New years resolutions....
It's that time of the year again, when you reflect back on a year gone by, and make plans for the next year to come.
Usually these plans include improvement and finding way's of doing things more effectively.
It is no different at New Hope, this coming year the Lord willing, one of the New Hope children, Jack, hopes to graduate from High school. One could say, that with graduation, his childhood comes to an end, and he is at the step of adulthood. The question is, where will this lead him...? Well before i answer this question let me tell you this story.
Can you imagine strangling your own baby? or flushing one through the toilet? desert your baby after you have just given birth to him/her out in the woods? Just thinking about such things, gives one the shivers doesn't it.
Unfortunately this is reality in Timor and sorrundings islands. It happens on an almost monthly bases. Not to mention the illegal abortions that take place daily, or the babies that are never found!
Obviously it is Satan who drives people to these desperate acts, but it is also because these mothers simply have no other way to turn to. You have to understand that parent/child relationships in general are not very personal, often there is a lot of fear of the parents.
In most families there is no room for discussion, you simply obey and agree with whatever the parents say, even if you do not agree.
When young people start to date, they will keep it a secret for as long as possible, because the parents might just not agree, and force the relationship to be ended. If a couple wishes to marry, they need the approval of the parents, grandparents, brothers, and uncle's, because they are the ones who will pay for, or receive the dowry.
Often couples will just elope, and start a life together elsewhere without being able to get married. Sexuality is something never talked about, that together with the above mentioned costums, it is no wonder that there is such a high rate of teenage pregnancies.
Just try to imagine a 17 year old girl, who got pregnant by a boy who is disliked by her family, where should she go? To face the family means that she will likely not see her boyfriend again,they might punish her physically, or sent her away. So far the government has done nothing to help girls in such a situation, there are no shelters or funds available to help her have her baby. Without a legitamite father, the midwife will not even want to examine her, or help her with the delivery! In their desperation and no where to turn, abortion is an "easy" way out, and if they don't have money for that, they will actually end up killing the baby themselves.
These are the facts that we face in the new hope ministry. Seventeen years ago; a young lady was about to kill her unborn son whose father was without a job.She was afraid to tell her parents, because they would never approve of her boyfriend, more over her pregnancy. From friends she heard that by taking certain traditional medicines, she would "start menstruating again", or in other words; Abortion! She did drink the concoction mixed together for her by a witch docter, but it was not succesfull. Harry was obviously being protected by the Lord. He was born and has been a member of the New Hope family for 3 years already.
Harry was born in Rote', a small Island divided from Timor by a 3 hr ferry ride. He never knew his father, who left him and his mother when he was just a baby. Harry's mother was very confused and worried throughout the pregnancy but thankfully; Harry's uncle who is a serious Christian was always there for Harry's mother. He adviced her to love the unborn baby, and through his support and she decided to keep the baby.
Harry's mother decided never wanting to marry again, but in stead focus on raising Harry. She turned to be a very strong Christian lady. Ever since she worked hard to support his elementary schooling. However when he became of high school age, she no longer could afford to pay his school fees with her meager income she made from selling small dried fish. It was through Harry's uncle that she heard about the New Hope ministry. With her limited funds she made the trip to Kupang to ask whether we would take in Jack as one of the orphans.
Harry has been a big challenge for us. Since the first day he came to live at the New Hope home he always wanted to appear different than the other kids. He is one of the shortest amongst the children; and he does not like that one bit. He always wants to proof, that even though he is short, it does not mean that he is weak. He is actually very quick in mind. He is naughty but if you prick through that ego, he actually has a heart for people. You just have to know how to deal with this kind of character, and understanding his background definitely helps to deal with him personally. We all have our weaknesses, and we don't write him off just because he is naughty and difficult to deal with. Pastor Ed is thankfully very good in reading someones character and seems to have a knack in knowing how to approach them and deal with them.
Harry has been with us for three years – and next year is going to be his last year in school. We have had a few talks with him about what he aspires to be in the future. There are a few things that he's got his mind on, one of them is being an announcer in the Reformed radio station; Sahabat Fm, he already has some expierience there presenting the weekly New Hope program, and he rather likes it.
Another pull is to be a language teacher, for that he could study for 4 years at the Reformed Training Centre, and upon graduation receive a degree in teaching.
Needless to say that Harry has a lot of thinking and considering to do in the next few months.
And not just Harry, but it also made the New Hope board aware that we have to brainstorm and pray about the new direction that New Hope will have to take in the future. Besides providing education, health care and all the other daily neccesities, we have to start thinking about how to make these orphans independent.
Seeing the history of Harry and him mom; reading these horrible stories in the newspapers, having been to funerals of girls who died because of an illegal abortion, it has become New Hope's vision to start a "New Life" project where we open our doors to these women and their babies. 'New Hope Radio Station” will be hosting a program called 'Hope center' where those women who find themselves in a difficult situation with nowhere to turn to, can call in anonymously with their questions. For follow up they will be referred to the "Hope Center" where they will receive help.
If funds allow, we hope to print literature against abortion, give talks in schools about abortion, open up shelters where we provide a safe place for these women to have their babies. New Hope will provide for all daily necessities, healthcare, and all the medical assistance needed for the delivery, and most important spiritual support and guidance to rebuild their future not just here on earth. If the mother decides to keep the baby, we will do our best to help her being self suppportive, and if she decide to give the baby up for adoption, we will take the little on into our New Hope home.
In order to do all this, we will need more rooms at a different location. New Hope's current location being a home to 22 children is full to capacity, rather then making it into a mass orphanage, we prefer to open up a new location on the property already bought by New Hope, which will be taken care of by another christian couple.
The idea is to have some of the "older" orphans move to the new location, and take in the new ones at our current home, and also open the "New Life" project.
As you can see, New Hope is on the threshold of a new phase for which your prayer and support is greatly needed and apreciated. Please pray for wisdom and guidance of the Lord for the board to plan and make these steps. We thank you for your prayers and generosity, and pray that our Gracious Lord will bless you and be with you in the year to come, until Maranatha.