By Carl Stagner
Thank you, Church of God. Your generous support of CHOG TraffickLight is not only rescuing women and children from the horrors of human trafficking, but is also preventing trafficking from happening in the first place. You’ve heard the stories of how the Shelter in Cuttack, India, has nurtured, protected, and discipled girls with otherwise uncertain futures. No one will ever know for sure where each girl would be today had they not found refuge and unconditional love at the Shelter, but one thing is certain: these girls did not end up as victims of human trafficking. Thanks to your support, the Shelter is now celebrating major improvements designed to enhance security, bless the girls with better living conditions and, as capacity increases, welcome more girls.
Persistent rains mark much of the year in Cuttack, India. Flooding across the property on which the Shelter lies is more than a nuisance. The property—which includes three schools, a CBH studio, printing press, and more—becomes impassable at points due to a terribly insufficient holding tank. The first thing crews are working on is the holding tank. Greater capacity in the holding tank, renovated bathrooms, and a new, covered clothes-drying area, will lead to improved safety, comfort, and hygiene among the residents. Without a dry place to dry rain-soaked clothes, the Shelter’s ability to keep up with laundry demands has been severely dampened. Because of your giving, and the onsite assistance of three experts from First Church of God of St. Joseph, Michigan, these practical needs will now be met.
Another practical need of the Shelter has been for safe, reliable, and sufficient transportation. To keep the girls safe, campus leadership uses a bus, taking multiple trips, to haul girls on field trips, or to the grocery store. Their bus was too small. Because of your giving, the Shelter now has a new bus to handle the approximately seventy girls.
Perhaps one of the most exciting improvements coming to the Shelter is the construction of a new dormitory, scheduled to break ground in February. Not only will a new dorm allow residents some more elbow room, but ultimately will welcome more girls to the Shelter. “There’s a waiting list of girls to come to the Shelter,” Ben Shular, Church of God Ministries chief international officer explains. “But you can only add as many girls as there is capacity and as there are sponsorships.”
All of the girls at the Shelter are sponsored by people like you, through Children of Promise. “The Shelter provides residential care for girls orphaned or destitute in Cuttack, India,” Paul Maxfield, executive director of Children of Promise explains. “It is the longest-running social welfare ministry in the Church of God worldwide. Children of Promise has agreed to work to find sponsors for any new girls added to the Shelter as a result of this expansion. The cost is fifty dollars per month. This provides basic care, including food, clothing, education, health care, and incidentals. If people are interested in sponsoring a girl at the Shelter, they may contact Vicky Creamer, our sponsorship associate, or they may visit our website and indicate that they would like to sponsor a girl from the Shelter—http://www.echildrenofpromise.org/sponsor-a-child/. In completing the form, select ‘India The Shelter’ as the country.”
One of the inspirational aspects of the expansion of the Shelter centers on Anita, a graduate of the Shelter. At the Church of God Convention last year, you heard her story of transformation and growth she experienced because of the ministry of the Shelter. Her success story involves an entrepreneurial spirit that led her to own a machine company that will now supply the steel needed for the Shelter’s expansion. Don Armstrong, regional coordinator for Global Strategy in Asia and the Pacific, reflects that the expansion of the Shelter means that “the lives of even more girls will be improved, giving the skills and education so many more may become Anitas!”