Skills Need to be Taught

Whatever vocation a person chooses, they need to be trained. They need to obtain skills and learn how to put those skills to productive use. As they gain experience and competence, they are challenged to develop more advanced skills and given larger responsibilities.

Jesus talks about this sort of thing in his parables. He mentions how a satisfied employer speaks to his diligent and hard-working employee:

“Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful in a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!”–Matthew 25:23

For the women in our programs, who’ve escaped sexual exploitation, doing satisfying and fruitful work that does not demean them and in which they are not being used by their boss is a huge blessing. We help them discover how they can be fairly rewarded for honourable work, rather than being abusively exploited solely for the selfish benefit of an abusive master. We point them to Jesus, who loves them, wants them to succeed and also promises not merely earthly rewards but an eternal reward!

Talents Yet to be Discovered

For full recovery to happen in the lives of women who have escaped sexual exploitation, they need to be trained and given the tools to discover and develop the gifts that God has given them. Every woman is unique, blessed by God with her own set of gifts and skills. Our task is to help her to discover these talents and to guide her in developing them in healthy, productive ways, so that she will be able to succeed and thrive. We provide her with opportunities for learning and training in these skills, assisting her in finding suitable educational programs and providing her with job shadowing opportunities. As she discovers her competencies and skills in small ways, and succeeds, she gains the confidence she needs to pursue and embrace greater challenges and opportunities.

The Lord Jesus, by his transforming Word and Spirit, is the one who makes such success and flourishing possible. He is also the one promises his reward to these women, as they look to him for his blessing, provision and guidance.

The greatest reward, both for us and the young women and children we serve, is the reward that Jesus promises. Our desire is that as we do our work, and as we model for the women in our program what it looks like to work for the Lord, we may each receive his promise of success, blessing and reward:

“Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness.”–Matthew 25:23

Quality of Life

God desires not only that we believe and trust in him with all our hearts, but also that we experience the peace and security of his presence daily. Quality of life is something that every person desires. God’s promise to those who will entrust themselves to him is a quality of life that surpasses anything we humans could ever offer or experience, even those with unlimited money and resources. And not just here on earth, but forever!

As Jesus said to his disciples before he ascended into heaven:

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”–Jesus in John 14:27

Jesus does not give as the world gives. He is infinitely more generous and gracious, knows exactly what we need, and has the power and ability to deliver it to us from his infinite supply. It is this promise of Jesus that undergirds another one of SA Foundation’s core values for program delivery, namely, Quality of Life.

The peace and safety that Jesus promises to us is the peace and safety that we desire for each woman and child in our programs. One of the ways we endeavour to convey this is by ensuring that we create a peaceful and secure atmosphere for all program participants and their children, both in the spaces where they live and learn and in the caring community with which we surround and support them. Forging long-term, authentic relationships is key to creating this quality of life. Finding, building and maintaining program and living spaces that are safe and reflect the same standard of living we wish for ourselves is also important.

While we cannot give the women and children everything they need–only God can do that–we certainly do our best to help them taste and see the goodness of their loving and gracious God, by being a loving and gracious community, one that is created and shaped and sustained by our Lord Jesus.

Will you continue to help us be such a community, through your continual prayers and regular support? Thank you for all the ways that you are already doing so! We certainly experience God’s goodness, and the peace and safety that Jesus imparts, through people like you.

It Takes Time to Heal

Another one of our program delivery core values at the SA Foundation is that it takes time to heal. Jesus says:

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”–Jesus in Matthew 11:28-30

We apply this principle of patience, compassion and mercy to the manner in which we deal with the women and children in our program. Healing from the deep and extensive trauma that they have experienced takes a lot of patience and time, both for them and for those of us who care for them and walk alongside them through their recovery.

Everyone needs the love and mercy and patience of God to be healed from human sin and brokenness. What we have experienced ourselves, God’s grace, compassion and patience, we endeavour to share and pass to those who desire healing.

Please join us in praying that we at the SA Foundation, in all our programs locally and globally, will be faithful in showing the love of Jesus that he has first shown us to those in our care. Pray with us that through us many more women and children would be come to Jesus and find rest in him.

Recovery

The mission of Jesus, the Son of God, the purpose for which he was sent into this world by his Father, was to bring recovery to lost and broken sinners. In this respect, no human being is any different or any better than any other human being: we all stand in need of the grace and mercy of God, to heal our brokenness, to forgive our sins and to restore us into fellowship with God our Father and Creator.

The Lord Jesus, at the beginning of his earthly ministry, stated his own mission this way:

“The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom to prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour.”–Jesus in Luke 4:18-19

Since Jesus is the Lord of everything that we do at the SA Foundation, one of the core values of our program delivery is recovery. As servants of the Lord Jesus, we have Good News for the participants and their children: God wants to set them free from every form of slavery, the bad fruit of human sin and depravity. He wants to shower them with his favour. He wants to proclaim freedom, healing and recovery to them, as much as to anyone else.

A crucial step for anyone is to recognize their need for recovery, their need for God’s grace, mercy and healing. For the women in our program, this means that they need to take ownership of their personal recovery. We can point them to God and the healing that Jesus and his Spirit provide, but in order for recovery and healing to happen, they must want it.

By God’s grace and the power of his Spirit at work in them, this is exactly what happens at the SA Foundation on a regular basis. Pray that we will be faithful in communicating God’s love for them, that his Holy Spirit would make us instruments in their healing, and that they would see all this is God’s gift to them for a better life here on earth, and a taste of the perfect life to come in the New Creation!

Succession

For any organization to be sustainable, there needs to be ongoing training, mentoring and plans for succession. The vision needs to be passed on so that others catch the vision that first brought the organization into existence and kept it going thus far. The practices and skills that bring the vision into reality from day to day also need to be passed on.

At the SA Foundation, training and mentoring happen on a daily basis. Whenever a role is established, a task assigned or a project planned, time is taken to explain why things are done in a particular way, relating to our core principles. If you were a fly on the wall, you would often hear conversations and stories about the past experiences of our founder and the other directors and staff. These conversations and stories are loaded with insights and lessons about the wisest, most loving and gracious ways to serve sexually exploited women and their children.

This training and mentoring happens not only on the local level, but also globally. Our Organizational Directors Team (ODT) just returned from Nepal, where they began training the ODT in Nepal to become trainers for programs starting in South Asia and Africa. In this way they are facilitating succession and capacity building (i.e. doing ‘greater things’) at the global level.

You may imagine the trepidation that is felt by those who are called to carry forward the vision of the SA Foundation into the future. When such fears arise, we remind each other that this organization is not ours, but that it belongs to our Lord Jesus Christ. He is the one Master we all, from the founder and directors to the live-in servants and facilitators, strive to serve.

Jesus knows the trepidation of his followers to carry on his work. Before leaving his earthly followers, the Twelve in particular, he reassured them with these words:

I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.–Jesus in John 14:12

When we are following the Lord Jesus, he will equip us to do the work that he started when he was on earth. That is because he has commissioned us to do his work. And when he commissions people, he also provides them with all that they will need to carry out his commission.

This promise of our Lord Jesus is what makes succession at the SA Foundation both necessary and possible. After all, we’re just following the orders of our good Master and trusting him to sustain the good work that he’s started, for the saving of many and for his glory. We’re trusting him to do even greater things than we’ve already accomplished with  his help!

Pray for us that we will be faithful to our Master. Pray that we will live up to his name and ours, being true Servants who accomplish great things in this world, through his love and power at work in us.

 

Fair Working Environment

“Well, yeah. Of course you need to have a fair working environment.” Many would say that this goes without saying. It’s obvious. People will even say that “Do to others what you would expect them to do to you” is a rule that everyone should live by.

As it turns out, this is a very good rule to live by. Especially because Jesus is the One who made it, based on the Old Testament Scriptures, revealed by God through Moses and the Prophets:

So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.–Jesus in Matthew 7:12

This is a rule that we are committed to living by at Servants Anonymous Foundation. In fact, this embodies the motive of everything that we do. I don’t want to be exploited, so why would I stand idly by when others are being exploited? If I was forcibly enslaved and used, I would want others to take notice and set me free, if it was in their power to act. So why would I not do everything I can to set others free from sexual slavery, when it is in my power to do something about it?

This commitment to do to others what we would want them to do to us, we believe, needs to flow through every aspect of our organization, including our working environment. Everything from the human resource guidelines, code of conduct and policies, to the pay structure, job descriptions and role allocation, is permeated by our Lord’s desire that there be equality and fairness in all our relationships and dealings. This is enacted within our Programs locally and globally, often challenging cultural norms that can discriminate in various ways.

One of the ways in which equality is encouraged at the SA Foundation is through the Formation of Servants (FOS), a twelve-step program that has been written for and tailor-made for Servants Anonymous staff. The FOS has an equalizing effect, since it reminds us as staff that we all have recovery issues of some sort, we all have our ‘drugs of choice,’ and that it would be unfair to expect the women in our program to work on their issues, while denying our own. So as staff, we meet on a bi-weekly basis, throughout the year, to go through the FOS, and are continually ‘working the steps.’ We are all equal before God, participants and staff alike, and in need of the daily renewal and continual sanctification that God works in us by his Holy Spirit.

Let us know if you’re interested in using the FOS in your church, leadership team, or organization. We’d love to offer it to you as a means of helping build unity, equality and fairness. Just send an email to steve@safoundation.com or theo@safoundation.com with your inquiry, and we’ll be happy to serve you in whatever way we can!