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3 year-old sex slave: The good news

This week I’m following up on some stories where you, our blog readers, have made a difference.  Too often we feel impotent in a world full of pain, when the reality is that we can make a big difference.   A couple of months ago, I shared a shocking blog of a three year-old in the Phi…
By Seth Barnes
By Seth Barnes
This week I’m following up on some stories where you, our blog readers, have made a difference.  Too often we feel impotent in a world full of pain, when the reality is that we can make a big difference.
 
A couple of months ago, I shared a shocking blog of a three year-old in the Philippines who had been sold for $60 to become a sex-slave. He was going to be trafficked to Japan.  At the last second, some locals intervened. And many of you asked what could be done to help.
 
One World Race blog reader, Sarah Hastings,  was so upset by the situation that she knew she had to do something.  She wrote me this email:
I saw Michael Angelo’s face and that was it. I was immediately responsible. I have twin boys the same age as Michael Angelo, and I was physically ill with the thoughts going through my head…. absolutely haunted. My sister and I worked to get in touch with Philippines Community Fund (PCF), the organization that has the schools there and employs the social worker who discovered the original situation of Michael Angelo being sold for sex.

I’ve been in contact through email with Jane Walker, the CEO of PCF. My family decided to give up our Christmas gift-giving and instead sponsor this family. We raised nearly $2000 through family and friends, buying them food, clothing, clean drinking water, beds and bedding, as well as materials to fix their home. We also bought the father his own pedicab so that he can better support his family (he was previously renting one). My husband and I will also be monthly financing the oldest son’s (a former gang member) return to high school so that when he graduates, he can also better help support the family.
 

That said, I know the father will be returning to work. It is our prayer that the mother will be able to stay home with the young children during the day. In terms of whether or not Michael Angelo is now safe, I do believe he is… largely based on my feeling that the mother initially reacted out of total desperation in what she did.
 
They have more than these physical items we’ve provided. They have hope. I also know the family has been told that we were burdened by God to do this for them, and that has resonated.

 
It’s my understanding that the ultimate goal of PCF is to educate the families, give them hope, and make them eventually self-sufficient. Jane has told me the family would be going through intensive counseling with social workers to ensure their money and resources are being used in the best way.
 

Although I think this family’s basic needs at this point are close to being covered, there are hundreds of other families in situations just as desperate. PCF will go out of their way to hook up sponsors with specific families, and from what I can tell, there is extensive follow-up on how the family does, with regular reports and photos.
 
When I initially expressed to Jane my guilt over focusing only on Michael Angelo when there were so many in need, she reassured me that their organization is based on individuals helping individuals… no one person can take care of them all.

 

The foundation is facing its own financial challenges… Jane is trying to build a third school to eradicate all child labor in the dump there, and with the poor economy, they are struggling with funding and might have to shut down their feeding program. Jane’s given up her salary and she’s fighting the battle of staying afloat every day. She’s expressed to me that if she could afford a plane ticket to the US, she’d love to come here and speak at churches, etc. to raise funds.
And my conclusion is, praise God!  What heroes Jane, Sarah and her family are! They saw a need and knew they had to do something about it.  More of us Jesus-followers need to kick off the chains of passivity and follow their example.  

Comments (7)

  • St. Mark of the Cross

    Many times our passivity and impotency are indications of spiritual paralysis. We need to have our central nervous system (what makes us tick-spirit, soul, and body) to be reattached to the brain JESUS. Let us lay hands on ourselves and recover from these diseases and be about our Father’s business. I hear many talking now of really living Christ out – free from fear and self. The greatest revival ever was when the early church did not fear being called crazy/mad, a cult, thrown in jail, beaten, loss of jobs, etc… the results are us! Do we hear the Macedonian call today?

  • Good to have the update and to hear that so much has happened for the whole family. So glad to hear it.

    Jane is totally spot on. You change the world one person at a time, not en masse. The numbers and the needs are often so huge and daunting and big pictures often engender guilt and inaction because one little gesture feels so ineffectual in the face of it all. But if you look closer, the big picture is made up of thousands of little pictures. Like a giant collage. Faces, names, homes, families, people in the image of God and He loves them. One face at a time, one name at a time and the difference is made.

  • I am astounded! “What heroes Jane, Sarah and her family are!” YES! I am devoting parts of today to pray for these ppl! We do, indeed, need more!

  • Seth, thank you again for taking the time and effort to let the voice of MA (and so very many like him) be heard.

    In this world, it’s too easy to change the channel, turn the page, and close the browser window so you don’t have to feel even in a small way the pain the “rest of the world” is experiencing.

    I’ve been blessed and cursed with a heart of compassion. Too often I simply crippled by the massive suffering in this world… Where to start? How could I possibly make a difference? Would it mean anything for the longterm?

    Seeing Michael Angelo was completely different in that I just could not not turn away. I knew his name, I knew where he lived, I knew his story, and I had seen his face. This was a little boy who could have been my own…. I couldn’t just walk away.

    Since then I’ve spent much time trying to develop support and compassion, not just for MA but for PCF and the people of the Philippines. Through all I’ve done, I’ve received very minimal response… and I’ve struggled to understand how they could NOT react the way I have to this story. I’ve gone through many emotions, but in the end, it is simply my hope that there is some other story that will grab their hearts. This one was the one for me, but for others maybe it will be another.

    And I guess maybe that’s the crux of this… I felt not the whisper but the YELLING of God in my ear. HELP HIM…. and I did. I’m thankful for that, because otherwise his face might have been lost with all the others I’ve seen over time. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the needs of this world, seek His voice. Figure out what He wants you to do… and then just do it.

    PCF’s website is http://www.p-c-f.org. It is possibly one of the most organized, efficient, and intentional ministries I’ve ever seen.

  • Sarah Hastings is one good soul. Her dogged determination made all this happen. We are so glad and grateful she is our friend.
    Seth, this one is on you and AIM,too. Sarah would never have heard about any of this without Allison and the World Race. Like I’ve said before, you AIM folks may not know how many people you touch every day around the world doing what you do. God Bless you all.

    Steve J.
    The World Race Dad

  • I happened to stumble upon this sight in an unrelated search, and the plight of these people and what Jane is doing for them caught my attention. For several reasons.
    My family has come into some money recently, and being a firm believer in “paying it forward”, I have been on the lookout for any cause that warrants our contribution, and it looks like this one does.
    My only question is, I see that there seem to be at least 7 children in the family to which Michael Angelo belongs, and he is the youngest at three years old. If I’m reading this right and understand correctly, these people have agreed not to sell their helpless baby to sex slave traffickers now that your organization has provided them with basic needs. I understand how things work in the third world, and how desparation can drive the citizens to do things like this. Does your organization offer these poor women, who are obligated by their culture to blindly obey their husbands, any birth control, birth control counselling, or the like? How can they be expected to maintain a safe, sufficient environment for the exsisting children in their home, if they are constantly having to deal with pregnancy, child birth, and medical situations of that nature? It’s humanly impossible for a woman in those circumstances to do so if she has no control over reproductive life.
    If I can be reassured, through this blog, that something is being done to help the women (and men) in this community to deal with this area of their lives, and improve their situation and those of their children, I will be happy to help.
    I will look forward to reading your response, and find out where to start donating and helping.

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Seth Barnes

I'm motivated to join God in his global reclamation project. He's on the move, setting his sons and daughters free from their places of captivity. And he's partnering with those of us who have been freed to go and free others.



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