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 ways of doing things more effectively. It is no different at New Hope.
This coming year, the Lord willing, one of the New Hope children, Michael, 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? Deserting 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 surrounding islands. It happens on an
almost monthly basis- and doesn’t include the illegal abortions that take place daily and babies that are never found!
Obviously it is Satan who drives people to such desperate acts when 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 in case the parents do not agree and force the relationship to end. 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 elope and start
a life together elsewhere without being able to get married. Sexuality is never discussed, contributing to a high rate of teenage pregnancies.
Imagine a 17 year old girl who becomes pregnant by a boy who is disliked by her family. Where should she go? Facing the family means that she will likely not see her boyfriend again. They might punish her physically or send 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 legitimate father, the midwife will not 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 may 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,
moreover her pregnancy. From friends she heard that by taking certain traditional medicines she would start menstruating again- or in other words abort the baby! She did drink the concoction made for her by a witch doctor but it was not successful.
Michael was obviously being protected by the Lord. He was born and has been a member of the New Hope family for three years already.
Michael was born in Rote, a small Island divided from Timor by a three hour ferry ride. He never knew his father who left him and his mother when he was just a baby. Michael’s mother was very confused and worried throughout the pregnancy but thankfully her brother, a devoted Christian, was always there for her. He advised her to love the unborn baby and through his support she decided to keep the baby.
Michael’s mother decided to never marry but instead focus on raising her child. She turned to God and became a very strong Christian lady. Since then she worked hard by selling small dried fish to support his elementary schooling. However when
he reached high school her income was not enough to pay his school fees. Through her brother she heard about the New Hope ministry. With her limited funds she made the trip to Kupang to ask whether we would take in Michael as one of the orphans.
Michael 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 was always trying to prove his strength. He is very quick minded and can be quite naughty but if you prick through that ego he has a big heart for people. Helping him is a matter of knowing how to deal with this kind of character and understanding his background. Pastor Ed is thankfully very
good in reading someone’s character and seems to have a knack in knowing how
to approach the different children and to deal with them accordingly.
Michael has been with us for three years and next year will be his last year in
school. We have had a few talks with him about what he aspires to be in the future. One of them is being an announcer in the Reformed radio station Sahabat FM. He already has some experience presenting the weekly New Hope program here. Another
interest is to be a language teacher which requires four years of schooling at the Reformed Training Centre.
Needless to say, Michael has a lot of thinking and considering to do in the next few
months. And not just Michael- but it also made the New Hope board aware that we have to brainstorm and pray about the new direction of New Hope in the future. Besides providing education, health care and all the other daily necessities, we have to
consider the level of independence of the orphans going to university or other further education.
Discovering the history of Michael and his mum, reading stories in the newspapers and attending funerals of girls who died because of illegal abortions,
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 (Sahabat FM)’ will be hosting a program called 'Hope Centre' 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 Centre’ where they will receive help. If funds allow we hope to print literature against abortion, give talks in schools about abortion and provide shelters for these women to have their babies.
New Hope will provide for all daily necessities, healthcare and medical assistance needed for the delivery and most importantly spiritual support and guidance to rebuild their future, not just here on earth. If the mother decides to keep the baby we will help her become self supported. If she decides to give the baby up for adoption we will take the little one 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 young ones at our current home as well as provide 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 appreciated. 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!