But our compassionate supporters stepped up and helped with sustaining donations to insure the school could hold its staff and continue to work outside the school with the kids and families. What a blessing.
The school has focused on becoming self-sustaining and the closure brought the tuition income to zero instantly. The committed staff volunteered to take a 50% pay cut just to stay engaged and our donors stepped in. What a compassionate step.
Now, we are back to regrowing the businesses and the school. We are looking to expand and start another school. We are looking to return to assist. Even if we cannot return permanently, we plan to return to advance the work.
Covid has changed the world.
If you have been engaged with us through financial support in 2020 or earlier, we say thank you. You have kept us advancing.
If you would like to engage for 2021, please consider well the accomplishments that we expect for 2021 and beyond and make your tax deductible gift here. IncurableFanatics donor info
Join with us for 2021. Give to your church first, if you want to give to additional causes, please consider this.
When plans are disrupted. When the ability to plan around those disruptions goes away. When that inability extends on and on and…….on.
Familiar? Who isn’t.
When these things happen in a community already brittle because the default setting of life is not rooted in the Gospel, a disruption of this magnitude is vast in breadth and depth. Children are frequently lost in the wake or disruption, “trampled” by those who should care for them. I am not being dramatic. This is real. This is the rolling effect of Covid across our nation and around the world.
Yes, I agree, it is tragic that people suffer and some die of Covid, but there is an even more widespread form of suffering – Abuse. Child abuse.
In our area of work for the last 6 years, Cambodia, the level of Covid infections TOTAL is 275. Recovered total is 274. There is 1 active case and no deaths. I cannot explain how they have escaped what the rest of the world has suffered but, I can speak to the rapid rise in threat to child safety and the rise in the awful things adults with spare time do to vulnerable kids. While the infections from Covid are low in Cambodia the rolling effect of child trauma has dramatically and quietly increased. The unofficial reports are the wave hitting kids is huge.
We are asking the Lord about a return to the work we thought was turning a corner. In reality, it has turned some very critical corners. But now there are new “corners” to face. Please join us in praying about what is next that He would have us do.
Join us in the battle to claim new ground and reclaim areas that have reverted back. Pray the power of God will help those lead workers to persevere.
If you have already supported your local church and have it in your heart to do more, please consider a tax deductible donation to Incurable Fanatics.
One of the works of Incurable Fanatics has been to train and empower local leaders, those who suffer with the bad and rejoice with the good right in their own neighborhood, to stop the circumstances of child trafficking themselves. Say NO, and then put action to the words.
At New Vision School Cambodia this is what these young leaders are doing. Changing their own lives and building a better future for the children in their community.
Covid 19 hit and the tuition stopped because jobs stopped. Jobs stopped because factories closed. Many schools went bankrupt in short order. Many closed and terminated teachers. At New Vision School, the work is not just about the classroom. It is about changing their world. So the teachers went on 1/2 salary but kept working so they could keep track of the children, their safety and provide at home lessons. All while no tuition was being received.
But generous donors stepped up to form a bridge to help them continue on. And they have.
And they want to say thank you. Watch the short video. It is a real THANK YOU.
If you would like to support the work, tax deductible donations are received DONATE HERE
Trying to make sense of Super Bowl 54 halftime “entertainment”.
Because of the value of all human life, because of my view of women inspired by God’s Word, because I have worked in human trafficking prevention and recovery and because I have seen the entry doors to brothels with children and young slaves inviting perpetrators of evil to enter in, because I know that these invitations lead to the decay and destruction of dignity, equality, honor, respect and even perceptions of the value of an individuals life; I am appalled by the halftime show of Super Bowl 54.
Last night, for the little I watched, I was peering at the “designed to entice entry to the brothel” value of women and young (very young) girls. I have seen where this goes and it is destructive to life. It certainly debases women and emboldens an objectifying view of all women.
How many men watching in bars, homes and even in their churches last night, were pushed toward lustful thoughts? How many let those thoughts run unchecked?
It hurt my heart to see it elevated as “entertainment”.
Ephesians 5:3 my dear friends is so fitting.
Dads. Next time such a display comes to your TV take your sons and daughters from the room.
Dads. Tell the NFL, and Fox Sports you would not want your daughters on that stage (even if they were paid huge amounts of money – does the dignity of your wife or daughter have a price tag?). You don’t want them aspiring to be stars of openly suggestive behavior. That is well below the design of God for women. And this is happening at a time when there is acute awareness in the US thru #metoo.
Dads, what is your life displaying to your children?
Last night, I had to get up and do dishes. My heart aches for the lost view and value of purity in the world today.
Dads, lead the charge to restore it in your home.
You can join us in this fight by supporting our drive to grow awareness to the pressures resulting in human trafficking and the drive to end it- here, there, anywhere! DONATE
When God decides he is moving, look out he will exceed your expectations.
If you support us, read here about the extraordinary model for spreading the Gospel God dropped on us. If, after reading this you want to be a part of this extraordinary model, you can DONATE here.
Our intention in Cambodia was to be seed planters and ground cultivators. We never set out to be harvesters. That does not mean we were not evangelistic. Quite the contrary. The Gospel has always been the primary motivator but assisting the local people harvest has always been and continues to be the vision of Incurable Fanatics. We do not report “decisions”. We report disciple makers and disciple making environments. Functions and people ministering to their friends and neighbors. Planting, growing and harvesting among themselves. This was the vision God gave to us.
Wow! He has exceeded our vision to make sure his vision goes on.
Our role has shifted from instigators to planters to mentors to coaches to advisors to consultants and now resourcers and idea planters. We remain connected and available but constant presence is now in their hands and the blossom of this fruit looks delightful.
At the school, affectionately called ”Purple School” in the community, staff are discipled 5-6 days per week in ongoing biblical training written and used by Debbie with the first staff group. The teachers then impart that biblical foundation into a growing group of students now exceeding 260. And that training is happening 5 days a week 8-10 hours each day in each subject. The kids are in school all day because their parents are at work in garment factories 10 hours a day. School is their safe place.
The level and intensity of discipleship is Thank previously unknown to me. It truly is a Mighty Work of God.
We also work in the community with local believers to advance micro-businesses so that they can secure more reasonable income. A more reasonable income means they can afford some tuition for their children and this in turn grows a self-sustaining school.
Join us in the next phase as look to start the same school and business program in another at-risk community. Help us help THEM deliver the life saving FREEDOM offer of the Gospel. DONATE here, tax deductible.
Five years ago we set out on a journey to change lives with the Gospel as the essential tool in our tool box and broken education and job environments the workplace that was sending children at a horrendous rate into human trafficking – not by their choice, but as slaves. It took us two years to gain sufficient context and language understanding to see exactly how God had prepared us to bring transforming opportunities to those affected and to do it so that God is the one who is glorified when the captives are set free.
Now we have seen his transformation take shape. We have seen local leaders rise up and take charge and bring change. The joy that surrounds these “change managers” who understand that education and job opportunities alone are only the beginning, that real change only occurs with the Gospel, these are the folks who will change their world.
We are merely their mentors. (Read Isaiah 61)
We are eager to see this movement grow. But to do it we need financial seed to get more classrooms opened and hopefully new schools started. Each classroom modestly equipped, staff trained and started. We have a financial, model now proven, in the first school and want to repeat it to create a dynamic interacting brotherhood of schools all focused on the Gospel.
We have three driving directives:
1. Glorify God
2. Teach about God
3. Witness about God
Each of these gets flooded daily into the staff and student of the school. It is 8-10 hours a day of discipleship into newly trained teachers who in turn witness into the lives of the local children who also hear and live in the Gospel environment 8-10 hours every day of the week. Disciples making disciples who witness in their community.
Here is a picture from the front of Purple School. It is the first and now clearly demonstrated model of a school established to be self-sustaining and it is growing rapidly both in enrollment and in influence.
Now, we have been offered another site to start another school using the same model.
It takes seed funding to make this happen. We need deposits, desks, chairs and marker boards. Supplies and start-up staffing costs. The model is designed to result in self-sustainability inside of 2 years. The first school is well ahead of the target. We have learned a lot. We have demonstrated a lot. And the reputation has now resulted in invitations to start new schools in communities where children suffer both financial and educational poverty and therefore are susceptible to human trafficking. The work we are advancing is a game changer. The people we work with are community changers. They are all in with the power of the Gospel.
Consider being a sponsor of this work. All donations are tax deductible. DONATE HERE
Share this link with your friends. Tell them to join you and get on board.
I have lost a big piece of my heart. Hopefully only temporarily. Or perhaps I have found that a piece of me has been deposited in hundreds of young people whose destiny has been redirected in the work of God for them.
Oh my! What could have been that likely for them now will not be. The future for many of these kids and their families has been diverted by God intervening to establish something for their benefit and long-term growth.
And Debbie and I have had five years to witness and participate in the move.
For a farmer, it is the seed that bares fruit. It is what is inside the seed that brings forth the crop. Fertilizer does not yield fruit. Irrigation does not yield fruit. Tending to the weeds and chaff does not yield fruit. Only the seed has the power to yield fruit, the rest is just assistance. God is bringing forth the fruit!
For us, we have been like the fertilizer or the field tenders who pull out weeds. Carefully we have instructed, mentored and showed the way to a new generation of “field tenders”; but this next group of farmers are home grown and have risen up from among the people to whom they will now lead.
We will depart Cambodia to assume a different kind of role with these young leaders. We will still advise but now from a distance. To truly take hold of the opportunities and conditions of their country, to rise into leadership so that the work becomes self-sustaining and self-perpetuating, we have to step back.
I confess that this is very hard for us. Not that we lack confidence in those now leading but because we have laid ourselves out without holding back for five years. The work has consumed and enriched us simultaneously. We have found new weaknesses in ourselves and new strength in God as we lean into an lay hold of the Truth of his plan. Stepping back means not seeing daily people we love. Not soaking in the hugs of children who demonstratively love on us even more than we have loved on them.
The time has come to watch the harvest field grow its own crop. Time to see those who have been shown how to lead be given the opportunity to lead.
We aren’t disappearing from the work. We are merely stepping into roles that let those with talent, dedication and now experience assume the roles God has for them. Leading their own village work and changing their own communities.
We are NOT EXITING the work. Please stay with us and say what God will do next. We have one new school site already ready to assemble. Site selected, now we just need the seed finances to get it moving to self-sustaining and perpetuating. JOIN us in this next adventure. DONATE HERE
Stay tuned in for what we are calling the “PURPLE SCHOOL PROJECT”. Your tax deductible donations will help us repeat the process we have begun.
13 times. 5 states and 2 countries. Pete and I have watched that moving truck pull away with all our earthly possessions. And now we sit in a local hotel with 4 suitcases awaiting customs clearance. Now we know this is just “stuff”, but your stuff forms a home for the inhabitants to enjoy. Cambodia was a huge, life-changing experience for us. A combination of love and hate. Loving our sense of purpose and Khmer co-workers while hating the harshness of a totalitarian, godless environment. And now our hearts are divided when people ask, “Where are you from?” In our 60’s still learning, growing, experiencing. On a day I was really struggling in Cambodia, the Lord reminded me to choose joy and find beauty in the things around me. (“Count it all joy…” James 1:2) And so on my daily tuk tuk ride to work I would renew my mind with the “joys” I’ve found in our mission work in Cambodia. These are some of the things I’ll miss…
Iced lemon tea, $8 foot massages, beef lok lak, tuk tuk rides, roosters crowing at 4am, Asian iced coffee, bare feet at church, moto rides with Pete, laundry washed ironed and folded for $2/kilo, cell phone plans- 2 phones $8/month, mangos, longyan, rambutan, custard apples, snake fruit, papaya, plimeon, red dragon fruit, and no sales tax.
I’ll also miss our beautiful, talented, amazing Khmer staff, little ones peeking into my office every day, being call Ya (grandmother) and Da (grandfather), simple gifts from Khmer friends: origami roses, fruit, homemade soup and our school director whom we now call “daughter”.
But I most definitely, will not miss… horrendous traffic, roosterscrowing at 4am, trash and filth everywhere, 90 days straight of 100 degrees, 3 showers a day, sewer gas, bribes, lice, pinkeye, stomach issues, diarrhea, techno pop music, dried crunchy laundry, corrupt police, dictatorship governments, no Ohio State football on TV, power outages, water dribbles for a shower, ants, ants, ants, reverse discrimination, strawberries $10 a pint, Cambodian beef (leather in disguise), rice 3x a day, no red Twizzlers, Durian (stinky fruit), Khmer words that has 4 different meanings, no Diet Dr Pepper and no Christmas, Easter, Thanksgiving or 4th of July.
Do be praying for us and our work to be sustained in Cambodia. (#purpleschool) In God’s typical fashion with us, He has led us away from our finished work here for the Cambodians to embrace it for themselves, but He has not revealed our next “work” for us. Know anyone needing an awesome experienced Executive Pastor, a passionate experienced Mission Pastor, the best hands-on Marriage and Family Pastor or an advocate for the anti-trafficking movement? Please let us know.
Grateful thanks to you all for sharing this experience with us.
“Let your work be shown to your servants,and your glorious power to their children.Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us and establish the work of our hands upon us;yes, establish the work of our hands!” (Psalm 90:16-17 ESV)
Our work is focused on introducing the Gospel through education and business. Then advancing forward into the communities through the local believers.
#purpleschool has been at the forefront for the last 2 1/2 years for our emphasis and we are so pleased to see the reach it has. First, to more than 200 children (and growing) and then to the teachers who come for training. The Bible flows through the education everyday.
AND THE PARENTS LOVE WHAT THEY ARE SEEING DEVELOP IN THESE KIDS AND THE TEACHERS.
Second, something outside our plan is happening. In a country with <2% believers, finding Christian teachers has been difficult. So, we are home-growing teachers from within the Christian community. Equipping the called. Sound familiar? It is the way of God and we did not see this part coming but we are enjoying the wonder of his ways.