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Freedom for the Captives: Efforts to end Human Trafficking

‌for those who embrace compassion as a lifestyle


NCM Magazine Spring Issue, 2014

Nazarene Compassionate Ministries 17001 Prairie Star Pkwy, Lenexa, KS 66220 (800) 310-6362, To sign up for a free subscription, please visit or call (800) 310-6362. The Road to Restoration Ukraine’s Drug and Alcohol Rehabilitation Centers Transform the Lives of Participants 4

The NCM Magazine aims to tell the stories of the church living out Christ’s compassion. Our hope is that all of us would hear the call to compassion as a lifestyle.

Lessons Lost Violence in Syria Affects Educational Opportunities for the Country’s Youngest Generation 9 Seeds of Peace Kenya’s Sustainable Agriculture Project Helps Combat Gender-Based Violence 12

The Open Door A Safe Place for Victims of Human Trafficking in Bucharest, Romania 20

Standing in the Gap Efforts for Rehabilitation in the Philippines After Typhoon Haiyan 16

A Modern-Day Abolition Movement Efforts to Eradicate Human Trafficking Take Root at PLNU 22 India Encourages Equality at International Girl Child Day Celebrations 25

ON THE COVER: Hayley Swan, a Point Loma Nazarene University student, organized a prayer walk to raise awareness about human trafficking for more than 500 PLNU students. As part of the walk, students were invited to produce communal works of art such as the one featured on the cover.

An Open Heart A Philippine Pastor’s Daughter Shares Her Journey Into Ministry 27

Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are from the New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) of the Bible, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the U.S.A. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

By printing this magazine on recycled paper, NCM helped save:* *Information provided by Spicers Paper

21 trees

9554 gallons of water

7 million BTUs

580 pounds of solid waste

1984 pounds of greenhouse gas emissions

The Road to Restoration Ukraine’s drug and alcohol rehabilitation centers transform the lives

his right), his father, and Don Walker (pictured Walker Photo courtesy of Don


daughter on their 201

0 trip to Uk

he first Nazarene drug and alcohol rehabilitation centers were founded in Ukraine in 2000. These have since

expanded to five for men and one for

of participants,

women and shaped a new model of church


planting for the Church of the Nazarene in

and international partners

the country. Using an eight-step process adapted from Alcoholics Anonymous’s 12-step program and defining dependence on a “higher power” with an explicit reference to Jesus Christ, these centers have seen the lives of men and women radically transformed. For six months, the program brings participants into group homes to share life and gain tools for overcoming dependency. Trained lay people, as well as individuals who have gone through the program, lead each center. The effects of the rehab centers’ work have been widespread. The impact is felt not only in the participants’ lives, but also in their families, their communities, the Church of the Nazarene in Ukraine, and the lives of international partners. Here, several people share their stories.



by Don Walker

Ukraine’s Rehab Centers Engage International Partners

n 2001, I took a Work and Witness trip

started by men who had been through

that an endowment was needed—one

to Kyiv to work on the Kyiv First Church

the rehab program increased the number

that would be large enough to generate

of the Nazarene’s building, which was

of churches in Ukraine from seven to 21.

$28,000 in annual interest to fund the rehab centers and take some pressure off

not only a functioning church but also the headquarters for the work in Ukraine.

A Partnership Grows

I fell in love with the people of Ukraine

A second trip to Ukraine in 2003 and a

immediately and deeply enjoyed getting to

third in 2004 allowed me to continue to

A Foundation for the Future

know the local church.

the district budget.

develop relationships with the staff and

In 2010, I took my fifth trip to Ukraine,

While there, I heard many stories

members of First Church. In 2007, I was

along with my then-78-year-old father.

about how when Communism fell, the

able to join another Work and Witness

We visited a few rehab centers, and as the

drug culture became influential, result-

trip to help build a women’s rehab center,

participants told their stories about how

ing in many orphans or neglected children

and I was excited to help prepare a facility

God was transforming their lives, my dad

whose parents had fallen into depen-

that could dramatically

dency. Alcohol abuse also continued to be

improve the outlook of

a huge problem. Because of some history

women struggling with

within my family related to dependency


issues, this problem concerned me.

But while these facilities were tremendously

Their families were amazed by the complete change in their behavior, and many people began to have an interest in this Jesus who could break the power of addiction.

Transformation Begins


The first drug and alcohol rehab centers

the lives of people and in

became the biggest driver of growth in the

growing the number of

local work of the Church of the Nazarene

churches, the expense of

in the early 2000s. Because the programs

running them consumed

were founded on the power of Christ to

a huge portion of the missionary budget.



began to understand how important these centers were to those struggling with addiction and to the church in Ukraine. Later




shared with him the idea of founding the endowment that the fact-finding team had recommended. He was more than willing

to support it, directing some initial funds

change each person’s spiritual as well as

I am a member of the CIS Partner-

to start the endowment with the Naza-

physical condition, the results were far

ship Economic Development Task Force,

rene Foundation and committing annual

more effective than what we normally

a group that explored businesses that

gifts to help it grow.

see in rehab centers in the United States.

could be run locally to support the work-

To encourage others to join, he offered

Based on prayer and worship, the pro-

ers and ministries such as the rehab

to match other gifts to the endowment up

gram brings men and women into homes

programs. While we were able to start

to $10,000 each year. And he continues to

where they share their everyday lives

some businesses that contributed some

do so. These funds will allow many men

for six months. They become a family of

of the needed support, we could not

and women to break the bondage of drug

encouragement and accountability for

accomplish everything required. Eventu-

and alcohol addiction and be able to have

one another.

ally, a fact-finding task force determined

a fresh start in life.

When the first men graduated from the programs, they were so radically changed that they wanted to take this new way of life back to people from their towns who had the same problem. Their families were amazed by the complete change in their behavior, and many people began to have an interest in this Jesus who could break the power of addiction. Some men even came to the missionaries and asked to start churches in their hometowns so that others could find Christ. In some cases, they asked to start additional rehab centers. In a rela-

Support the Work


A Common PurposE:

The capital goal of this endowment is just under US $600,000 to provide the minimum funds needed on a yearly basis to keep each of the centers operating and meeting the needs of men and women trying to overcome their addictions. Any amount helps, whether you have $25, $50, $100, or $1,000 to give. If you would like to contribute the first $10,000 match request for 2014, please contact the Nazarene Foundation toll free at 866.273.2549. For further information on this project, visit

tively short time, these new churches

SPRING 2014 5


leksei used to be addicted to drugs and alcohol. Several years ago, he went through a Nazarene rehabilitation program called The Father’s House and is now serving as a

leader of the rehab program in Nikiforovtsy, Vinnyts’ka Oblast. His wife and daughters live in another town a couple of hours away. They see him several times per year, mostly on holidays and program breaks. His 9-year-old daughter, Nastia, and wife, Natalia, share their memories of Aleksei’s transformation.

Nastia'’s Story

bringing her gifts and helping her. I started to feel that this

When I was a child, my father would not come home for

home is full of peace and comfort, that finally we have love

many days, or he would just come home drunk. Every time

here instead of quarrels.

My father treats my mother very well now. He is always

he came home, there were quarrels.

My father is a leader at a rehabilitation center, and I like

We could not find the right words to talk to him. He was

that he is now helping the type of people that he used to

always yelling and screaming. He was angry and cruel. He

be before. I also like the fact that people who have gone

had no love in him. I was very afraid of my father.

through rehabilitation have become my friends. And every

I loved my mom. Every time they had a serious quarrel, I would encourage her and wipe tears from her face. I would ask my mother, “How soon will he leave us alone?” I




father went to rehabilitation in Nikiforovtsy. After he came back, he was kind and joyful.

time when I visit my dad, I know that I have friends there.

My husband was gone for almost a month. I did not know where he was. I thought he was just on another drinking spree. And when he called me and told me that he was going through rehabilitation, it was nothing less than a miracle.

He started to love us. He became a very good person.

My family started to attend church after my father came back home from the rehab program and told my mother about the church he was attending. We started to visit him in the rehabilitation center, and we started to attend the church. I

have a lot of different friends in the children’s ministry.

Every time he visited, he did not quarrel anymore or use

Now, I think we will buy a house somewhere close to

bad language. He started greeting us joyfully. He would tell

where my father is. We will live together as a family. My

jokes and make us laugh. He brought me some new toys.

mother and father will be able to see each other more often.

He quit drinking and quit smoking. He started to enjoy life. I think [the change] is related to the fact that he started to believe in God. My father is very beautiful and very good now. I started to love him. I am happy to see him every time that he visits us.

Nazarene-run drug and alcohol rehabilitation communities in Vapnyarka (left) and Kazatin (right). Photos courtesy of NCM CIS.


Natalia’'s Story God has changed our life in a miraculous way: He put our family back together.

Before, my husband and I lived separately more than we lived together. Sometimes he would sleep on the street instead of




coming home. We separated several times, and I wanted to apply for divorce, but then he would come home and repent and ask KIEV Kozyatyn Khmelnytskyi Selyshche Nikiforovtsy, Vinnyts'ka Oblast Vapnyarka

for forgiveness, and for a couple of days after that, things were good. But then he would go back to his old habits. I did not even realize that he was using drugs; I thought he



was simply drinking vodka. I became very afraid of my husband. We would have a quarrel, and Nastia would start crying because she was terrified and


worried. She used to ask, “How soon will he leave us?” She was very afraid of him. Once, we had a situation where my husband told me, “You will


either live with me or I will kill you.” I could not see any solution. My husband was gone for almost a month. I did not know where he was. I thought he was just on another drinking spree. And when he called me and told me that he was going through rehabilitation, it was nothing less than a miracle. My husband started to love us; he started to care about us. Every time he comes home, our house is filled with joy, love, and comfort. Sometimes we go to visit him in the rehabilitation center. Nastia calls him every day on the phone. She asks me, “How soon will Dad come home?” She loves him very much, and they have a very good relationship. Many people do not think that God knows their needs. They

UKRAINE Population: 45.2 million Percentage of male drinkers who engage in heavy episodic drinking: 31.5% Adult average per capita consumption of pure alcohol: 15.6 liters Estimated prevalence of alcohol use disorder, males 15+ years: 8.63%

think that God is far away, but instead, God hears our needs and

Injecting drug users per 100,000 inhabitants: 178

He comes to help. In His great mercy, God saw all of our suffer-

Violent discipline of children (2005–2011): 70%

ings, and praise the Lord that He had entered our family and restored it.

Source: WHO and UNICEF


axim, now 18, was taken in the fall of 2006 with his brother, Taras, and sister, Luda, by a Christian family after their biological parents, who both suffered from alcohol addiction, placed them in an orphanage. Their father has since passed away, but their mother is now going through the rehabilitation process. Vitaliy, who also struggled with alcohol abuse in his past, decided with his wife, Natasha, to become a house parent in a Christian foster program known as the House of James. They care for their two biological children and eight foster children, including Maxim, Taras, and Luda.

Maxim'’s Story

clothes to wear. We have a place to sleep and we have a place

Life was not very comfortable in the past. My siblings and I

of us. They are not distracted by anything and they give their

did not have enough clothes. Our living conditions were not

full attention to us. We understand and help each other. I

really pleasant. Our parents were addicted to alcohol and

like living in this new family.

didn’t take very good care of us.

to clean ourselves. They are responsible; they take good care

I know that Vitaliy was also addicted to alcohol, but he

Our parents did not pay much attention to us, so we

joined the rehabilitation program and finished it. And he

became indifferent and quit paying any attention to them.

was serving in the church and also was the head of the

We kind of lived separate lives. We could not find any com-

rehabilitation program for a while. And later he was offered

mon ground with our parents.

to become a house parent and he has agreed to it and cur-

With our [foster] parents, we have a big family and good relationships. Now we have everything we need. We have

rently he is a house parent. God has entered his life, and that changed everything in him.

SPRING 2014 7

I knew [that Vitaliy and Natasha were Christians] when

Maxim came to us with his younger brother and sister as

I came to live there. I learned more about God with them. I

soon as we opened our house-type orphanage. They were our

started to pray. First, we were reading a children’s Bible and

first children. Maxim and Taras were living in one orphanage,

everything started from there. We started to learn more about

and their sister, Luda, was living in another orphanage. They

God … we go to church. I am happy that now I live with God.

were in the orphanage because their parents were addicted

And because I am with God, now my whole family is starting

to alcohol, like I was. They did not get to see each other.

to get saved as well.

If they had stayed with their birth parents, I am sure that

My mother is currently going through the rehabilitation

by now Maxim would be in prison. We got Taras and Maxim

program. I am very happy about it. As of right now, things are

from the orphanage on a Monday, but the day before, on

good, and I want things to continue to be good in our family.

Sunday, they robbed a shop. And for several months after

I want my mother to do well, and I want us to continue to be

we took them in, the police were bothering us, but as the

one family. I wanted my mother to be saved, so I offered to enroll her in the program. For a long time she did not want to go, but our whole foster family was praying for her to get into the program. Eventually, my brother

When I came to rehab, it was my only chance. I was having epileptic seizures three or four times a day. Every time I left home, I wasn’t sure if I would come back home alive. I would have been dead by now—but God changed everything!

and I just went to our home and took her to the rehabilitation

police saw them in a family, they saw some changes taking place in their lives and let us take responsibility for them. But, judging by the impulsive character that they had and the way things were developing in their lives, they would probably

have ended up in prison.

center. And now she is very happy that we have good rela-

The Bible says, “Trust in the Lord your God and your whole

tions between us and good relations with her, and it makes

family will be saved” (Acts 16:31), so I tried to influence their

her happy to be a part of the rehabilitation program.

lives with my own testimony. Now Maxim, Taras, and Luda

I hope to finish my studies here, and maybe even continue

are totally different children. They know the Lord, they attend

my education someplace else. I see a happy future.

church, and they have a future.

Vitaliy'’s Story

to teach them to look up to God always. They worry about

God has done miracles in my life.

I did not know the future of God in my life, but God orches-

For nine years, I was addicted to alcohol. But at some point, I received God into my life, and I have now lived with the Lord for more than 12 years. When I came to rehab, it was my only chance. I was hav-

The most important thing is that they know God. We try the future and ask me what it will be like, and I tell them that trated everything. That is why I teach them to trust in God and ask Him for direction in life. Their mother is now in the rehabilitation center. Hopefully one day she will be able to share her testimony.


ing epileptic seizures three or four times a day. Every time I left home, I wasn’t sure if I would come back home alive. I would have been dead by now—but God changed everything! After I finished rehabilitation—and even during the process—I was thinking about ways I could serve the Lord. I did not want to go back to my old lifestyle; I wanted to use my freedom. My brother and father got saved; they trust in God now. God gave me a wife—even though I never thought or even dreamed

L I V E I T. The rehabilitation centers throughout Ukraine have been a core aspect of the Nazarene church’s growth in the field. Find out more about their work at

about it. God gave me a child, and then many children. I have always wanted to help children who do not have families. My wife and I began to take in children from dysfunctional families, whose lives were destroyed, probably without them even understanding it. Their parents had addic-

Ask the Lord to provide the funds needed for the endowment to maintain the vital work of these rehabilitation centers.

tions, and some are not even alive now.

Share these stories of restoration with a friend, family member, or group at your local church. Discuss how you can support those working to overcome addiction in your community.


Photos courtesy of NCM Middle East

by NCM Staff & Eurasia Communications



sk 11-year-old Louay* what life was like in Syria and he’ll give a detailed account of what occupied his attention: Playing with his friends. Avoiding homework to play with his friends. Being kept home for not finishing his homework. Trying to climb out the window to meet his friends anyway. Getting caught by his mother. Securing permission elsewhere. Missing dinner for being out with his friends. That was one day, anyway. Louay speaks with a perpetual smile and an air of mischief. He says he enjoyed school in Syria very much—that the previous account of avoiding homework just happened to be one day when he didn’t study. He says that on the day the Syrian army came into his school, although the teachers stayed put, he and several other students broke down a door to escape. He says he made sure his brother was with him, and then he ran home. He says his family moved to Lebanon in August 2012 because of the ensuing civil


Violence in Syria affects educational opportunities for the country’s youngest generation war’s constant bombing and the fear their house would collapse on them. Yet he says he wasn’t affected by the war.

Sonya’s Story Eleven-year-old Sonya earnestly describes a life in Aleppo she wishes she could return to. Ruba used to play the guitar there and draw pictures: nature, houses, her school. She loved learning, but her education was put on hold when Syria’s civil war started. “I was very sad,” she says, “because I had to leave school and all my friends whom I love and used to study with.” She remembers the regular sounds of bombs and bullets, goods being looted from her father’s shop, her parents’ inability to leave the house for food because of the constant shooting. Sonya remembers the fighting on the road from Damascus to Lebanon

while her family was leaving in the spring of 2013. She remembers seeing burned cars and dead bodies. “My family came to Lebanon so we would not die in Syria,” she says. “But I don’t like living in Lebanon very much.”

Daoud’s Story Daoud’s family didn’t think the fighting in Syria would last long—but then electricity and water were cut off, and it became hard to get food in Aleppo. Eventually, the family left for Belarus, then Lebanon. And while Samir worried on his family’s behalf about the violence, his personal fears centered on education. “I was afraid I would not be able to continue studying, because I had spent a year in Belarus, and I had missed a year of school in Syria,” says the 13-year-old. Daoud dreams of becoming a surgeon one day. “They say surgeons are like God— they give life,” he says. “I want to study very well to become a surgeon to help people, to give them life.”

SPRING 2014 9












SYRIA Total registered Syrian refugees: 2,301,641 Total Syrian refugees in Lebanon (government estimate): 1,000,000 Registered refugees in Lebanon: 804,848 Persons awaiting registration in Lebanon: 52,932 Source: UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR)

Sonya, Louay, and Daoud ... can’t comprehend the larger risk facing their peers, other Syrian children uprooted by war, who still lack access to education. They don’t know the uncertainty facing those of their generation without the chance to learn. 10 NCM MAGAZINE

On the Brink of Crisis

Starting Again

Like Louay, Sonya, Daoud, and their families, more than 2 million Syrian residents have fled for safety in the past two years due to the country’s civil war; half are estimated to be under the age of 11. This uprooting has interrupted many educations and left the country’s youngest generation on the brink of what United Nations representatives are calling “a children’s crisis.” In an effort to address the lifelong consequences that could arise from a generation of children disconnected from regular studies, Nazarene churches throughout the Eastern Mediterranean (EMED) Field are using the denomination’s four schools— located in Jordan, Syria, and Lebanon—to serve Syrian children who have now missed up to a year of education. “Most of the children who are coming to us are also behind in their development,” said Marlene Mshantaf, principal of Nazarene Evangelical School (NES) in Beirut. “Without school, their future is at great risk.”

In 2012, Nazarene schools in Amman and Beirut enrolled 25 displaced Syrian students who could not pay school fees. Among them was Amer, who had been out of school for about a year. It took time for him to adjust to learning in English rather than Arabic, but after-school sessions at the Beirut school have improved his confidence. “The students are smart, and I am happy because now I have new friends,” he says. “All the teachers care about me enough to help me.” This year, the field’s four schools have collectively enrolled 290 displaced Syrian students in a commitment to minimizing the time children are out of school. Sonya missed only six weeks before enrolling at Nazarene Evangelical School in Beirut, and she is relieved to be back in school. School is important to her, and she enjoys it—especially art classes and the chapel services that are a regular part of NES. “I love the story of the blind man who

was sitting and then Jesus came and healed him,” she says. “This tells us that if we are sick, Jesus can heal us.” Daoud also appreciates being in a place where prayer is integrated and questions like “Why are we here?” and “Who is God?” are explored. “I’ve learned we should worship God,” he says. “That we should love God and our friends and relatives, and that we should live by love and not hate other people.”

Limited Resources Despite limited local resources, churches throughout the EMED field continue to provide support for the influx of displaced students and their families. In Damascus, teachers opened the Nazarene school as usual in September, even though they had not been paid in a while. A grant through NCM has since allowed them to receive their salaries again, and they continue to maintain an after-school program with internally displaced Syrian students for whom there is not enough capacity in the general classes.

In September, Beirut’s Ashrafiya Church of the Nazarene held a sports camp and Vacation Bible School to give Syrian children a break from the monotony of sitting in the tiny apartments multiple families can barely afford to share. Across town, the Sin il Fil Church of the Nazarene and school also offers daily study sessions for 20 4- and 5-year-olds to prepare them to enter first grade in Lebanon within a year or two, as well as an after-school program with basic academic support for its 35 Syrian students. Volunteers from the church contribute their own time to run the program and write the curriculum, and a number of grateful parents have offered to help as teaching assistants and tutors.

Hopes for the Future Sonya left her guitar in Syria. She still misses her home and her school in Aleppo. Daoud had room only for clothes when he packed his bags and wishes he’d brought his karate certification with him so he could begin training again where he left off.

Louay doesn’t know what happened to his friends in Syria. If he could find out, he would. The list of things they have lost is long, and each student is aware of what he or she left behind. Back in school after varying lengths of time out, there’s a season of education they’re all fighting not to forfeit. But for Sonya, Louay, and Daoud, school is a personal question, not a generational one. They know their parents are grateful that they are continuing to learn. They know which lessons they look forward to. But they can’t comprehend the larger risk facing their peers, other Syrian children uprooted by war, who still lack access to education. They don’t know the uncertainty facing those of their generation without the chance to learn. They just know their own experiences, their own dreams for the the future. When Sonya grows up, she wants to be a painter. For her and her fellow Syrian students, hope is still very much alive. n *Children’s names have been changed.

L I V E I T. For the Syrian children whose families have been displaced by civil war. Ask God to protect their physical health, their spiritual and emotional wellbeing, and their educational future.

Share the stories of Louay, Sonya, and Daoud with a friend, family member, or group at your church. Discuss ways you can support children in their situation.

Think of crisis in your own life when God provided for you. Contact someone who supported you during that time to let him or her know what impact it had.

Give. It costs $300 to enroll a Syrian child in a Nazarene school for a year. Partner with Nazarene schools in Syria, Jordan, and Lebanon by sponsoring a child. Sign up by calling the NCM Child Sponsorship Office at 800-310-6362 or emailing Let the office know you would like to sponsor a Syrian student in a Nazarene school.

SPRING 2014 11

Seeds Peace of by Simone Finney, NCM Education

Kenya’s Sustainable Agriculture Project Helps Combat Gender-Based Violence



nder the Kenyan sun, 30-yearold Margaret Akalali tends cowpeas in one of four small farming plots, each measuring 10 × 10 meters. Known elsewhere as black-eyed peas, cowpeas are a drought-tolerant legume that matures quickly, and local demand for them is high. As they grow, Margaret will prepare her other three plots in the hopes of increasing her potential for the upcoming harvest. “This will go a long way to helping me put food on the table, and even generate income from the surplus,” said Margaret, who received her farming plot in October 2013. Farming is a way of life in Kenya, but in this, the country’s isolated northwest, frequent droughts are a constant challenge to the local residents. Margaret is one of 700 women who, through a sustainable agriculture project called the Aminatoi Nazarene Irrigation Scheme, is improving her farming skills—and by extension her financial stability, her autonomy, and her sense of self-worth. But like the plants she cultivates, Margaret’s story goes deeper than a lack of resources. She and the other women in the sustainable agriculture project are all survivors of gender-based violence (GBV), actions against women on the basis of socially ascribed differences between males and females. In Kenya, 45 percent of women ages 15 to 49 have experienced some form of physical or sexual violence, and 90 percent of the reported cases of gender-based violence involve women, according to a public statement made by Kenya’s devolution secretary, Ann Waiguru in Nairobi on Nov. 25.

Margaret’s Story “My life has been full of battles,” said Margaret, a mother of four. “Most of the violence I faced was directly as a result of alcohol.” Her eldest daughter is now 15, the age at which she first became a mother. Sitting outside a mud-thatched house,

she talked with Brian Ombaka, GBV field officer for Nazarene Compassionate Organization in Lodwar. “I was never at peace in my home with my alcoholic husband,” she said. “Every day he came home drunk, throwing everything around in the house, including food, only to ask later for something to eat. Failure to provide would always end with me receiving a thorough beating.” To cope, Margaret sought out places where she could also drink illicitly, hoping alcohol would give her the courage to stand up to her husband.

Hardships like these make women and girls even more vulnerable. During famine, husbands may take money from the sale of personal property and leave their families. It did—but the violence in her home soon took on another dimension. “It was no longer a case of being slapped on one cheek and turning the other,” she said, “but an eye for an eye. Things got worse, and our children are the ones who suffered most. I was not available to provide for them as I used to, because I was busy with my drink.” At one point, after spending several days away from home in an effort to drink away the pain, Margaret returned home to find that everyone was gone. Her husband had left and taken their four children with him. It’s been more than two years since she has seen any of them. “Her story represents that of thou-

sands of other Turkana girls whose childhood and teenage is stifled away by culture,” said Ombaka. “Sometimes, women carry the world on their shoulders in silence, yet inwardly their spirits are breaking.”

Binding Up the Brokenhearted Survival in northwestern Kenya is a difficult proposition. Turkana, Kenya’s largest county, lies in an isolated, drought-prone basin. Most residents rely on farming as their means of survival, but with an annual rainfall of less than 10 inches, adequate harvests are hard to come by. When even less rain than normal fell between 2010 and 2011, crops that had been planted did not make it to maturity. Families sold personal property to buy maize, the country’s staple food, at inflated rates. Hardships like these make women and girls even more vulnerable. During famine, husbands may take money from the sale of personal property and leave their families, according to Samuel Oketch, NCM Kenya field coordinator. “When [the men] come home, they expect to find food every day,” Oketch said. “Women resort to casual labor jobs in order to sustain the family and avoid a beating from their husbands. Failure to provide also means children are sent home from school due to lack of fees and other school necessities. So women are forced to work extra hard to take care of their families.” During the severe famine that spread across east Africa and the Horn of Africa in 2011, the number of cases of reported violence against women and girls quadrupled in six months, with theft, assault, rape, and kidnapping becoming all too common during the long, unattended journeys many women and children made to refugee camps, according to a 2011 CBC News report. Gender-based violence can be expressed in a variety of ways, from

SPRING 2014 13

physical or emotional abuse to exploi- support has made it possible for women tation, targeted deprivation, sexual like Margaret to begin to find healing. assault, or human trafficking. Accord“Through Wings of Hope and Elizaing to the World Health Organization, beth Apua, I am now free from alco35 percent of women worldwide have hol and my life is more at peace,” said experienced either intimate partner Margaret, naming a woman who has violence—the most prevalent form of been especially supportive in her recovGBV—or non-partner sexual violence ery. “Apua is always counseling and in their lifetime. GBV is both a pub- encouraging me on how to live my life.” lic health problem and a violation of She looks forward to the day Wings human rights. of Hope can open a dedicated center, In Kenya, GBV takes many forms, where women and girls in similar cir“rooted in unequal power relations cumstances can get help. With space between men and women,” according for counseling rooms, the plan is to to UNICEF. Reports of violence are on serve adults and children through difthe rise, according to Waiguru, Kenya’s ferent therapies, including drama, roledevolution secretary, playing, and music, and and stigmas surroundto allocate some space ing GBV mean that for additional empow“Through many women are suferment training for fering in silence as their women. Wings of Hope cases go unreported, As the sustainable especially in rural areas. agriculture project grows ... I am now free An estimated one in and produces income, three Kenyan women the hope is that it will from alcohol has experienced some allow the center to form of gender-based become self-sustaining, and my life is violence, according to to the point that up to German NGO Maisha, more at peace.” 3,000 women could benwith one in five Kenyan efit from the facilities, women reporting a services, and skills sexual form of violence. offered there. “Some of these crimes are commit“It is never easy for us women,” said ted by close relatives of the victim and Margaret, “especially when it is culturpeople who are supposed to protect ally acceptable to be beaten.” them,” said Waiguru. To overcome the reliance on Kenya’s Globally, this is common; a major- two rainy seasons—February/March ity of violence takes place within close and September/October—local project relationships. So while crisis can make coordinators have also worked together women and children more vulnerable, it with the community to establish a solar is the underlying social norms that make water system, which will supply conviolence not just possible, but expected. sistent irrigation to crops throughout “Violence at home is not healthy the year, regardless of rainfall. They for the growth of our children,” said are also working to acquire drip irrigaOmbaka. “The first place they need to tion kits for the group and are initiating feel secure is in their homes.” intensive training on new agricultural technologies in 2014. “The cycle of hunger/poverty will be Wings of Hope The Church of the Nazarene offers coun- broken,” said Oketch. “With water availseling for women who have been victims able, the community is determined to of gender-based violence. This emotional produce food throughout the year.” n







Lake Victoria



Kenya Population: 41.6 million Life expectancy: 57 Urbanized population: 24% Percentage married by 18: 26% Justification of wife beating among male adolescents: 54% Justification of wife beating among female adolescents: 57% Source: UNICEF, 2011

“Urge anyone you find to come, so that the house will be full.” Luke 14:23 (NLT)

It’s estimated that one child dies every 15 seconds as a result of hunger. And in 30 hours, you can do something about it. Join your church for the 2014 30 Hour Famine. Nazarene Compassionate Ministries and World Vision are partnering to provide clean water and good nutrition to children and families in Mozambique. By participating in the Famine, you can help make room for more seats at the table. The banquet is ready. There is still room for more. Help turn this famine into a feast.


Sign up at Following the example of Jesus, Nazarene Compassionate Ministries (NCM) partners with local Nazarene congregations around the world to clothe, shelter, feed, heal, educate, and live in solidarity with those who suffer under oppression, injustice, violence, poverty, hunger, and disease. NCM exists in and through the Church of the Nazarene to proclaim the Gospel to all people. World Vision is a Christian humanitarian organization dedicated to working with children, families, and their communities worldwide to reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty and injustice. 30 Hour Famine. Students loving God and fighting hunger.

SPRING 2014 15

by Todd D. Aebischer,


Asia-Pacific Regional


Communications Coordinator

Efforts for Rehabilitation in the Philippines After Typhoon Haiyan

On the morning of November 8, 2013, the lives of hundreds of thousands of people living in the Central Visayas region of the Philippines changed forever. Super Typhoon Haiyan, locally known as Yolanda, made landfall with winds topping 195 mph (315 km/h), the strongest recorded storm of its type, leaving more than 8,000 dead or missing.


he devastation to the central region

tation equipment, and shelter delivered

of the Philippines was beyond com-

to Nazarene families and their commu-

prehension. While advance warn-

nities. In addition, Heart to Heart Inter-

ings had been made, no one had ever

national provided more than $3 million

experienced a storm of this magnitude,

USD in supplies, with FedEx donating the

and no human preparation could



protected against its ravages. Within




storm’s passing, the Church of





action. Through the efforts of Nazarene Disaster Response (the grassroots action of local Nazarene churches responding to needs within their own communities),



was conducting rapid assessments,



needs, and working to coordinate a wide-scale response through Nazarene Compas-

shipping directly to the Cen-

Thousands of children have been traumatized by the devastation and loss of the storm, and many have lost their parents or are part of families who have lost the ability to provide basic necessities.

sionate Ministries.

tral Philippines. Medical teams partnered with



Response have been on the ground since the very first week after the storm. Nazarene members from around the world have signed up to volunteer their time and services




homes and churches. Local Bible school students have taken leave to partner with the church in coordinating the various aspects of this response. One of the greatest con-

During the days and weeks that fol-

cerns in responding to the devastation

lowed, Nazarene districts across the

of Yolanda has been for children. Thou-

Philippines joined together to send vol-

sands of children have been traumatized

unteer teams and supplies. Global efforts

by the devastation and loss of the storm,

through Nazarene Compassionate Minis-

and many have lost their parents or are

tries provided hundreds of thousands of

part of families who have lost the abil-

pounds of relief supplies in the form of

ity to provide basic necessities. This has

food, medicine, water filtration and sani-

raised concern among the government Photos courtesy of Asia-Pacific Regional Communications


Get an updat e on t he rehab ilitatio n effort s at

Tacloban Salcedo Ormoc Balangiga Dulag



SPRING 2014 17

Nazarene relief efforts are focusing on helping children who have been traumatized by the devastation.

and international community about the

than saving physical lives—together, we

risk of child trafficking.

are influencing spiritual lives for eternity. Disaster

Child safety places have been established

Response in partnership with Nazarene

in the cities of Ormoc, Dulag, Tacloban,

Compassionate Ministries is standing in the

Balangiga, and Salcedo, with more than




gap. “Child safety places” have been estab-

2,000 children participating in the pro-

lished at many locations around the hard-

grams and more than 50 teachers trained.

est-hit areas. Children are being engaged by trained psychosocial counselors who are helping them work through their fears, sense of loss, and susceptibility to trafficking. Trained counselors are also working with the area schools, first providing stress debriefing for the teachers and then training for those teachers so that they too are able to help their students process the trauma

The response to Typhoon Yolanda is

It is during times of disaster and crisis that the love of Christ is most genuinely seen through a church willing to be His instrument.

they have all experienced.

far from over. Some government reports indicate that it will take more than five years to




areas. Livelihoods in agriculture and fisheries have been lost and production facilities destroyed, but together as the church we can and are making a difference. Work and Witness teams from around the world continue to respond and assist in the rebuilding process.

Another area of NCM’s ministry is sanita-

Remember to keep our Nazarene brothers

tion and hygiene promotion, with more

and sisters, their families, communities,

than 1,000 hygiene kits being distributed,

and those who are daily responding to the

education for both parents and children in

needs in your prayers.

the proper use of the kits, and distribution of nutritious food packs.

It is during times of disaster and crisis that the love of Christ is most genu-

By identifying the children in the area,

inely seen through a church willing to be

engaging them in the child safety places,

His instrument. The Kingdom is growing

providing them with resources, and most

through your very tangible acts of compas-

importantly sharing the hope that comes

sion. Thank you for being part of Nazarene

through knowledge of our Lord and Savior,

Compassionate Ministries and the global

the Church of the Nazarene is doing more

Church of the Nazarene!



Give to Typhoon Haiyan Rehabilitation Efforts

by check or at

In the US: Make checks payable to the General Treasurer and send them to:

Global Treasury Services Church of the Nazarene P.O. Bo 843116 Kansas City, MO 64184-3116 Be sure to put ACM 1200 in the memo area.

In Canada: Make checks payable to: Church of the Nazarene Canada and send them to: Church of the Nazarene Canada 20 Regan Road, Unit 9 Brampton, Ontario L7A 1C3 Be sure to put ACM 1200 in the memo area.

Thanks for your contribution.

A Sunday to focus on the issue of modern slavery, also known as human trafficking.

Unite with thousands of other churches and organizations on this day of observation.

Participate through prayer, raising awareness, and giving.

Celebrate what God is doing to set the captives free. For more information visit

Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke? — Isaiah 58:6, NIV Photo by Marty Hoskins

SPRING 2014 19


open door by Teanna Sunberg



he house sits quietly on a very normal- trafficking victims per thousand inhabitants looking street in the heart of Bucha- globally. These two parts of Europe account rest, where the coming and going of for 7 percent of the global trafficking marfamilies is a predictable Romanian rhythm. ket. In other words, 1.6 million people from Grandmas with head scarves and aprons Romania and the Eastern European neighsweep away the dust from doorways each borhood are trapped in forced labor situamorning and then produce the tantaliz- tions today, according to the International ing smells of onions and carrots frying for Labour Organization. a midday soup. Dogs bark, The Open Door is a powerkittens scurry, children with ful example of the potential for Central Europe backpacks walk to the city rescue and rehabilitation when and the CIS bus. On the morning we visit, denominations work together have the two Romanian Nazarene men against the human slave trade. are busily finishing a paint highest number The organization’s director is job on the edge of the roof. Monica Boseff, wife of Pastor of trafficking They roll their eyes when we Cristi Boseff (Bucharest Blessmake them move from their ings Church of the Nazarene). victims per job and then, with shrugs and Most of the employees are thousand warm hugs, they welcome us Nazarene young people who inhabitants to The Open Door. spent their formative years These two, who used to growing up amid the pioneerglobally. greet us with shy smiles and ing work of the Nazarene These two quiet Romanian hellos at the church after the fall of Comprompting of their mothers, parts of Europe munism. Today, they fill the have grown into young men roles of psychologist, assistant account for who show us around the director, security, and mainte7 percent of brick and mortar that they nance. Most of the furniture are renovating. Just inside came from a community effort the global the door, a 2-year-old boy organized by the  Gelnhausen trafficking dashes by with his mother Nazarene Church in Germany. market. close behind as we admire People from the community the careful changes that have literally donated entire rooms. already turned this house into a home. Funding and leadership come from a variety Moving into the living room, the land- of sources, including but not limited to Nazascape begins to alter, and it somehow feels renes, and that is an important point. In the that we may have stepped into a corner of face of such a global power structure, one Germany. The furniture is solidly wooden organization, one denomination, one nonand warm, as if there is sanctuary and governmental organization is a tiny whisper, safety in the simple embrace of cushions. A but the united body of Christ, dependent on sense of goodness, security, normality are His holy provision, becomes a voice for transpresent in the very air we breathe inside this formation, one life at a time. house, and yet, for those living here, this is a The Open Door is simply and profoundly very new reality. a home. According to the in-house psycholThe five young Romanian women and ogist, the vast majority of girls become prey one active 2-year-old now living in this home for traffickers when a life change makes have recently been rescued from neighboring them vulnerable. It might be the death of a countries where they were trafficked for sex. parent or a sudden economic plunge, but The statistics are staggering. According suddenly the walls that once protected are to the International Labour Organization’s breached. In the kitchen, the women who curJune 2012 press release, Central Europe and the CIS (Commonwealth of Indepen- rently call  The Open Door  home are busily dent States) have the highest number of preparing a midday meal of schnitzel and

mashed potatoes. Part of their rehabilitation is re-learning the normal routines of healthy lifestyles. Monica Boseff reports that both Starbucks and the Radisson Hotel have offered job training to the women. Many local businesses have donated the practical supplies such as washing powder that power the daily rhythms of a busy family. As I step outside to breathe the fresh air, I notice that the walls around this home are quite high. A street dog who wandered into the yard months ago now claims it and all of its inhabitants as his. He guards them with a fierce territorial growl. I am profoundly aware that the absolute normality of this everyday home on this average Romanian street is the greatest testimony to a miracle in progress. n *Article originally from Engage Magazine ( Reprinted with permission.





Romania Population: 21,436,000 Population under 18: 3,928,000 Average annual rate of inflation (1990–2011): 44% Average rate of growth in economy: 5–6% Investigated human trafficking cases: 897 (2011), 867 (2012) Prosecuted human trafficking cases: 480 (2011), 667 (2012) Source: UNICEF and Embassy of the United States, Bucharest, Romania

SPRING 2014 21

y a D n r e d o M A

n o i t i ol b A Moveme n t

by Simone Finney, NCM Education

Efforts to Eradicate Human Trafficking Take Root at PLNU


he term “human trafficking” isn’t yet a household term, but its reality is acutely felt by an estimated 27 million people globally. From highly organized international crime syndicates to families living in middle-class suburbs, trafficking represents one of the most pervasive forms of human oppression in the world today. It can be found in textile factories, coffee plantations, lime quarries, massage parlors, brothels, adult websites, hotels, construction sites, and private homes with cleaners and nannies. Its victims include children born into brothels in Calcutta, India; Nepali girls sold by desperate parents to brokers who offer a “better life” in cities across the Pacific; immigrants whose “sponsors” bring them into European cities to work, only to keep them in perpetual debt bondage; undocumented migrant adults in the United States whose contractors use their knowledge of their document status to force them to work; and teenagers in cities and small towns across the world lured by a “friend” into selling their bodies for profit. Trafficking—the trade in humans, commonly for forced labor or sex—is increasingly referred to as modern-day slavery. And modern-day slavery calls for a modern-day abolition movement.

Awakening a Generation

Students at Point Loma Nazarene University (PLNU) in San Diego, California,

were becoming aware of these realities by the mid-2000s. Some arrived on campus already informed about trafficking, but for many, it was the classes in business, political science, social work, and sociology that addressed the global sex trade that caught students’ attention. “Once students find out about modern slavery, they are unwilling to sit on the sidelines,” said Jamie Gates, director of PLNU’s Center for Justice and Reconciliation (CJR), which seeks “to study poverty and oppression and teach Christian means of social engagement.”

“Through every heartbreak, we are holding onto the hope that God will redeem, restore, and heal all things.” Students began to raise awareness in public events across campus, and by 2005 they were organizing film screenings of trafficking-related documentaries and other events to increase awareness of the plight of slaves around the world. Discussion groups, clubs, prayer services, and fundraisers for related ministries have been a staple on the university calendar ever since. “There was a collective energy building and a desire for a response,” said Marte

Samuelstuen (2008 graduate), who helped organize a film forum and panel discussion in 2007. “Students were asking, ‘What can I do?’” Heidi Pollard-Hermann (2005) launched a blog to compile resources to educate and mobilize people against human trafficking in San Diego County, and the CJR began to partner with national and local organizations such as Not For Sale and Generate Hope, a local rehabilitation home for survivors of sex trafficking, where PLNU students began to regularly intern. The CJR also launched its own internship in 2009, Beauty for Ashes (see Isaiah 61). The internship empowers students through discipleship, leadership, professional development, an expanding understanding of human trafficking, networking experience, student organization, and potential academic credit in collaboration with their majors. Students may assist the victims of human trafficking, conduct research projects for their classes on these topics, develop and lead outreach seminars on anti-trafficking efforts, and raise money for nonprofit organizations working on these issues.

Beauty for Ashes

In 2010, Lindsay Sprenger (2011) became the CJR’s first human trafficking intern and brought a national focus to its work, spurring PLNU to look deeper into trafficking in the local San Diego-Tijuana region. “She helped remind her fellow students of the deep spiritual resources available and needed for the long, slow, and often dangerous work associated with freeing modern slaves and slavers,” said Gates. “Lindsay made sure to always pray for those that do the enslaving as much as for those enslaved.” While studying in Thailand, Paige Milgrom (2013) worked with survivors rescued from the local sex trade and returned to PLNU with a passion for researching human trafficking, ministering to its victims, and engaging other students in the growing global abolition movement. “The pictures and stories we think of [related to trafficking] are of far-off places, with nameless faces, and circumstances that are far removed from the realities of our

In March 2011, Hayley Swan, now a PLNU senior, organized a six-station prayer walk for more than 500 PLNU students. Some of the artwork from that night still hangs in the sociology and social work department as inspiration for its ongoing abolition work. The following year, Swan became leader of an informal abolition student club on campus and human trafficking intern for the CJR. Photos courtesy of Center for Justice and Reconciliation (PLNU) SPRING 2014 23

Jamie Gates (second from left) and PLNU student interns.

daily lives,” said Milgrom, who interned with the CJR from 2011 to 2013. “But human trafficking is an injustice that is occurring in our own backyards.” Milgrom recruited Sarah Crabtree (2013) and Amanda Cook (2013), and the three expanded the CJR internship to include research, student engagement, and congregation-based social activism. Increasing interest from students has allowed the CJR to recruit three lead interns in 2013–2014: Clara Ann McGarry for student mobilization, Jessica Hong to focus on abolition among congregations, and Adam Donason to lead the research dimension. CJR interns are now heading a group with more than a dozen core leaders that involves more than 80 students on campus. “It’s really easy to live comfortably and steer clear of the tension that comes with talking about human trafficking,” said Jessica Hong, a current intern. “Through every heartbreak we are holding onto the hope that God will redeem, restore, and heal all things.”

Strengthening Local Links

In 2011, Gates was invited to co-chair the Research and Data Committee of the San Diego County Human Trafficking and Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children (CSEC) Advisory Council. This council is San Diego County’s central information gathering and sharing network and a strategic planning point where law enforcement, victim services and other social service agencies, schools, churches, politicians, and health-care agencies can collaborate in anti-trafficking efforts. Out of this collaboration, Gates, together with University of San Diego conflict resolution professor Ami Carpenter and San Diego State University criminal justice professor Dana Nurge, were awarded nearly $400,000 24 NCM MAGAZINE

Spoken word performance at PLNU’s Wednesday night worship.

from the National Institute of Justice to conduct a two-year study of the relationship between gangs and sex trafficking in San Diego County. The project will link the researchers up with San Diego county schools in a twoway partnership in which fact-finding focus groups will also function as training sessions for teachers, counselors, and student advocates on how to identify and respond to potential trafficking among students. Gates also hopes the grant will help reveal the extent to which sex trafficking occurs in the San Diego area and highlight the efforts being made to combat it, attracting “desperately needed attention and funding.” In addition to the ongoing research, the CJR is continuing to connect the San Diego community to local realities of human trafficking. The blog launched by Heidi Pollard-Hermann (2005), now managed by the CJR, has become, PLNU’s abolition website, which hosts the central community calendar for all human trafficking-related events in San Diego County. On January 24, 2014, the denter hosted the first-ever San Diego County Human Trafficking Summit, bringing together key professionals and decision makers to discuss policy, best practices, and funding for county-wide human trafficking work.

The Movement Grows

National links are also becoming stronger. Gates is involved with the Wesleyan-Holiness Consortium’s Freedom Network, for which the CJR will host an abolition dinner on February 21 at the Justice Conference in Los Angeles, California. March 20–22, the CJR will host the annual conference for the Association of Nazarene Sociologists and Researchers (ANSR) in Kansas City,

Missouri, with a focus on human trafficking. Alumna Michelle Shoemaker (1988) is now piloting a program to include Nazarene churches in the USA and Canada. While she develops a network for the Nazarenes nationally and internationally, the CJR is also collaborating with the Interfaith Center for Worker Justice to work with congregations from all religious backgrounds on the difficult issue of labor trafficking. Kim Berry Jones (1990) felt a stirring from God to shift from her own successful web business into abolition work with the CJR. Taking the lead on the development of the new website, she has dreams of getting alumni engaged in PLNU’s abolition work and resourcing them to do this work in their own churches. “God is growing a movement of people, congregations, social service agencies, universities, law makers and enforcers, counselors, teachers, and many others,” said Gates. “We’re just trying to faithfully follow Jesus into the world of modern slavery and come alongside of some of the most oppressed people in the world.” n

L I V E I T. Find out more about human trafficking at and The CJR is raising funds for a Beauty for Ashes scholarship to help fund the education of survivors of human trafficking. If you are interested to learn more or donate, contact Jamie Gates at Participate in the March 20–22, 2014, meeting of the Association of Nazarene Sociologists and Researchers (ANSR) in Kansas City, Missouri, USA. Register at: conference/display.html

by Sunita Meshramkar, India Child Development Coordinator

India Encourages Equality at I nte r national G i r l C hil d Da y C ele b r ations


ge-old traditions have made India a maledominated society. From birth, girls and women are considered a liability, and many people believe that spending money on a girl’s education or skills has no benefit. Parents start saving for a girl’s marriage from the day she is born, and because the marriage and dowry are so costly, many parents consider anything more to be an unnecessary expense. On the other hand, people believe that if a boy is educated and trained well, he will both earn good money for the family and be able to demand a large dowry from a girl’s parents. Because of this, a boy child always receives preference over a girl child in India. Tragically, it is common for drastic measures to be taken when it comes to girl children. Historically, parents would abandon a newborn girl. However, with advancements in technology, parents can now perform a gender test; if the test shows the child to be a girl, she can be aborted. The Indian government put a ban on disclosing the gen-

der of children before birth to try to avoid this, but female feticide, the killing of baby girls before they are born, has continued to increase over the past few decades. Of the 12 million girls born in India, 1 million do not see their first birthday, according to research from the United Nations.

Even if a girl is born, she is less likely to receive immunization, nutrition, or medical treatment than a male child is. Mistreatment of young girls is common, with an estimated 1 in 4 girls experiencing abuse before the age of 4. More than half of girls ages 5 to 9 (53 percent) are illiterate. And 75 percent of

SPRING 2014 25

married women in India today were underage at the time of their weddings. Nazarene Compassionate Ministries in India (NCM India) is striving to make a difference in every way possible. On International Girl Child Day (October 11), NCM India conducted special events in child development centers (CDCs) throughout the country. NCM India asked respected experts from various fields to speak to their communities, raising awareness of the negative effects of gender bias. Speakers discussed how and why it is necessary to overcome elements of patriarchal culture, explaining that women run India’s households and are responsible for children’s upbringing. If they are educated and empowered as girls, they will empower their households and children—stronger women will lead to a better society. Something as basic as treating girls with equality and respect from childhood will start a chain reaction that will reap future benefits.

NCM India conducted these sessions in line with the UNICEF theme “INNOVATE TO EDUCATE.” We asked project leaders to examine innovation in their communities, considering their local context and specific needs. Each CDC approached celebrations differently. One asked the children to draw pictures, keeping the theme in mind. This helped them to think about the issue and a solution at the same time. One CDC had the girls eat first, served by the boys. Later, the boys were served by the girls. Though it is a very small act, it displays how equality can be seen in action. Children in the CDCs listened to stories about women from the Bible such as Queen Esther, Martha, and Mary. One project leader held a rally in the community, involving the children in spreading the message of equality to the adults. At another CDC, each child lit a candle and said a prayer for all the girls in the CDC and in their community. The candles were placed

at the CDC, where they shone throughout the night. Some children signed boards as a symbol of their pledge to treat one another with equal respect, and each CDC involved its community and local church, emphasizing the importance of girl children. Since the events, change has been evident. People’s views about girls are different. Some no longer consider girls only as domestic help as they are becoming aware of girls’ capabilities and potential. There is a willingness to assist girls and help them achieve just like boys. This thinking is refreshing, especially for countries like India where patriarchy has a strong cultural foothold. We hope and pray that these small efforts by India’s CDCs will bring about positive changes in the lives of young girls and their families as well as in their local churches and communities at large, and will help build a just and gender-equal society. n

L I V E I T. The third annual International Day of the Girl Child will be October 11, 2014. Find out more at gender/gender_66021.html and on Twitter using #dayofthegirl. Think of four simple ways you can encourage dignity among the children in your life (a compliment, a story, a skill, an activity) and focus on using one per week for the next month to







Bombay Bangalore


Population: 1.24 billion Male adolescents married or in union: 5% Female adolescents married or in union: 30% Infant mortality rate (per 1,000 births): 47 Annual number of deaths under age 5: 1.66 million


Youth literacy rate, male: 88% Youth literacy rate, female: 74% Source: UNICEF


reinforce their sense of equality. Gender bias can be overt or subtle and, in many communities, is deeply rooted in age-old traditions. Pray for children throughout the world who are marginalized by unequal social structures, that God’s grace would help create more equitable systems.


am proud that I’m a pastor’s kid. I am the eldest of three siblings and the

only daughter of Alice and Pastor Elmer Open. My father, the pastor of the Church of the Nazarene Cagayan de Oro City, has been a minister for almost 22 years. His first assignment was Molave, Zamboanga Del Sur, and for five years he ministered in the mountains with an indigenous tribe in Mindanao called Higao-onun. As young as I was, I went to the mountains with him every Sunday, walking kilometers to help him and my mother with children’s ministry. My father raised me to be proud of who we were. He kept on telling us that even if our life was not as good or financially stable as others’, the joy in

an open Heart A Philippine pastor’s daughter shares her journey into ministry

serving the Lord surpassed all our trials. Indeed, for those years, God miraculously provided for our daily needs in our family and ministry. It was also a joy seeing people’s lives change because of their faith through Jesus Christ.

An Extended Family During my father’s second year as the associate pastor in the Cagayan de Oro City Church of the Nazarene, he learned that pastors’ kids could apply for the Nazarene Compassionate Ministries’ Child Sponsorship program. That was a great relief because our finances at that time were not sufficient for our daily needs, especially our schooling. My two siblings and I were enrolled in the child sponsorship program, and by God’s grace, all of us were sponsored. We were really grateful for the privilege, which enabled us to buy new clothes, shoes, and bags and support our schooling. Being an NCM sponsored child was a really big deal for me. I took it very seri-

haven’t met who has compassion for you


ously, diligently writing letters to my

and has made you like part of her family.

Leah Open,

sponsor and making crafts for her. I didn’t

Though we were a thousand miles

want the money that my “Grandma” Bar-

apart, I felt she was very near. She wrote

bara was sending to be wasted. I chal-

me diligently and kept encouraging me

lenged myself to strive hard in school and

to be faithful and obedient to God, to be a

to obey God more and more. Every time

good daughter to my parents and to strive

my Grandma Barbara wrote a letter, I felt

hard in my studies. She shared that she

very cared for and loved—it’s really spe-

gave a portion of her retirement fee every

cial knowing there is someone whom you

month to me as her sponsored child, and

NCM Philippines

SPRING 2014 27

Then disaster

struck our city.

In December 2011 ...

Typhoon Washi hit Cagayan de Oro. Thousands of lives were lost ... The world saw the destructive effects

of the typhoon— the grieving families and the hurt ... and God used the disaster to bring change and transformation in my life.

she was very happy because God gave me

An Unexpected Move

to her as a sponsored child. Being spon-

My father was asked to plant a church in

sored by her was such a blessing, and I so

Opol, Misamis Oriental, and we decided

wished I could see her or talk to her and

to settle in this rural part of the north-

personally thank her for everything.

western Philippines as full-time minis-

In the summer of 2005, all the Visayas

ters. At the time, I was confused. I didn’t

and Mindanao pastors’ kids met in Cebu

know why my father accepted an assign-

City for a Pastors’ Kids Summit, which

ment among people in the lowest eco-

helped me realize how extraordinary it

nomic status, where our family’s safety

was to be a pastor’s kid. It boosted my

would be at risk.

self-esteem and helped to widen my perspective about my role as a PK.

My father told me he felt called to that place, that he felt the people were starving

From then on, I felt joy every time

for God and should know the truth. It was

I helped my father in his ministry—it

a leap of faith for us. When we got there, I

felt really victorious, even if it was tiring

discovered my father was right: The need

sometimes. During crises, I supported my

for them to know Jesus Christ was great,

father in prayer for his ministry and our

and I knew God would direct us.

family. God is so amazing because He pre-

My high school years were tough

pared all of us for this ministry and helped

because we lived 45 minutes from my

change each of our hearts and minds.

school. The fare was 40 pesos (US $1),

During that year, I started to feel

and I had to walk a kilometer from our

God’s presence and calling in my life.

house to the highway. My two siblings

There were a lot of things that tried to

took the same route with me, and I was

pull me down and make me give up. The

anxious because we weren’t financially

struggles, trials, and problems in the

capable of providing for our daily needs.

ministry strengthened me and helped me

There were times when the church offer-

strive more for an intimate relationship

ing on Sunday was just 200 pesos (US

with Jesus Christ.

$5)—only enough for one day. There were moments I would go to the beach and cry out to the Lord for strength, provision, and perseverance. There were moments when I felt very down and wanted to give up because of our situation. There were moments when I asked God, “Why are we not rich? Why are we here? Why is this happening to us?” That’s when we were very thankful that we had compassion, because it was a really big help. Though not everything was provided, it lessened our worry and we had something to look forward to. Even I can’t believe how we survived those moments, how miraculously God provided for our daily needs.

A Further Education All through my high school years, I was afraid our finances would affect my studies. I was blessed to be part of the Special Science Class curriculum, and until high school ended, I was never certain what lay Leah Open (left) helping victims of Typhoon Washi in 2011.


ahead—just the promise of God’s plan for

me that I kept every moment of my life. With God’s help, I finished my elementary and secondary studies with excellence. God’s gift of knowledge and wisdom enabled me to graduate with academic excellence, and because of this I was able to pursue my college degree. My great desire was to study theology or Christian ministry in a Bible school, but my scholarship covered only selected institutions and courses, and my parents were not prepared for their eldest child and only girl to be far from them. Photos courtesy of NCM Philippines

I prayed that God’s will would be done in my life. In the end, my background as a PK helped a lot in my decision to pursue a BS in biological sciences, because it has been my passion and gift to teach. When I was 12, I taught Sunday School for the preschool-aged students, and as time went by, my skills were honed. It was a great relief teaching people, especially if it was the truth about


the God whom I serve and love so much.



I have always been inspired by the passage in Corinthians that says, “God has appointed in the church first of all


apostles, second prophets, third teachers, VIETNAM

then those who perform miracles, those who have gifts of healing, those who



help others, administrators, and those who speak various kinds of languages”


(1 Corinthians 12:28). The gift of teaching is a calling that comes from God, and I

Then disaster struck our city. In

know that I am called to teach, especially

December 2011, three months before my

the truth about God so everyone can be

college graduation, Typhoon Washi hit

Christlike disciples.

Cagayan de Oro. Thousands of lives were

In my college years, there were a lot

lost, and many others were missing. The

of pressures, temptations, anxiousness,

world saw the destructive effects of the

problems, and trials, but God was with me.

typhoon—the grieving families and the hurt people went through—and God used

A Change of Plans

the disaster to bring change and transfor-

Before I graduated, God was reveal-

mation in my life.

Philippines Total population: 96.7 million

Population living on less than US $1 per day in 2009: 18.4% Population receiving less than minimum level of dietary energy consumption in 2011: 17.0%

Typhoon Washi

ing something in my heart, but at first I

Because our local church was on

hesitated to listen and obey. I had every-

the front lines, it was clear we needed

Date of occurrence: December 16, 2011

thing after graduation perfectly planned:

a disaster coordinator. Pastor Stephen

Number of deaths: more than 1,000

I would graduate with honors, take and

Gualberto, field strategy coordinator for

pass the Licensure Examination for

the Philippines and Micronesia, and Pas-

Number of reported injuries: almost 2,000

Teachers, and apply to work in a pub-

tor Dan Balayo, Asia-Pacific NCM child

lic school. But deep in my heart, I knew

development coordinator, asked me to be

there was something lacking, that there

that person for our area.

was more I could do.

I told myself I could not do the job

Number of health care facilities damaged: 31 Source: WHO

SPRING 2014 29

because I was very busy with an intern-

the plight of their neighbors and equip

ship, and because I had a fear of talk-

them with skills to fight poverty, training

ing to dignitaries. I worried whether

and instructing them “in the fear of the

anyone would believe that I was a coor-

Lord,” and releasing them to reach out to

dinator because I look very young.

others for Jesus. As a teacher, I am very

But God reminded me that He will

privileged to be part of this initiative.

L I V E I T. For pastors and their families around the world who do not have ready access to needed

never leave me nor forsake me, and

Even if the circumstances are tiring

that He will be with me to the ends of

and difficult, every time I teach, I feel the

resources. Ask the Lord to

the world. I cried to God and commit-

joy of sharing and imparting the knowl-

provide them with spiritual

ted everything and said, “Lord, here I

edge and wisdom I learn, especially if it

strength and practical support.

am, send me.” And I became the disas-

is the truth about God. Teaching is one of

ter coordinator in Cagayan de Oro City.

my ways of showing compassion, of giving my love, care, and hope to others.

Another Open Door

As my father is called to be a pas-

Working as the local disaster coordinator

tor, so as a family we are also called to

called me back to where my heart is and

be ministers in our own areas. One of my

helped me find my passion as a servant

brothers will graduate next year with a

leader. And since then, the Mindanao Ini-

BA in theology. The second eldest is our

tiative has become another opportunity

music/praise and worship lay leader in

for me to be part of building the kingdom

the church. My youngest brother, in 2nd

of God, offering strategic support to local

grade, is a sponsored child and also a

churches in the Philippines to make dis-

leader in children’s ministry. My mom is

ciples in their communities and mobilize

ministering to women and children.

people to reach unreached people groups (UPG) in Mindanao. We help local churches to understand


How wonderful is God’s plan for His chosen ones if we just respond and are obedient to His call. n

Which of your skills or interests gives you joy, even when fulfilling them is difficult, and how can you use them in your own community? Find out where you can make a difference and dedicate even 15 minutes per week. Sponsor a pastor’s child like Leah. Learn more at

Help us reach 1 million people who will pray for children ages 4 to 14 on Global 4/14 Day, April 14, 2014. For more information visit

Nazarene Compassionate Ministries Church of the Nazarene 17001 Prairie Star Pkwy Lenexa, KS 66220 (800) 310-6362

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NCM Magazine/Spring 2014  
NCM Magazine/Spring 2014  

Compassion as a lifestyle