We Are Blessed To Have You

Hello everyone! Essy here,

It was such an honor for me to be able to finally attend one of these banquets I have always heard so much about! On behalf of When the Saints, I would like to take this opportunity to thank those who came to the banquet this year. We had an amazing night and I was fortunate to be part of it. It was my pleasure to meet everyone and your beautiful faces definitely brightened the room. Thank you for being a blessing to the When the Saints family!

This year our focus was on the When the Saints’ valuable staff members in Malawi who serve the Lord diligently. Colossians 3:23-24 says, “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Jesus Christ.” They have been such a blessing to the girls and I have had the privilege of being there to see it with my own eyes!

The total donation for the night was $29,750 which will go towards running the home next year. This will help cover 4 to 5 months of ongoing expenses such as administrative needs, salaries and food for the girls as well as repairing a few of the panels in our security fence. (Watch the Banquet video and Staff video above!)

In January Brandon Hughes will be joining David as they travel to Malawi to check on how everything is going and looking into living arrangements for when David and I move there in June. We will be taking our checked baggage full of things for the safe home and would love for you to contribute items it you’d like (see list below).

The When the Saints documentary will be ready in January! It will be showing in Missouri and surrounding area. We project that over 40 screenings will take place. The documentary will be shown primarily in churches and homes but we are looking for other possible venues.  Please contact us if you have an idea or location that might be willing to host a screening. One other big announcement. We are looking to hire an intern to start by helping us plan our documentary tour this Spring. If you have anyone that might be a good fit feel free to reply to this email!

The trailer is just about finished and we’ll be sending it out in a bit!

The last few months have been both amazing and challenging at the same time. The home has gone through events that have definitely made When the Saints grow spiritually, as well as taught them a few things. WtS lost one of the cows and a security dog as well. This has been a big blow but God has been faithful and wiped our tears by providing WtS with another cow. We would love if you would be a part of helping us replace our dog through this DonorSee campaign too!

Other good news, so far 24 girls have graduated from our program! There are 18 girls at the home right now. They are taking tailoring classes and although the home has just one sewing machine, it is our hope that soon they will get more. The Lord always provides!  We’re also excited that the new dorm will open this January! What is left? Windows, painting, and some tiles I believe!

On behalf of When the Saints, I would like to request you to pray for the home. Pray that God’s wisdom and knowledge will be their portion, and that they will be guided by God’s will and not by their own judgement or strength and that the girls will find comfort in Jesus’s arms.

Thank you for your prayers and your continuing support in When the Saints.

With Love,

Essy😊

Click Here to watch our 7 minute Malawian Staff highlight video!

Click Here to watch the whole 2017 Dinner Banquet Video!

Men’s Outreach

We have been praying as a ministry over the timing and methodology of how to go about ministering to men, specifically perpetrators of sexual violence. We worship a Jesus that seeks out his worst enemies with the desire to soften their hearts through his forgiveness. Being created in this image, we are called to do the very same. We have 3 or 4 plans to go about seeing an end to sexual abuse through the freeing of men’s’ hearts and end the demand. As I mentioned, we are praying through direction and release of where the grace of God will lead us.
 
Recently Newman got an opportunity to tag along on a medical outreach in the local prison 20 minutes up the road from our safe home. 90% of the perpetrators of assault toward the girls in our home are in this prison. It can be difficult to get into a place like this as a ministry so this chance definitely got our attention. Newman did not know which specific men were involved with the cases related to the girls in our home, but he could clearly see that the living conditions of the prison were deplorable. Some of the men even had chigger burrows on their backsides that were so painfully infected it was unbearable for them to sit down.  
 
Newman was able to make a few connections and develop relationships not only with prisoners, but also with the staff. The ministry would love to have him join them on future trips as well. I’m not sure if this will ever be feasible, but how beautiful would it be for us to be able to sit down with perpetrators of sexual crimes and tell them about a Father who’s attention cannot be subverted even by our offenses.

With all of these new opportunities, we have a need for additional monthly supporters. If you don’t already, would you please prayerfully consider supporting us at this exciting time.  Also, if you know of any churches or individuals who might be interested in supporting When the Saints, please let David know.  He will be conducting meetings with potential donors while stateside.

Sustainable

A little over two years ago a missionary friend of ours in Malawi drilled a well for us at cost. He did not have the most powerful equipment, but was able to make it 17 meters deep. He said it may not provide water in the 8-month dry season, but for us this was better than nothing and better than spending $3,000 on a deep one. We quickly found out that it did not produce the water output that we needed for the home, garden and orchard. We started looking for another company that had a machine to break the water table which is usually at 35 meters. This would provide us with all the water we would need all year around.

 
We found three different companies that were well over $3,000, which was still just a little more than we were hoping or even able to spend. We decided to wait a week or two to prayed for the Lord’s direction. Just a week later I was in contact with one of my best friends in Malawi. One of the first connections I made in Malawi back in 2011, Chipi considers me part of his family. I have taken every team that has come to Malawi out to stay a night in his village. Shortly after getting together, Chipi starts telling me his friend drilled a well in his village for about $2,400. This friend directed a ministry and the profits from the wells go toward caring for vulnerable children and getting Bibles in the hand of villagers!
 
Immediately Chipi called his friend who told us they have jobs lined up all over the country and will be traveling to the north in the next day or two. It looked like it could be weeks before they would be able to drill for us when all of a sudden he said that their machine had a problem and is delayed in Mponela right now! Within two days it was running and they decided to delay their trip up north in order to drill our well! Our Lord is a provider.
 
Our safe home now has both city water and electricity as well as a sustainable form of water and electricity. In this way we are completely self-sustainable for when there are electrical outages and water shortages.


 “When you love your enemies, you reveal what kind of God our God is.”  Project Inspire

Breaking Ground

There has never been a time when I have been more excited about what is happening with When the Saints than right now. We have a fantastic growing staff and growing number of girls whose lives are being transformed at our site as they rest with the Holy Spirit. Here are a few big highlights over the past couple of months.
 
Recently WtS was given a large donation, which has initiated the construction our first residential building. The girls are currently living in our administration building, but our desire has always been to get them into individual homes.
 
On the very morning I put together a rough sketch of the house where 8 girls could live I ran into an architect. She was working over her lunch break and on her way out I asked her if she would take a look at my sketch. After a few more interactions, our new friend believed that the Lord brought us together and she wants to draw all of our plans pro bono.
 
Since I have been home over the past few weeks Newman has been able to gather over 50,000 bricks? and all the sand needed for construction. Since we have the space, over the next few years we would like to build a total of seven homes.

Can a man be God?

 Can a human be the God of the universe? To many it sounds quite ridiculous to think that a person could embody the fullness of the most powerful being in all creation.
 
The religious leaders in the day of Jesus also thought this was absurd. They even tried to kill Jesus on multiple occasions for making this claim. Take John 8:58-59 for example, ““I tell you the truth,” Jesus answered, “before Abraham was born, I am!”(which is what God called himself in the burning bush) At this, they picked up stones to stone him, but Jesus hid himself, slipping away from the temple grounds.” Another one of my favorites is Luke 4:14-30.
 
So why is it so important for Jesus to be God? In fact, a number of religious groups that call themselves Christians today actually do not believe that he was. A couple non-Trinitarian Christian denominations include Mormons and Jehovah’s Witnesses. If Jesus were not God then he would have no power to transform our lives, heal us or forgive our sin. There would be no point to worship or pray to him because we would simply be praying to and worshiping a man. If you entered into a conversation with someone who did not believe in the divinity of Christ how might you engage him or her?
 
Some say, “Jesus never claimed to be God, but just the Son of God.” In John 5:18 Jesus calls God his Father shortly after he healed a paralyzed man on the Sabbath. “For this reason the Jews tried all the harder to kill him; not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God.” It is important to understand the Bible in its context. At the time of Jesus to say that God was your Father was understood by the people as equating himself to God and it is important for us to understand it the same.
 
Matthew 1:23- “She will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” –which means, “God with us.””
 
Ronald Reagan wrote this in a letter to a liberal Methodist minister who expressed doubts about Christ’s divinity, “This uneducated, property-less young man has, for 2,000 years, had a greater effect on the world than all the rulers, kings, emperors; all the conquerors, generals and admirals, all the scholars, scientists and philosophers who have ever lived- all of them put together. How do we explain that- unless He really was what He said He was?”

How Are the Girls?

The girls were so excited to go home for a two-week Christmas break to see their families. We had a big meeting with all of the parents before they went home to help the transition go as smoothly as possible.
 
One of the girls in our home was telling us how she has become a “counselor”. When she went home over the break there is a friend who was also sexually abused and is experiencing hopelessness. During the break this girl wasn’t alone and had a friend there to encourage her.
 
Similar to that we are also very excited about another development that is taking place with the girls. A relationship is developing with a doctor in a local hospital. We are going to be trying something new. When a girl who has been sexually abused comes to the hospital for treatment we will send 2 or 3 of the girls who have been in our program the longest there to spend time with her.
 
“It seems counter-intuitive to go and help someone when you yourself are suffering, but the only way you will ever gain is when you give it all away.” –Laren Poole co-founder of Invisible Children.
 
According to a study done by Dean G. Kilpatrick, one-third of those who have been sexually abused develop PTSD. Estimates suggest that only 3% of all cases of child sexual abuse (Finkelhor & Dziuba-Leatherman) and only 12% of rapes involving children are ever reported to police (Hanson). In some cases an individual who was sexually abused identified that they felt more trauma from a person they told about the abuse not believing or even accusing them than the actual abuse itself.

A Big “Thank YOU!”

We would like to deeply thank everyone who attended the 6th annual When the Saints banquet. We were able to raise over $22,000. It has already started going toward things like a solar power system for the safe home and finishing the final version of our WtS documentary. If you were unable to attend you may watch the video Here.
(Please note:  A few people’s monthly support was not entered into our system. If you have noticed that your donation has not come out yet, it should soon.)

We would like to especially thank Betsy Stull who was the head organizer, Cathy Hartke who is the backbone of WtS, Rachel Zink our volunteer coordinator, Rylie Craft for performing a hauntingly convicting spoken word, our intern Amanda Pelletier for sharing about her time in Malawi with heartfelt elegancy (see video above) and Megan Johnson for pulling together a sweet-awesome worship band very last minute when our original had to back out.

Torrential

Malawi is facing rains heavier then they have seen in a long time. These rains are wreaking havoc not only across the country, but also at the site of our safe home. 

At our site 75% of our garden was been washed away after a small river made its way through part of our land. We have a security wall that surrounds the perimeter of our land and we had 16 panels collapse.

We replanted the garden which will be feeding the girls for nearly a year and also are rebuilding the panels. We would like to raise $900 to accomplish this. Would you help us finish this work now by contributing Here

Also David Peterka and his fiancé Essy will be meeting with people over the next three months while they are in America. Would you be interested in sitting down to a 45 minute presentation on WtS and what is happening in Malawi? We are hoping to gain monthly supporters as well as one-time donations that will help us increase the number of girls we house. Reply to this email or call/text David at this number to set up a time! 636-346-4392

Thanks!
The WtS Team

Open up, O heavens, and pour out your righteousness. Let the earth open wide so salvation and righteousness can sprout up together. -Isaiah 45:8

A Song Unexpected

You step out of your house with your own arms hugging your waist.
Uncertainties are haunting you like a thick fog.
As you walk to the blue truck, you feel your heart rate accelerating;
you feel the eyes of neighbors, the weight of their thoughts.
In the wind you catch quiet whispers, abused sticking to your body like wet clothes, difficult to pull off.
You see the dust arise with each footstep, concentrating on the tiny reddish dirt particles,
disappearing into the air.
A crowd begins to form and the strange workers, who assure you everything is alright,
push them back to open the door to the backseat.
You slip in noiselessly, arms still wrapped around your body. No sound escapes you.
Unfamiliar roads. New villages. Darting glances, you are a master of peripheral vision –
you size them up, evaluate. Can I trust?
More assurances. Suddenly a turn, a gate, a home.
The quiet hum shudders to a stop beneath your feet. You slip out of the car silently;
the sunlight wraps its warmth around you.
Voices. Hallelujah Amen, You are welcome! Hallelujah Amen, You have come!
Hallelujah Amen, You are welcome! Hallelujah, Hallelujah! Dancing. A celebration.
Your arms wrap tighter, eyes widen as you crane your neck, trying to see who these girls are singing for. Coming closer, their arms join yours as they embrace you.
It is for you… Singing, dancing, the invitation is yours.
Eyes meet eyes, and a shock runs through your veins.
Hallelujah Amen, You are welcome! Hallelujah Amen, You have come!
The lyrics exude a loving welcome; and you feel the cool breeze begin to dry your wet rags.
You memorize this moment, the breath inside your lungs, the clearness of the afternoon,
the way the song sank into your skin, penetrating each layer, soothing and awakening your heart.
The moment where abuse ends, and freedom begins.

Expand Our Capacity

As we welcome new girls into our home, we are conscious of the 42-girl waiting list the police gave us. In the next few months, we hope to expand our capacity from 6 to 12 girls. We are trusting in the Spirit to lead us as we discern whom to accept. Even though 36 girls must be turned away for now, we are so happy to see a these six precious girls receive life changing care, support, and counseling.

(You can read a few stories of transformation in the sections below.)

With the extra girls entering the home, we are also adding two additional staff members. In order to continue to provide food, shelter, and counseling for each girl, we will need your help. Precisely, we need the following additional support:

  • We need 123 people to give a one-time donation of $71. 
  • We also need 83 people to become monthly supporters at $12 a month. 
  • Your contributions matter. A dear friend of ours will match the first $1,250!

For the next month we will be updating you on the progress! Join us as we bring healing to survivors of sexual abuse in the country of Malawi, where the average girl has her first sexual encounter at the age of 12 years. 71% of those girls are not willing participants in their first sexual encounter.
 
Please contact us or Donate Here to become a supporter now!

Battles Waged Against Us

When a person undergoes a traumatic experience the ramifications can be great. This is especially true of very young girls who have an incredibly delicate and valuable piece of their identity mangled as a result of a forced sexual experience. You may encounter a myriad of side effects.
 
When a new girl enters our home we see anything from nightmares to a wish to no longer live. On a few different occasions I have heard that the painful effects of having malaria leave you wanting to die. Last week our counselor Roselyn was telling me that the emotional and physiological effects of abuse are comparable to that of malaria.
 
This is true in the life of 12-year-old Asha*. She entered the WtS home 7 months ago and had suicidal tendencies. The majority of her village and her peers at school mocked and rejected her because of the trauma that was forced on her, as if that itself wasn’t enough. She had locked herself up in her room not even to come out at the command of her mother.
 
Today it is hard to get her to stop giggling. She has become the “head girl” here in the home. Even though she is now ready to return home we have asked her to stay for another month to help us welcome the new girls in. Her school results recently came out and in one semester she jumped from 43 out of 82 all the way up to the 7th best student in her grade. She now has a desire to continue living and one day dreams to be a pastor.
 
“…known, yet regarded as unknown; dying, and yet we live on; beaten, and yet not killed; sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; poor, yet making many rich; having nothing, and yet possessing everything.” -2 Corinthians 6:9-10

*Not her real name

Rid of Bitterness

There is a certain factor that we have found to be vital in the realization of healing and freedom. Without this fundamental piece it becomes very difficult for the girls in our program to be rid of the bitterness that often plagues their spirits. In all honesty how can you undergo someone’s misuse of authority to reap pleasure from the disarming of your control and not have some form of hatred arise within you?
 
In Zahra’s* case it was the principal of her school. Although she was not even a teenager, this did not stop him from calling her into his office. Shortly after that she found herself alone in a pool of her own blood. And the hatred began to fester.
 
Hatred, like an infected wound, is difficult to heal on its own. Over time it can spread and cause more damage to areas that were never harmed to begin with. Healing is inhibited by infection.  It is possible that bandaging up a wound causes more damage. We may find ourselves addressing the external needs of cleanliness and behavior all while evading legitimate emancipation.
 
When confronted with the proposition to exonerate her oppressor, Zahra, in all seriousness, stopped talking for over a week. She kept trying to seclude herself and was even seen shedding silent tears throughout that week. Absolution is like antiseptic to infection.
 
It’s impossible to fully understand what took place in Zahra during that week, but she is now truly a new person. There are few things in this world that inspire me more than to watch true transformation occur directly in front of my eyes. She has begun tutoring the younger girls here and can’t wait to one day become a teacher. She is excited to help others understand the mysteries of things they never once knew in a similar way to how she learned the mystery of forgiveness.
 
“Holding resentment doesn’t make you strong; it makes you bitter. Forgiving doesn’t make you weak; it sets you free.” –Dave Willis