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Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Prayer Focus - Cambodia

We are adding a new focus to our blog. Join us in prayer as every other month a different FAAST member provides us a prayer focused on where they work.

Dear almighty Father, Holy Spirit, and our most precious King Jesus,

We humbly come before you in gratitude and thanksgiving for WHO you are and what you are doing in the lives of so many!!  You've pulled multitudes out of the pit of darkness and allowed light to begin to shine in their lives and we ask in the name of Jesus for MORE of this light in a land whose history and pain has been kept in the dark.  We know that where Your light comes in, darkness must flee!  We ask for divine strategy in building up communities, empowering local leaders, and forming lasting relationships to help show each of these their self worth!!  We pray over the women and children who are experiencing abuse right now and ask that Your mighty Spirit come into their lives to offer peace and protection.  Bring your justice swiftly through the work being done in Cambodia and bring your love powerfully into this country - all for your GLORY!!

In the name of Jesus Christ,
Tiffany Atkinson & The Freedom's Promise Team
Freedom's Promise
Nashville, TN & Cambodia

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Nazarene Compassionate MInistries work in Moldova

We will call her Maria*.

She is 19 and the mother of a young son who lives with his aunt in another town in Moldova. Her mother died when Maria was young, and her father wasn’t around. She and her sister went to live with their grandparents, but things began to fall apart when her grandmother died. After a short while, Maria ran away from her grandfather to the city where her cousin lived. This same cousin introduced her to the streets, and with only a grade-9 education, Maria was prostituted for the first time. She was 13 years old.


We first met her during a volunteer training day for our Mobile Intervention Clinic. A Christian doctor and counselor, both trauma-trained, were teaching five volunteers how to provide pre- and post-counselling for women being tested for HIV/AIDS. While researching ways the church could address the problem of human trafficking in Moldova, we learned that this test is one service women in the sex trade have said they would welcome. In response, we turned a van into a mobile clinic to provide rapid HIV/AIDS tests and health checks, as well as referrals to other services. 

Maria was the first young woman we approached. We asked if she would like to be tested, and she timidly accepted the offer. Inside the van, she told us how she wound up in this life and was tested for HIV. Thankfully, the test came back negative, but Maria said she was worried that she was pregnant. She asked if we would stay until after she took a pregnancy test she had already purchased. We agreed.

The test confirmed her suspicions. Maria’s face fell. She said she was considering an abortion—she pitied the life another child might have with her. She still hoped to have more children later in life, though, and expressed concerns about problems with pregnancy after an abortion. The doctor confirmed that risks did exist.

I shared with Maria our desire to help women in the sex trade exit and begin new lives. I told her we could connect her with other organizations that can help. I told her we were there to walk alongside her and help in any way we could.

While I spoke, Maria kept her eyes fixed downward, avoiding eye contact. But when we offered to take her to the doctor to get an ultrasound of the baby, Maria lifted her head and said she would like that.

“When?” we asked.

 “Now,” she said.

Three of us went with Maria to the doctor, who said her baby was already 11 weeks old. When Maria showed us the sonogram image, we celebrated with her. She didn’t talk anymore of abortion from that point.

Two weeks later, after frequent contact with our counselor, Maria visited a Christian residential restoration program for survivors of sex trafficking. While she didn’t make a decision that day, she did articulate a basic hope: “[I want] to have my family together with me.”

After thinking it over, Maria decided to move into the restoration home. Today, a new life is possible for her—and her children.

Rebecca Sukanen is a missionary with the Church of the Nazarene in Moldova.

*Name has been changed.

Moldova Mobile Intervention Clinic

Moldova, one of the poorest countries in Europe, is a hotbed for human trafficking. Desperation, poverty, and lack of education make girls and young women vulnerable to traffickers who promise a better life, only to force them into slavery and prostitution. In response, the Nazarene church in Moldova has started a Mobile Intervention Clinic to provide free medical services and referrals to Christ-centered restoration centers that provide a way off the streets. The goal is to get victims and their children, as well as potential victims, out of this danger zone.

To learn more about church-centered anti-trafficking ministries, go to ncm.org/trafficking.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

How HTH Led to an Aftercare Home

Deb Kluttz, Executive Pastor at Westview Community Church and Program Director at Homestead Ministries shared with us how a Hands That Heal training in October of 2009 led to the creation of an aftercare home in her community:

“Back in October 2009 two of us girls from our church went to a HTH training in Indiana at the Wesleyan Church headquarters. We cam back and shared what we learned with some of the women at our church and all of them became super passionate about the issue of human trafficking. We read some more books, educated ourselves, and began holding prayer events in the local community at strip clubs and truck stops quarterly for the next two years. We were just in a time of prayer, saying ‘God, we know we are supposed to do something, but we don’t know what.’

After two years one of the women in our ministry tragically and unexpectedly died and her husband donated $25,000 to the women’s ministry because he knew how passionate his wife was and trafficking prevention. Then, we got a call from a couple at our church about an empty rental property they had that they wanted to be used for our anti-trafficking ministry. So we had this chunk of money and this empty house. Things just started to snowball and the Lord really began to unfold what we were supposed to do. A local furniture store donated to furnish the entire house with new furniture and in July 2012 we opened our doors.

Since then we have had 30 ladies, 4 graduates and expanded the Homestead to have local families take in women with children and provide them with the same support off-site (as the aftercare home is 18+). We see ourselves as the last prong on the road to recovery– reintegration into society. We put our girls on a new career path, usually with local business people, and help they start a new life.

It really is HTH that was the catalyst that started it all. I continually go back to the resource, share it with others and remind myself of all the good information in there.”  

Right now, please join us in praying for Homestead Ministry’s annual volunteer training this weekend (April 15-16), and for the funding and people to expand their workforce so that they may continue to help more young women out of the trafficking industry. Please visit The Homestead website to give a gift or learn more about the home. 

Thursday, March 10, 2016

God's Provision Over the Bali Training

Between February 23-26 2016 FAAST co-hosted a Hands That Heal Training with PEARL, World Relief-Bali and Gerasa. At this training we taught 50 leaders from Indonesia, China, and the Philippines how to be trauma-informed caregivers who can provide holistic care for survivors of human trafficking. One of our partners from PEARL shared these thoughts after the conclusion of the training:

My heart is full and overflowing with the amazing blessings that God poured out during the four day Hands that Heal Curriculum Training of Trainers in Bali. God more than fulfilled all our hopes and expectations. The night before the event, Mandy (FAAST staff member and presenter), prayed for the event. I asked God, “What would You like to tell us about Your heart this week?” He showed me how He wanted to breathe His breath of Life - new, renew, and continuous - into all those there. I believe that this happened.

One of the word pictures I can think of to describe the effectiveness of last week is when individuals come to a pile of wood to start a large bonfire. Each carry a lit torch. Each torch is strategically placed to start the fire in it’s location. The fire grows and travels to meet in the center. 

Many qualified, active, effective people were present at the training. We had Americans and Australians working in the Philippines and China; a pastor from the Toraja area of Sumatra concerned with the victims of labor trafficking from his own congregation, a lady from a different Indonesian island who has gone undercover into a local brothel, a local Balinese team who is working in several nightclubs in addition to many other actions, representatives from about four safe houses on three different islands, and people who are doing preventive work with street children. Fifteen percent of the participants were male! This was amazing! We are so thankful.

Most of us present didn’t even know that each other existed. We were all like long lost families members so glad to meet up. At each HtH ToT I’ve attended (three now), someone acknowledges that they are a victim of Human Trafficking. Sometimes, while they are learning about the definition or other piece of information, they say to themselves, “They are talking about me. That’s my story.” This time, too, we had a beautiful lady speak up and share her personal story of being a sex slave, which touched us all.  

Thank you for your faithful prayers. This training was a monumental moment for the cause of freedom, prevention, and aftercare in the area of human trafficking. 

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Community Leadership Model

Dr Sandra Morgan, head of our University Network, shares one of her favorite FAAST training stories: 

'One of my favorites is of an ongoing Hands That Heal training in Cordoba, Argentina. We first went in 2014 and trained 47 leaders in five days in conjunction with Ensure Justice. We provided a well-trained on the ground team to help survivors. Every year since we have gone back there and expanded each time -- we have more and more professionals and community leaders being trained and taking on leadership. This is such a good model for community leadership and development because we have a larger impact on the community each time with our on-the-ground team!' 

The University Network is currently applying for grants, building partnerships and redesigning it's structure to better accommodate individual memberships. 

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Forging New Partnerships

In 2015 FAAST facilitated HTH trainings across the US and out of these caregiver trainings organizations have begun collabroating to help survivors. Check out this story from the Executive Director of Glory House of Miami, Betty Lara:

“We invited Calvary Chapel, another church in South Florida, to partner with us. Out of that partnership we began to help survivors by ‘double mentoring’ them between the two of us. Each organization mentors in different areas to meet their needs so that survivors are not just working with one organization but a couple organizations. 

With Calvary we have already hosted a fundraiser and we have another one planned for next January. All of this came out of just one Hands That Heal training! This one little thing blossomed into a whole partnership!”