I love football. I did not grow up on football. As a matter of fact, I don’t think I even saw a football game until I was in my 20’s. However, when I met my husband, I took a peek at his “wife list”-you know that list of negotiable and non-negotiable attributes for potential mates. At that point, I had decided I really liked this guy, and yup, you guessed it, “she likes football” was on his list of “this would be really cool.” So, I decided to learn. Now, I’m a big fan, not really of a specific team, but more of the sport itself.
As such, I have really looked forward to the Super Bowl as a time when we hang out with friends or family and enjoy good food, some ribbing, and a good game. Things have changed for me, though. About a year ago, my husband said that there are more slaves today than at any other time in history. That truth shocked me. I was further devastated when I allowed my heart to absorb that this industry, whether sex or labor slavery, is fed largely by loneliness, by exploited vulnerability. I am sure it is no surprise to anyone that the Super Bowl is a time of heightened sex trafficking—right here in the US.
Naturally, thinking about this has me thinking about all of the beautiful little girls and sweet little boys in my life— those living here at home with me, and those in my home, Kenya. How to protect them? How to make sure this never happens to them?
And then, it hits me. We are protecting, in fact, WE ARE PREVENTING! Each and every day, we are letting the enemy know, this will not happen here, not on my watch! Each time a child becomes a part of Provision Education Center (PEC), there is one less vulnerable child. It is no secret that traffickers prey on those who have lost hope. Children and families who feel they have no choice. Parents who think this is the only answer to the child’s future, and children who belong to no one— those who can disappear without notice. But, our kids are less vulnerable because our kids are KNOWN. Because, to a staff and a pastor in Soweto, each child has a name and a future.
A few years ago, we realized that many of our children were complete orphans who were living with community members or on the street. We also realized that many of our young girls were in vulnerable situations. With your help, PEC was able to purchase a small apartment building where the most vulnerable could be housed. Over the years, the roof has deteriorated, allowing mold to build up in the wooden beams. The mattresses had become wet and molded as well, which led to heightened allergies and deep chest coughs in many of our “boarders”. I was mortified to learn that their “Auntie”- the woman who cares for them, slept through the rainy season with a bucket on her belly to catch the drips from the leaky roof!
But I am writing today with great news! In one week, the ministry at PEC will be opening their newly renovated building! The project has been extensive! Initially, the beams on the building had to be reinforced, so that a permanent concrete roof could be built. This roof will also act as the floor for a second level when such becomes necessary. Walls have been knocked down, providing larger rooms for our borders, a single room for “Auntie,” a mud room for wet shoes and gym equipment, a room for the property guard, and a room that may serve for a dorm mother and father. The school leadership is looking for a couple to provide guidance and mentoring to the children at the dorm, providing a quasi-family environment until a more permanent family setting can be obtained. I wish I could be there as they see their new rooms with their newly painted walls, new mattresses with zipping covers, new sheets and blankets, and clean fresh air!
This, dear friends, is PREVENTION. Because of you, our donors, and the intensely wonderful plan of our Father, twenty children are NOT vulnerable to trafficking. Here in this place, they will be known, loved, and guided so that by God’s grace, each child will grow up with a voice to speak for those who cannot speak for themselves. They will have legitimate hope!
We may not have stored up for ourselves treasure in heaven by sleeping with a bucket on our chest, as part of the calling to serve kids year-round for practically nothing. But we do believe that “WE ARE KENYA” means that by becoming a part of the mission to love the vulnerable, we all become a part of Kenya, indeed we ARE Kenya. To care for these children as our own, to protect and ensure that each is safe— that is our calling, and we thank you for being a part!
– Kim (Mama Sundi)