Since then, God has begun to raise up His Isaiah 61 team – people who come from different denominations, life experiences and backgrounds, but who are united under one purpose and passion: to seek justice on behalf of the oppressed, speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves and see Christ’s healing love bring forth a new life of freedom, hope and peace to lives that have endured much enslavement, despair and violence. This year, God has chosen 11 other individuals from 5 different churches to join me on my annual trip to Cambodia.
WHAT WILL WE BE DOING?
Many of these victims of sexual slavery have lived in the brothels for so long that they have no skills, no viable alternatives or no other source of income but, with families to support, they have no choice but to endure a life of abuse. In 2007, one of the Ratanak Foundation partners Daughters Cambodia was established in the heart of a local brothel district known as Stung Meanchey, to reach out to victims of sexual trafficking. Its aim was to demonstrate Christ’s love in tangible ways by offering holistic care through a variety of programs in order to break the yoke of brothel life and enable and empower girls to rebuild their lives and make healthy choices that would ultimately result in long term transformational impact. This year we have the privilege of sowing seeds into these precious lives by teaching a variety of workshops to 50 girls at Daughters. These workshops include: budgeting, nutrition, anatomy, drug addiction, domestic violence, haircutting, choosing a mate, spiritual warfare, healing prayer ministry and member care. This will not be easy as the girls range in age from 13 to 20 years old but their educational and literacy level is that of a 10 year old or younger.
As Cambodia is notorious for being a source, transit and destination for sexual trafficking, this year we are also planning to prayer walk some very specific areas where sex tourism flourishes and where the.illicit trade of selling underage girls occurs.
VISITING OTHER MINISTRIES
One of our visits will be in Svay Pak--- a village located 11km outside of the capital city of Phnom Penh that is notorious for the selling of their daughters into the sex trade. Last summer, our team had the privilege of running a VBS at Rahab’s house ---a former brothel that is now an outreach centre and a church. Through the perseverance of our partners who run the Newsong centre, God’s light is penetrating the darkness in that village and a pandemic of hope is starting to rise within the community. As Don Brewster our Newsong director wrote: Villagers are now believing maybe there’s a way to overcome the evil that has touched every corner of the village and assaulted every family. Just two years ago the Ministry of Social Affairs said, “Don’t waste your time in Svay Pak, it’s hopeless.” The village leader told me, “I’m happy the people traffic their daughters, then I can get money from them.” What a difference the unconditional love of Christ can make. This love first came to Svay Pak through the outreach done by girls at the Newsong centre who were once trafficked and held as slaves in this village. Today that love is multiplied through the Svay Pak Ministry Team and the church. Indeed God is using His redeemed ones to rebuild and bless this community. Two former victims of sex trafficking who have been reintegrated from the Newsong centre have chosen to open up a beauty shop in the heart of Svay Pak in order to be reflectors of God’s light in that place. I am looking forward to meeting them especially since one of them recently announced her engagement to a young Christian man. What a joy it is to witness how God is beginning to rewrite the script not only of this community, but of individual lives such as this young girl by restoring to her what she thought was lost forever—her dignity and her purity. Indeed, she is a living example that God not only hears the cries of the oppressed but He will rescue them and bestow on them a crown of beauty for ashes so that they will become a planting of the Lord for the display of His splendor.
For those of you who would like to journey along with us in prayer on a daily basis, I have enclosed our ministry schedule as well as a link to our blog: http://ratanakmissions.blogspot.com where we hope to provide daily updates. We value your prayers for we know they will be like arrows shot into the heart of rape, destruction, and evil. For you will be interceding on behalf of innocence, justice, and righteousness and most of all, joining forces with the One who loves these young lives and who would choose to be abused and beaten for them. Indeed He did that and much more. He died for them but through His resurrection they too may rise again from the pit of shame, guilt, pain and trauma and experience new life in Him! A life filled with new dreams and possibilities to become all who He intended and designed them to be! A life that ultimately will reflect His beauty, His glory and the power of His redeeming love. Thank you for taking this time to read this prayer letter and for standing in the gap for us.
If you are living in Toronto, our Cambodian church friends that run Our Thai Restaurant are hosting a fundraiser buffet luncheon on behalf of our team (Adults: $25, Youth (13 to 17 yrs) $20, Kids (6 to 12 yrs): $10) on Sunday July 5th at 12:30pm. If you would like to attend please RSVP to me by Thursday July 2nd by email or by calling me
In His Grace,
Toronto Rep: The Ratanak Foundation – www.ratanak.org Blog: http://www.ratanakmissions.blogspot.com
Pray that we will have minimal jet lag and for a quick adjustment to the heat and humidity
Pray that all 24 pieces of our luggage will arrive safely—including 700 Crocs and 400 teddy bears donated.
Pray for the workshops that we will be teaching, that the 50 girls who attend will gain valuable skills that will empower and equip them to make long term life style changes.
Pray that our team will be a blessing and a source of encouragement to the staff and girls at Daughters.
Pray for protection over us and our families as we prayer walk in places of darkness that God would surround us, sustain us, and keep us healthy
Pray for heart to heart connections with the girls we meet that the language barrier would be superseded by the language of love
Pray for wisdom and discernment that we would be alert at all times and in all places against any strategies of the enemy
Pray that in all we do and say, that God’s name would be glorified and honored.
Pray for the Holy Spirit to fill us daily so that we will dwell in unity and love.
Pray that God will raise up many to be a part of His Isaiah 61 team from the churches represented on this year’s team.