Over the past three months, COVID-19 has literally shutdown the global economy. We’ve talked about it extensively here at The Stone Table, because we believe the marketplace is part of God’s sacred design. The economy is one of the key ways we can glorify God and love our neighbor.
So it’s been an incredibly gut-wrenching season for everyone around the world. While watching many face the medical consequences of this horrific virus, we’ve also witnessed catastrophic job loss and business owners losing their life’s work to the sweeping economic shutdowns. To be clear, we don’t think God cursed humanity with COVID-19, but we do believe God uses everything, including seasons of unimaginable human suffering, for His ultimate glory and our good. These outcomes are not always clear in the moment, but this week, God gave us a glimpse of one powerful way He is redeeming this global pandemic.
The message below is from Pastor David Wigington, a key member of The Stone Table board who helps us greatly with our missions fundraising and investing efforts. Hang onto your seats, because the opportunity that is presenting itself right now has not been possible for over 500 years! Check it out.
Monday afternoon, I got a phone call with updates from our Project Rescue site leaders in the country in Southeast Asia where this beautiful ministry all began. Last year, The Stone Table partnered with numerous churches and businesses to raise a record $1.3million for Project Rescue.
Project Rescue ministers to helpless women and children who have been trapped in the sex trade by evil traffickers who trick them into moving to the cities with false promises of employment. Once there, these women are enslaved in the brothels, forced to service dozens of men each day in order to payoff manufactured “debts” to their captors. We help these women and their children find freedom and hope in Jesus. In many cases, these women can’t escape, but they give us their children. Many of you have generously given to provide care, shelter, education, love, and hope to the least of these.
Like many areas around the globe, this particular country has been hard hit by the Coronavirus. Schools and businesses are completely shut down. Travel is restricted, and strict curfews are in place.
For the first time in our lifetime, the sex trafficking industry is virtually shut down. Most of the brothels are closed. Customers are rare. Demand is at an all-time low, and the traffickers are losing a lot of money. As a result, these traffickers are giving the women permission to leave and take their children with them!
Their manufactured “debt” has been cancelled.
Their chains are broken.
They can go home!
In the more than 20-year existence of Project Rescue, this has never happened! It’s only been a dream. And once again, what the enemy intended for evil, God is using for good!
Here’s the challenge. Although the women and their children are free to go, they have no resources and no way to provide for themselves of their kids. Most of them were sold or kidnapped at 10-12 years of age. They’ve never had a job and don’t have the first idea of how to make a living. They have no career path, no money, no food, and no plan.
They are begging the Project Rescue leaders, “We don’t ever want to go back to the brothels, but we have to feed our children somehow. Please help us.”
At one of the Project Rescue ministry sites, we currently have 300 women and children freed from the brothels with nowhere to go. They don’t ever have to go back to the sex trade if they can find another way to live. And while Project Rescue has a plan to help each one of these women and children, they don’t have the resources on hand to meet this providential moment in history.
That’s why we need your help! The window of opportunity is short. This is not a manufactured time crunch to create sense of urgency. No one can be certain, but we expect the Coronavirus restrictions to begin lifting in July. When that happens, the evils of sex trafficking will resume and begin pulling these women back into its vile wake. We literally have to act right now.
We are going to pull women and children out of darkness and into the marvelous light and love of Jesus – women like Sahanna and her daughter Aanya. Aaya and her daughter Charita. Real image-bearers of God with real names. We can provide them with a safe place to live and a new life filled with hope.
Here’s the deal, the cost to help a woman and her children start a new life is $1542. That provides four months of living expenses, health care for both mom and her children, and vocational training – a whole new life!
You might say, “Pastor David, I can’t afford $1542.” You can still make a difference. Here’s how:
- $42 will provide healthcare for a mom and her children for a month.
- $129 will provide food, clothing, rent, and basic necessities for a month.
- $862 will provide vocational training and new economic freedom for a woman and her child.
The economy has been decimated, but people still have to eat. Project Rescue is ready to teach these rescued women to farm, to raise chickens and cattle. The $862 will not only train them, but give them the seed to start their own small businesses.
Three months ago, if you had said “there will soon be a short window of time where women are going to be freely released in mass from sexual slavery,” no one would have believed you. Only God could make this happen.
Hear me: We are not giving these traffickers a penny. We aren’t buying freedom, freedom has already been given! Everything you give will go straight to the need. In fact, The Stone Table has already given a $125,000 matching grant to the project. A portion of the funds has already been sent to get the work started. Will you help us?
Here are those numbers again:
- Health care for a mom and her children: $42 a month.
- Food, clothing, rent, and basic necessities: $129 a month.
- Vocational training and a startup micro-business: $862.
- Total cost for four months and a new start: $1542
Will you join The Stone Table to seize this historic moment and redeem Coronavirus for the Kingdom of God?
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