Journal.

A look back over 2021

A look back over 2021

As we step into a new year, we want to say THANK YOU for all your continued support of Hope and Light. 

When I first travelled to Asia in 2018 I never imagined God would lead me as He has over the last couple of years. He has provided wonderful opportunities and opened many doors in order to reach vulnerable and exploited women and children across Asia. This year was no exception.  

The launch of our Soi Six Collection was a huge success and through your purchases and donations we were able to support our partners in Pattaya by reaching women in the red light district Soi Six with “Hope” packs. The packs contained food, essentials and literature which were a vital outreach tool and much needed throughout Covid. More importantly it enabled our partners to reach out to the women, build relationships and help those in need. 

 

This project is on-going. In addition to a large number of institutions offering sexual entertainment, a significant number of women and men work on the street. There are estimated to be 27,000 women and men working in Pattaya. Thank you for your support and prayers enabling us to reach these men and women.

Our Pads for Pakistan appeal also continued throughout 2021. I am so grateful for the support of Ballydown Presbyterian ‘Sewing Bees’ and to individuals for their hard work, time and dedication in the making of reusable sanitary towels to reach those rural women in need of such basic essentials. To date, through your amazing support we have sent out hundreds of reusable pads over the past year. To receive the video updates from our partners of the impact these have made is so emotional. Thank you for all your donations to this on-going appeal, enabling us to post the pads and reach these women and their children with dignity and love.

Our ‘Break the Chain’ appeal based in South-East Asia was aimed at reaching women and children prone to internal cross border trafficking. Within these communities poverty and corruption fuels child sexual exploitation, trafficking, prostitution, and child marriage in rural areas. Your support for this appeal helped us reach out to these young girls and their families through the distribution of much needed food and essentials throughout covid. Your support helped with anti-trafficking talks, educating young children on the dangers of trafficking, a safe space for study and prayer and “one to one” talks within these unreached communities. Your support enabled us to reach an area where girls are forgotten, and lives seem destined to darkness, offering many families support and hope through difficult times.

Of course your many purchases of our jewellery over the past year have continued to offer dignified employment to those seeking an alternative to the sex industry in Thailand and Cambodia. Safe work through making bags and scarves to rural communities has also been further developed this past year, teaching women and young girls skills to prevent trafficking and exploitation within their communities. We are honoured to partner with various projects across Asia that continue to reach out and provide a place of safe employment and new opportunities for these individuals. We are so thankful for your participation and partnership in this mission.

At home here in Northern Ireland your support throughout the province has been incredible. In the last couple of months I was kindly invited to 22 church meetings sharing about the ministry of Hope and Light and raising awareness of the huge issue of human trafficking and exploitation of women and children. I would like to thank you most sincerely for giving me the opportunity to share with you all, about the work of Hope and Light, for the very warm welcomes and the support both financially and prayerfully that I received. It has been a real privilege to have met with you all and form many long lasting partnerships. 

It was such a blessing to finally become a registered charity this year. I think I underestimated the amount of work involved in this task! Thank you so much to my trustees for their support in getting there! I would also like to thank my team of volunteers who selflessly gave of their time to support this ministry - those of you who have offered help and support in accounting, IT, website, marketing, proof-reading and administration. I couldn’t do it without you all! Thank you! 

Together, through your support we have been able to build trusting relationships, provide safe work, dignified livelihoods and essential items. Women are being shown that they are worth so much more, that they are valued and loved. Fundamentally, we want them to grow in strength and dignity and find freedom and hope in Jesus Christ. 

Currently we are focusing our efforts in Iraq through our Broken Vessels appeal. Through this we are ministering to survivors of ISIS sex slavery who are suffering from the trauma of abuse and abandonment. As with all our projects across Asia your donations equip us to step into the broken lives of these women offering them hope and light for the future. 

As we step into a new year I want to thank you all for your support throughout 2021.  I am excited for the new opportunities in 2022 that God will provide for Hope and Light, for new partnerships and for the strengthening and development of existing partnerships.  It is love, found in Christ, that compels us. This New Year, we pray that the love and light of Christ will shine into every dark corner where there is weariness, discouragement, and fear. May the Light dispel the darkness and give hope to a weary world.

Laura

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