Human Trafficking Prevention Training in Brazil

March 14 2018

My husband, Allann, and I traveled to Brazil to lead HOPE61 workshops in February. Allann is Brazilian, so from the beginning, he had a desire to bring this human trafficking prevention material to his country and his people.

We were invited to lead training workshops in two churches. One was in Allann’s church in the south and the other was in Brasilia, the capital.

The people that attended the first training came because of the relationship we have with them and didn’t initially understand the concept of human trafficking or how that applied to them. Those that came to the second training understood the complexity of human trafficking and wanted to gain better knowledge as to what it was and how to prevent it.

For the first training, basically the whole church showed up, around 35 people, and they were invested in the information and how to make it more impactful in their community.

We had one woman come up to us and tell us she was offered a job in Germany a few years ago, and she was supposed to go work in a factory with her uncles, but they only asked her for a body picture. It didn’t faze her then, but for certain reasons, she wasn’t able to go. She told us that now she realizes that she was most likely going to be trafficked and that now that she knows, she can warn others!

We had another girl come up and tell us that when she went to high school, there was a man who would always follow her and her brother to and from school. They told their parents, but they didn’t take it too seriously. Now, after the training, she realized that human trafficking does happen, that it happens where she lives, and it could’ve happened to her. So she told us she would be more aware and tell others too.

In the second training, we had around 40-45 people come from three churches.

Several people came up to us afterward to show us their projects and were excited to put them into practice. One woman, using her abilities and talents as an artist, created a project to go into schools and use art as a tool to teach kids about human trafficking and how to prevent it.

We handed out surveys in both training sessions. They rated their experience in the training with an 8.25 on a 1-10 scale of helpfulness. All respondents said the training increased their knowledge of human trafficking. Only two people said they weren’t challenged spiritually. And the only thing they wanted to change would be to add more time to the training workshops (keep in mind the trainings were 7 hours and 9 hours each). So, this means they liked the material and wanted the training to last longer!

By Stephany M Eddy, HOPE61 Trainer, Spain

Tags: hope61, human trafficking prevention, training, spain, brazil,

Unexpected Opportunities

September 1 2015

The tiny “meows” coming from a box next to a pile of garbage is what first caught Marla’s attention as she was walking home from school with the girls a few days ago … the cute, unmistakable cries of tiny kittens. What my girls saw next was a bit shocking: a short, sandy-hair colored stray dog, eating one of the kittens. Yes, the dog was literally eating a kitten. Not playing with it, not barking at it. While all my girls watched (in horror), the stray chomped away on a kitten, fur still in its teeth.

So, when one of the other kittens, so young that its eyes hadn’t even opened yet, walked toward Samara (who has always had an affection for all animals), meowing loudly … it put my wife in an awkward situation. She couldn’t say, “The mommy cat will come back” because they had obviously been abandoned. She couldn’t say “They’ll be alright by themselves,” because the dog was still chewing. And each kitten wasn’t big enough for one meal. So, what do you do? How do you get out of that one? As a parent who has been teaching about love and compassion, how could she just walk away?

So, that is how the box of kittens came to our house. That is how we’ve become the TEMPORARY guardians of five little kittens. And even now as I write, I can hear them downstairs.

Yep, though the girls are absolutely delighted, we certainly didn’t imagine this scene a week ago.

But that is kind of how things go in life and in ministry. Many times, the opportunities that God gives us to show others His love in a concrete way don’t fit comfortably into our schedules. Many times, these opportunities come at inconvenient times. They come at times when we’d rather be doing something else. And a lot of times, we’d rather walk away from such opportunities, hoping others will come along because we know that becoming involved will cost us time, energy, and getting our hands dirty. (And I’m not talking about kittens right now).

Showing God’s love to others means taking phone calls in the middle of the night. It means loading a moving truck on a perfectly sunny Saturday morning. It means taking a meal to someone else when you’re already exhausted. Because that’s when opportunities to show God’s love generally come: when you are not looking for them. What do we do in those situations? When the need of someone else catches our attention? When we know we probably ought to do some

hing, do we secretly hope that someone else will come along soon to do it, hoping they can meet that need? Someone who has more experienced hands and a bigger heart? More time or talent? Or do we let God use you?

And yes, I realize that such words are easy to write. They are even easy to preach from a pulpit. But they are harder to live. Harder, and yet, more rewarding, vastly more rewarding. May God give us ears to hear the quiet calls for help that surround us, and the strength to deny ourselves so that we can fully offer that which we have for His service, so that His light might shine.

For the only Cause that matters,

Micah Routon

Micah, along with his wife Marla and three daughter are OMS missionaries serving in Brazil. They are involved in evangelism, church planting, and the ministry of getting their hands dirty through love and service.

Tags: brazil, servant, compassion, kittens, serve,

Missionary Stories from Around the World

July 2 2015

On Thursday, June 18, four OMS field leaders spoke in chapel, sharing stories about the way their ministries have affected lives all over the world.

Cindy, who leads the field in the South Pacific with her husband Mark, teaches English at a missionary school and shared about a student named Carrie.* Carrie and her classmates have been struggling with grief and confusion caused by the sudden death of several students. Even so, Carrie participated with her school on a spring break mission trip. Cindy shared that in Carrie’s reflection paper about the experience she wrote, “God met me there. He let me know I am not alone.” Cindy then spoke about a Christian girl whose father is Muslim. When the daughter would ask her father questions about his religion, he’d get angry or frustrated. Cindy had the opportunity to speak truth into the lives of this girl and her mother, who is also a Christian. The small family is moving, but the mother told Cindy that she is determined to find a good church to help her minister to her husband. This missionary school and its teachers are having lasting impacts on their students in the South Pacific.

Randy Marshall, field leader in the Ukraine, shared about a young girl who has been attending the English club he and his wife, Shelley, lead at a local university. This student, Anna,* has participated in the club for two years. The English club, which regularly has spiritual discussions, also has an annual summer camp where the Marshalls are able to show and share what it’s like to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. At this camp, Anna made a decision for Christ. She then participated in discipleship with Shelly and another younger girl, but she started to doubt and ask questions. Shelley switched to an apologetic focus to help her find answers. Shortly after this, Anna saw a Christian drama on the street and was given the opportunity to accept Christ. Anna prayed and truly accepted Christ. This time, she has stayed firm through searching answers and even persecution from friends and family. The Marshalls testified to the change they have seen in her and reported with joy that she now helps run one of their ministry’s small groups.

Micah, field director in Brazil, opened his talk saying that he often pops into a local technology store and speaks to the men there who want to practice their English. Through starting mini-English classes, Micah got to know one man, Robert,* very well and also had the opportunity to invite the men to a 20-week Bible study. Robert once asked Micah if he’d ever had an affair. Micah replied that he had not, and Robert answered, “I’ve had several. It’s not good.” At Bible study, Micah noticed that Robert had a lot of biblical knowledge, which he came to find out was because he had grown up in a religious family. He lived a “Christian” life and as a virgin married a virgin. He has a daughter the same age as Micah’s daughter. However, a few years ago Robert’s daughter was diagnosed with leukemia, and he became angry and turned away from God. In Bible study, they would talk about the importance of confessing sins to one another. Robert was always the one to speak up and disagree. One night, a while later, the study group learned through the Psalms about the unconfessed sin in King David’s life. The next Sunday, Robert went to his home church and confessed to them about his affairs. Micah ended his talk praising God for not only changed lives, but also changing lives.

Field leader in the Dominican Republic, Gail Leroy, shared about the effect of OMS’ human trafficking prevention ministry, HOPE61. Gail spoke about a safe house where 10 young girls are being discipled and finding healing. Five of the girls have gone through baptism classes and have been baptized in the local river. Upon seeing this, the other five girls requested to be baptized as well! The five who had already been baptized have each been paired up with one girl who hasn’t. They are helping each other through the baptism classes, and last Saturday, they all had their first communion altogether.

Gail shared how she has seen them change from bitter and distrusting to sweet and sincere. She said, “We’ve seen them grow in faith. We’ve seen them get along together. We’ve seen them start healing from what they’ve been through.” Gail ended by requesting prayer for a new property because, praise God, they now need more space to help even more young girls.

It was overwhelming to hear the things that God is doing all over the world. As an avid traveler, I am invigorated by these stories of redemption from people of such diverse backgrounds. As I listen to these stories of hardship and victory, I feel my sense of curiosity about the world and its people intensify. I love hearing the missionaries speak; from the lilt of the Scottish accent to the achingly familiar African cadence. I want to know them all, learn about our similarities and differences. Just last week, I met an MK from the Ukraine who likes to sing in Russian and listens to the same bands as me. I know that this burden I feel to know and love others stems from our Creator’s desire to know and love us, his people.

*Names changed for security.

-Laura Jouhnson, Summer 2015 Communications Intern

Tags: ukraine, brazil, dominican republic, south pacific, evangelism, missions, missionary stories,