Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Hagar International- Bringing healing and restoring hope

“Evil can be undone, but it cannot 'develop' into good. Time does not heal it. The spell must be unwound, bit by bit, 'with backward mutters of dissevering power' - or else not.” ― C.S. Lewis

For as long as possible, I avoided reading the trafficking stories. I read statistic after statistic, learning more than I ever wanted to know about this trade. The simple facts were horrible enough. The avoidance did not come out of apathy or lack of compassion. It came because I knew what was coming.  You see, several years ago I started praying this prayer, "Break my heart with what breaks Yours." He answered that one. Clearly. It is His desire that we see others the way He does, so we can love them the way He loves.

So, I read the stories. And, I can't stop thinking about them. Or talking about them. (I have been really fun to be around lately. :)

This weekend I attended the Created For Care retreat in the Atlanta area. Stories were a common theme in every break out session and large group. Adoption stories- the happy ones and the hard ones. Orphan care stories- the successes and the mistakes. Stories of vibrant life and of death. Stories of hopelessness, stories of hope waiting to be fulfilled and stories of bright, vivid hope in the least likely of places.

As I sat listening to the stories, this unfinished blog post kept coming to my mind. God reminded me again that these stories are important. They need to be told. They need to be known. My heart needs to break, because His does. These precious souls, so valuable and loved by their Creator, need to find their voices and their voices need to be heard. They need to know their story can change.

This week's organization, Hagar International, cares deeply about hearing the stories of brokenness and giving the trafficking survivors the opportunity to have a new, hope-filled story through Jesus.

What is Hagar International?

Hagar International
, named for Sarai's handmade, (read her story here) was founded in Cambodia in 1994. In 2009, programs were launched in Afghanistan and Vietnam. Support offices are located in Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States.

What does Hagar International do around the world?

"Although each individual journey is different, each woman and child walks through three critical steps:  recovery, building resilience, and reintegration."

Here is the Why, Who, What and How of their work in their own words-

"Hagar is following the example of Jesus Christ in humbly serving and loving those rejected and exploited by society. Hagar nurtures hope, healing, resilience, dignity, family and community so that all involved (donors, partners, staff and beneficiaries) experience transformation.

Hagar is responsive to the most severe injustice and alienation among women and children on an individual basis. Consistent with Jesus' example, Hagar provides services without any discrimination on the basis of religious beliefs, race, gender, culture, social position, or nationality. 

Hagar is tenacious - whatever it takes and as long as it takes - in recognition of the deep wounding of severe abuse. Hagar provides high quality professional services in health care, legal aid, counseling, education, family services as well as employment through innovative businesses. 

Hagar is committed to real life giving relationships as the most powerful currency of transformation for both survivors and supporters. Hagar identifies the individual needs and potential of each survivor and nurtures, through relationships, their journey toward resilience and dignity."

How can we be involved in Hagar International's work?

*Read the stories of the women and children served by Hagar.

*If you are interested in working full time in the fight against trafficking, Hagar has positions open.

*You can partner with Hagar through giving.

*Keep informed by signing up for Hagar's quarterly newsletter.

*Become a Hagar Prayer Partner.

*Be a volunteer.

Because the annual revenues generated by Hagar USA have not exceeded one million dollars, they are not rated by Charity Navigator. Look here for Hagar's accounting of  their financials. For an independent review, check out Guidestar's Hagar rating.

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