Mission News Network

News Worth Listening To
  1. India (MNN) -- The latest report from the United States Department of State says human trafficking in India spiked at least 25 percent last year. Every hour, four women and girls enter prostitution in India -- three of them against their will. There are a few contributing factors to the dramatic increase in India’s human trafficking tragedy in 2016. Some of the factors include the 2015 earthquake in neighboring Nepal creating unstable situations, and traffickers growing more technologically advanced in their methods and document forgeries. Much of the trafficking that comes to India funnels from Nepal and Bangladesh to the major cities. Raju Sharma with Christian Aid Mission shares further sobering statistics: “The current rate that we have in India, if this continues, by 2025 one out of every five Indian girl children will be a child prostitute.... Girls aged as young as 10 are trafficked, and mostly because of economic reasons.” He goes on to explain a value trend in India that contributes to human trafficking. “Because of the belief system, the girls are not considered equal to men. They are more prone to the [trafficking] risk. So in a family, if a girl is born, it’s not considered a joy. It’s like a disgrace; it’s like a burden. The families [who] are poor...if they were hoping for boys and end up with more girls, they would like to get them rid of, because they can’t survive, they can’t feed the family. So these predators who are lurking around in the neighborhood offer them a price, and that’s how the girl gets sold out.” According to Havocscope, the average price to sell a child into human trafficking in India is $45 USD. To sell a girl child specifically into human trafficking, it only takes $24 USD. Comparatively, if you were to sell a buffalo in India, it would be about $350 USD.

    The Church Making a Difference

    With human trafficking in India on the rise, this is exactly where the Body of Christ needs to step in -- and many within the Church already are. Christian Aid’s ministry partners work to rehabilitate girls and women who have been rescued from sexual slavery. And even in the midst of deep pain and brokenness, God is moving. “Like recently, they started a small prayer group.... And through the small prayer group, there were about four of these girls who came to Christ. They were healed from brokenness and hurt and abuse and especially anger. They would react very fast and they would get angry, and through that prayer encounter, God delivered them and they were transformed.” Currently, Sharma says there are about 20 girls who need help to enter their ministry partner’s care center. Please pray that God would protect them, and that they would know they are worthy of love in Christ. Sharma says Christian Aid also wants to go to the root of the problem that makes children and families more at-risk to trafficking. “Poverty is one of them, but how do we handle poverty? So we are now assisting groups in neighborhoods that we call slums. There, where the children who don’t have access to education, [they] are the ones who are higher at risk. "We are encouraging groups and assisting them so they would start after-school [programs] or school for these children.” But it doesn’t stop there. “If a girl child is educated, basically we will educate the entire family. The problem in India is the women who are not educated. We feel if a girl or mother is educated, they will educate the rest of the people in the family.”

    Christian Educational Curriculum Donations Needed

    These schools often use Christian curriculum and start conversations about the Gospel. But they still need more curriculum materials for these schools educating at-risk kids in India’s slums. “We are looking at homeschool materials, if people would like to give -- A Beka is one of them. This is very expensive and they can’t afford to buy them. If there are families who...have books they are not using for grades one through ten, they could offer that and we could supply that back to starting these schools.” It’s a very tangible way to give kids in India a real chance at education and opportunities other than the red light districts. Even if you personally don’t have these materials to give, you can share this need with friends and family who may have curriculum to donate! With A Beka curriculum donations for grammar and math grades one through three, Christian Aid says the used books are fine, but they prefer those that are blank. A Beka material donations can be mailed to -- Christian Aid Mission, Attn: Morgan Wood, 1201 5th Street Extended, Charlottesville, VA 22902 Also, if you’d like to just give financially to this ministry in India, you can mail checks to, Christian Aid Mission, P.O. Box 9037, Charlottesville, VA  22906, using gift code 637CHM-EDU. As Sharma puts it, “At the end of the day, transformation of hearts is very important. If we do all that goodness, but the heart is not transformed, the society is not transformed. So the groups we assist have a vision to bring Jesus into the picture and Jesus is the one who will transform their lives.”
  2. Greece (MNN) – Damaris House, a ministry AMG International works with, is celebrating its one-year anniversary of serving women who’ve been human trafficked or are coming out of prostitution.

    Damaris House

    House of Damaris

    (Logo courtesy AMG International)

    The home is located in Greece, a country considered as the gateway to Europe. Being considered a “gateway” has also made Greece a prime spot for human trafficking. “The epidemic of human trafficking is a problem worldwide. And so, thankfully we’re being much more educated and much more aware of this epidemic,” AMG’s Bill Passons explains. “But specifically in Greece, it’s becoming a problem because of the desire for them to use Greece as a trafficking lane so to speak…It’s location kind of makes it easier to get there than some of the other places and kind of gives them access to the European Union and then the West from there.” Women coming out of prostitution often are left with nothing. No money, no family, and no means of bringing in an income. Some have children to support, others are just trying to escape before it is too late.

    Long-Term Care

    The Damaris House offers long-term care for these women. However, since it has the ability to take care of women and their children, the ministry does prioritize taking in women who have children first.
    Damaris House

    (Photo Courtesy AMG International via Facebook)

    Damaris House allows women to stay for up to seven years while they heal and are integrated into Greek society. Some women in the Damaris House are foreigners brought to Greece under the false pretenses of honorable work. The Damaris House helps these women navigate through these challenges. “So this house offers them the opportunity to kind of be removed from their situation and start the process towards healing. So, we do offer treatments and cares to get them help for any addictions they may have and then start the process towards [getting them] healing,” Passons shares. Damaris House is currently serving five women. While the number may seem small, the impact is huge, even if it’s just the life of one person. Along with meeting many physical and practical needs, these women are also given a chance to hear the Gospel. “Ultimately, we believe that the only that transforms people is Christ. And so, dealing with this severe, tragic situation that many of these ladies find themselves in, the power of the Gospel to heal and transform is an integral piece,” Passons says.

    How To Pray

    So please, pray for the Gospel’s work in these women’s lives. Pray for them to experience full healing and to have a full recover from the horrors they’ve faced. Also, please pray for God’s provision of Damaris House so that the ministry can continue to help women coming out of trafficking and prostitution. Passons also says AMG hopes to see another home for women opened, soon. To donate to the Damaris House, click here! Get more details about the Damaris house here!
  3. India (MNN) -- Mother’s Day is right around the corner, and you may be wondering what to do for your mom this year. Would you consider doing something really special? Something that breaks the mold? India Partners is offering a great way to honor your mom while helping a mom halfway around the world provide for her kids.

    (Photo courtesy of India Partners)

    You see, with their national partners, India Partners is growing their impact through the tailoring classes they offer. Last year at this time, the ministry had just opened their sixth school. Donna Glass of India Partners says that today, there are nine tailoring schools in operation. What’s exciting is that the tailoring classes have been able to meet the specific needs of the group of women they serve. One new school in a coastal state is geared specifically towards women who are HIV/AIDS positive. The first class graduates May 20th. In Andhra Pradesh, two other schools marked their first graduation at the end of last month. Glass says these two schools are taught by one teacher who spends half days at each. This format has given the women extra time to practice. Many of the women had already started working on tailoring projects even before they graduated. To get an idea of the impact of these classes, and the needs they answer, we’re going to tell you Falemma’s story.

    A young widow with big dreams

    (Photo courtesy of India Partners)

    Falemma was very young when her husband died of a heart attack. Often in India, being a widow not only means losing your husband, but also support from his family. You may be considered cursed. And the options for women in this position are very slim, especially if they weren’t able to finish school before getting married. They can work as a day laborer, or sadly, enter the sex trade. There’s very little else to choose from. But Falemma wasn’t strong enough to be a day laborer. She’d been weakened by polio. So, she did what she could. Glass says Falemma harvested scraps of plastic to make baskets, and used coconut leaves from her parent’s farm to make brooms. She sold these items in the market. Her mother helped where she could, but Falemma still couldn’t make ends meet. But there was one thing she wasn’t going to give up so easily — her children’s education. She knew education is the key to a brighter future. So she kept working hard. Glass says, “She’s only 38, she’s been widowed for 15 years. She became a widow when she was 23. She already had two children, a son and a daughter.” She has beaten the odds thus far, and her kids haven't been pulled from school. And now that she is graduated from the tailoring school, hopefully she’ll never have to.

    (Photo courtesy of India Partners)

    “She just has so much hope, she’s a member of the church there, where the training was held, and she just really sees this as being a really positive thing that she thinks it will make a difference for her family situation.” The particular training Falemma went through taught the women how to sew 26 different items. Glass elaborates: “It is a government certified program so their instructor was qualified, and so at the graduation somebody from the government was present. So, not only did they get a certificate of completion, they also got a government certificate which makes it much easier for them to be able to go to a bank and get a loan.” These loans can be helpful for women like Falemma who are already planning how to improve their new business for the future.
    Breaking the cycle of poverty
    So, imagine yourself in Falemma’s position. Your options are slim, and you don’t know how much longer you’ll be able to give your kids education, much less put food on the table. And then, somebody steps in, trains you in a viable career, and gives you the tools to begin earning reliable money. It’s a ray of light into an otherwise bleak future. And through this program, the brightest ray of light comes from the Gospel. During the classes, the women work through a Bible study and learn about Jesus. And at the end of the class, they’re gifted their very own sewing machine. The classes and the machines are made possible by people like you, and that makes an impact. Glass says, “It’s not just the fact that Christians all over the world are supporting it, it’s that they have this direct knowledge that this Church is opening up to them — that they’re inviting them in, whether they are Christians or not, they’re invited to come in and be part of this — they’re included in the classes.”

    So, why Mother’s Day?

    If you’ve ever heard your mom say that she doesn’t need anything this year, maybe you want to consider switching things up. After all, Glass says, “There’s only so many plants for the garden.” When you sponsor a sewing machine in your mother’s name, you’re recognizing what your mom did for you by helping a mother in India provide for her own children.

    (Photo courtesy of India Partners)

    “It’s a really nice way, providing a sewing machine to a widow or a mom in India in honor of your mom or in memory of your mom,” Glass says. And when you sponsor a machine in honor of someone, India Partners will send the recipient a card that tells them who the machine is given in honor of. This simple gift blesses two mothers at once. To sponsor a machine, click here. And meanwhile, could you pray? Glass says pray “that these women not only will learn well to be able to support their families, but through this whole process, that they would really see this is a ministry, [and] that they hear the Gospel message as they go through the training. If they’re not already Christians, [pray] that their hearts will be open -- and that for those that are Christians, that this is a good chance for discipleship for them and to be able to grow in their faith. That their lives will be blessed.”