Thursday, September 22, 2011

Learning and Growing

Dear friends,

Fall greetings! We are sad to be missing the autumn temperatures in the States right now. The weather here remains quite warm, but we are becoming acclimated to it.

Thank you for your consistent prayers and encouragement over the past several months. We have now completed our internship with the Hard Places Community (HPC). Our time with the HPC was full of intense learning and hands-on service as we ministered to street children and their families; they live in extreme poverty and are at high risk of being sold for sex. Working with the children’s program at the park and the newly opened boy’s center were challenging and profound experiences for us.

Following this time of learning and growing, we decided to expand our education in the field of anti-human trafficking by partnering with new organizations. We are now focusing on three things. First, we are more intently learning the Khmer language, as this is critical to deepening relationships and engaging directly with those in need. Second, we are meeting with several other organizations that work in anti-trafficking in Phnom Penh to learn about their ministry and how to partner with them as we continue to learn and serve in this field. And third, we are volunteering to work on curriculum development with a few organizations in Phnom Penh. Given our background in education, we can use our skills to help advance the work of local projects that teach about preventing the abuse and exploitation of children.

The work of fighting human trafficking and sexual exploitation has many layers. Organizations often specialize and focus on just one or two areas in order to provide quality care. Then, by cooperating together, they can provide a complete spectrum of services to families. Some of these areas are: prevention, social work, rescue, counseling (aftercare), education, vocational/job training. Here are a few of the standout Christian organizations we have met with:

Daughters of Cambodia

Daughters of Cambodia has developed a unique model for Cambodia, one in which sex workers come directly to the organization from the brothels by their own volition. Daughters is not a shelter, but they facilitate the girls' exit from the sex industry by providing a number of resources and programs that enable them to sustain healthy choices for themselves.

Agape International Missions

Agape International Missions (AIM) provides holistic care to rescued victims of sex trafficking through a residential shelter. AIM is highly involved in equipping and mobilizing the local church to take action and helps build church-sponsored community centers and schools in areas with a high concentration of sex trafficking.

Precious Women

Precious Women is a Khmer Christian organization that reaches out to disadvantaged and vulnerable women who are working in brothels, beer gardens, bars and karaoke halls. Precious Women promotes value and dignity through counseling, job opportunities and life skills training.

Please pray for us as we continue to study the language, meet with organizations, and volunteer with various ministries. We hope to have more information in the coming weeks as to where our gifts and desires best match one of these groups and its’ needs. We remain committed to being in Cambodia and confident that God has us right where He wants us. Thank you for your continued partnership in our work here in Cambodia!

Much love,

Kimberly, Rachel, and Becki