At Easter we celebrate Jesus’s resurrection which means death has been defeated and God is going to mend our broken world, making all things new. We herald that news by reaching out in the name of Christ to those who are suffering. That's where the Easter Sacrifical Offering (ESO) comes in. Through giving generously to ESO we link arms with brothers and sisters in other parts of the world and join them in ministries of mercy and relief. As we do so we demonstrate the unity of Christ’s body and proclaim the coming of his kingdom. Highlighted below is one of the projects we'll be supporting this year.
Today twenty-two women in brightly printed batik dresses graduate from African Enterprise'’s vocational training program in Accra, Ghana. They are radiant, clothed in fabric they dyed themselves, swaying as they sing sweet praise to Jesus.
Three months ago they were prostitutes; now all twenty-two are our sisters in Christ. Even the former Muslim is attending church and eagerly reading her Bible.
For a decade, Tenth has partnered with Christians in Ghana to offer prostitutes a chance to start over. The Ghanaians provide the facility and disciple the women while Tenth, through gifts to our Easter Sacrificial Offering, helps fund the cost of the vocational training and provides the women a small stipend to live on while enrolled. The program consists of three weeks of intensive Bible study and counseling followed by seven weeks of learning practical trades.
The women emerge with skills in silk screening, batik, soap-making, and baking. Each picks a skill to build a business around and at graduation is given the needed equipment. Those choosing baking, for instance, carry home gas cylinders and ovens. They also receive about $75 in start-up capital. In a country where the average income is $2 a day that goes a long way. After graduating, most of the women return to their home villages and open stalls in the markets.
As he is able, the project manager, Rev. Bernard Sachie, follows up with graduates. Four of those who remained in Accra last year got married; five were baptized and are now “fully integrated into the church.” One previous graduate pursued training in catering and came back to teach baking to the current class. They are eager to help one another.
Later this month, Rev. Sachie will invite all the past graduates back for a special meeting: for the first time a micro-finance organization has agreed to help the women form a cooperative in order to boost one another through small loans.
Truly the Lord has answered our prayers and in the words of Isaiah 61 replaced their “spirit of despair” with a “garment of praise.”
One Graduate’'s Story
Excerpted from a report from our Ghanaian partners
According to Linda (21 years), her father is demised and her mother, a poor widow, could not take care of her and her siblings. Apparently, she was promised a good job in Accra by a certain woman. She accompanied her only to realize later that it was prostitution.
The practicing of prostitution was against her volition. She abhorred it but did not have money to go back to her hometown in the Ashanti Region.
She was working for no pay because the woman took all the money. The only thing she got from the woman was shelter and food. When she was directed to African Enterprise, she came weeping looking for help so that she could at least stop prostitution and find decent job no matter how menial it was.
Linda was very optimistic that the training was going to offer her hope; therefore she banked all her hope on it and worked tirelessly. One could see that from the fact that she was seen working hard on all fields of the training.
Linda opted for bakery, and she has since gone back to her hometown. We have promised her a visit to ascertain how best she is doing in her business.
Let us pray with Linda so that the Lord will grant her the courage and the ability to forgive herself. We on our part have given her full assurance of salvation. We pray that the Holy Spirit will continue to work on her.
A portion of our Easter Sacrificial Offering will support African Enterprise’'s vocational training program for former prostitutes in Accra, Ghana.
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