I have got some very exciting news for you all – I can hardly restrain myself – but first some background! A few months ago, I was in Raleigh to preach at the lovely Church on Morgan and to co-host a fundraiser for Help One Now.
I’ve been on the board of directors for Help One Now for two years now but long-time readers here know that I’ve actually worked with and alongside of this organization since 2012 when I first visited their community development projects in Haiti and then again in 2014. I love this tribe of people and I love how we do peace-making and justice work – we particularly focus on high capacity local leaders and then (rather than being the western saviours) we simply resource and empower the work they are already doing in their local communities. We strive to help end extreme poverty, care for orphans, rescue slaves, and see communities transformed through our international partners.
Every time I see this picture, I well up. This is 2012, sitting in the very bare and empty spot in the city where more than 300 kids are now being educated in a beautiful Haitian-led school. We were a part of this. Where there was nothing but empty cinder blocks there is now a kindergarten classroom. Glory! And now we get to do this again!
Because of our connection to these amazing local leaders all around the world – Ethiopia, Haiti, Peru, South Africa, Zimbabwe, the Dominican Republic, and so on – as a community, we have been a key part of building an incredible school in Port au Prince and funding a home-based village for victims of human trafficking, paying school fees for students who were orphaned by the cholera outbreak after Haiti’s earthquake and creating community gardens in South Africa.
You were all a part of that. You are part of something pretty amazing.
Honestly, doing stuff like this with you all is one of the great joys of my life.
So now I have great news!
We get to do this together again!
Mercedes Malpartida is a local leader in Peru. She lives in a city of 600,000 right on the edge of the Amazon rainforest and she has a vision for a refuge for victims of abuse, trafficking, and forced prostitution. I haven’t personally met Mercedes – yet! – but our leadership at Help One Now has spent a lot of time with her and her team in Peru and they all agree: she is a leader for such a time as this. You can read this lovely profile of Mercedes on the Help One Now blog here. She has a tremendous heart for the broken and wounded in her community but it’s paired with passion and authority and leadership.
I can’t tell you how refreshing it is to work with an organization who sees women as key leaders and empowers and resources them accordingly. This is such a difference-maker to empower and resource women who lead in developing countries. As Lisa Bevere says, “Women are not a problem…they are an answer!”
When we were talking about this project as a board, I knew we as a community were the right ones to come alongside of Mercedes. After all, we know how important women are in the Kingdom of God and we Jesus Feminists, we know that when sleeping women wake, mountains move. We want to move with God’s girls to rescue, restore, and redeem the world. We’re the ones to come alongside of this woman of valour in Peru, aren’t we?
I saw this model first-hand with a similar village that we were a part of funding and founding in Haiti, right near the border with the Dominican Republic, called Ferrier Village. Our experience with Ferrier Village means that we know exactly what Mercedes wants to do now in Peru with this model and we know that it works – we know that children thrive in homes with mamas who love them and schools that challenge them and therapists to support their healing and communities that protect them.
Together with our team, Mercedes has refined her vision, assessed the need, and has been working to build the necessary rapport with local authorities – including an influential district attorney in Iquitos. As a result of the fundraiser that we held back in March in Raleigh which raised $50,000, we have created architectural drawings, structural plans, and developed the plans and budgets for the project.
We are just about to break ground on Kairos Village!
Kairos Village will provide counselling, comfort, love, and restoration to children rescued from abusive and sexually exploitative situations. The kids will have an opportunity to attend school, receive regular, nutritious meals, and will be given access to healthcare. They will also have a comforting family environment, with a house mother and 3-4 other rescued children in a safe and secure home.
Kairos Village, which is modelled after our very successful Ferrier Village in Haiti, will consist of several small homes, each housing 4-5 rescued children and a house mother. Every home will have two bedrooms, a living room, indoor plumbing, running water, and electricity. There will be a community centre with a kitchen, dining hall, and the Village offices. A clean water and sanitation system will be constructed as well. There will also be a large security wall built for the safety of the Village children and staff.
This phase we will begin with the water system for the entire Village, Rescue Home #1, and the main building – including a dining area, kitchen, bakery, storage, and more.
We are excited to get this started, but we have a long way to go to finish funding Phase 1 and we need your help to keep it moving forward.
In the last several months, we’ve been reminded over and over of the importance of this refuge.
Two young teenage girls were taken out of their home by police because of reported abuse, only to be put back in the home because there was no other place to go. Then they were arrested a few months later for prostitution, forced on them by their uncle.
An 8 year old who must continue living under the same roof with an abusive stepfather who is awaiting trial.
A female student at Colegio Kairos who missed school one day. After her mother could not find her, she was rescued by the police before she could be taken to another city by a group of sex traffickers. One member of her family is now on trial for working with the traffickers.
These young women and children need a refuge, whether temporary or long-term, where they will be safe, loved and nurtured back to physical, emotional and spiritual health. The need inspired the vision in the heart of Mercedes Malpartida years ago, and now the need drives us to complete and open this rescue village.
We have the leaders. We have the vision. And now we need a tribe of folks like YOU to come together and help.
So far, we have helped to raise $50,000. This is a great start and has allowed us to green-light this project. But it’s time to press forward and finish funding Phase 1. Our goal is to raise $150,000 by the end of the year through both our end-of-year giving campaign and this year’s Legacy Project. Let’s celebrate the progress and press on toward the goal!
SO LET’S DO THIS. LET’S RESCUE WOMEN AND CHILDREN IN PERU!
Back our Project – I don’t care if it’s $5 or $5,000 – it all counts, it all matters, and if anything matters, everything matters.
Share this project on all of your social media channels – Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, heck, we’ll take Snapchat even if I’m too old to understand it!
PRAY! Pray for Kairos Village, pray for Mercedes, pray for the project, pray for the funds to come in to see this come to reality, pray for the children who are waiting for these homes, pray for the women who will lead each home, pray for our leadership. Prayer is KEY to this project.