Taking Jesus to the Beach

All of these kids live in impoverished slum communities in Cebu City, Philippines, and our day at the beach was an unexpected treat for them. None own more than a couple of changes of clothing, which they feel fortunate to have, and none owned a swimsuit.

Taking Jesus to the Beach

How a day at the beach is helping to protect teens from trafficking

Dear Friends,

It’s hot every day of the year in the Philippine city of Cebu, but few of the kids who live in its slum communities ever get to enjoy a day at the beach—even though beautiful tropical waters surround their island. So last fall when we visited Hope House, our partner in the Philippines who is helping us protect children from human trafficking, we decided to rent a bus and take as many as we could for a real treat!

The kids lined up on the street that morning, and clamored onto our chartered bus to begin a journey of about 2 hours (much of that time was spent crawling through city traffic). Upon our arrival it was obvious that the “glory days” of the resort have long since passed, and tourists have been replaced by locals, the kids didn’t take long to get into the water!

After a big lunch, made possible by Heaven’s Family’s Food Ministry, and a little more splashing around, we headed back to their reality, which often involves survival by whatever means possible. Below are some photos we’d like to share of those memories…

At left, everyone was excited and full of energy as we began our 2-hour bus ride, but many eventually found their “comfy spot” and took in a little nap (something not too difficult when you’re as small as most of them are!)

These girls have begun attending Hope House activities only recently; their use of lipstick at such a young age in that culture suggests they may already have been exploited, or are at the very highest risk of being so. Our hope is that, as they begin to trust believers at Hope House, they will be pulled back from the brink of disaster.

We served a lunch to all, thanks to funds from Diane Scott, director of Heaven’s Family’s Food Ministry, who was one of our team members

Years ago it was a much nicer resort, and the tourists have been replaced by locals (making it a bargain for us to take a bunch of kids there)—but the fun had by all was priceless!

That’s why the Human Trafficking & Slavery Ministry is invested in Hope House. By showing at-risk children and teens that God loves them and that, through relationship with Him they can dare to hope for a better future than life in the slums, we help protect them from the lures of traffickers who prey upon those with no hope.

We do that by helping Hope House purchase uniforms and supplies that enable kids to attend school, teach and disciple teens through weekly Bible studies, worship services and hands-on outreaches into their own communities. We also provide food, basic medical assistance and, most importantly, we help provide the presence of Jesus, through his people, right in the slum community, enabling relationships of trust and influence to grow. And through those relationships—which include things like an occasional trip to the beach—they are continually reminded that Jesus loves them.

Thanks so much for partnering with us as we seek to protect at-risk children from trafficking, rescue those lured into the sex industry, and restore those who’ve been damaged by abuse and exploitation around the world.

Together with Him,

Jeff and Karin Trotter
Directors, Human Trafficking & Slavery Ministry

Parting Shots…

Karin captured a shot of this precious one with her dad. They were not part of our group, but we hope this is one father who takes good care of his daughter.

This is but one of hundreds of fishing communities in the Philippines where poverty is entrenched and children are frequently neglected or mistreated. The isolated location of such fishing slums make it very difficult to reach out to those who live in them.

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