Former child factory worker now teaches children at risk

Jodi and Sophy

Jodi and Sophy

“I cried every day when I saw my siblings go to school and I had to work at the garment factory.”

A young Cambodian woman named Sophy remembers her own childhood as she now teaches her classroom full of at-risk children. As a child, she loved studying, but her family’s financial difficulties forced her to quit school and work to support them. In 7th grade, she lied about her age and took the identification card of an older girl so that she could enter a garment factory at age 13. At first she hated it, but she found respect among her peers because she was one of the few girls who knew how to read. Every day after the factory workers ate lunch, they would ask Sophy to read storybooks out loud to them. After working for nearly five years, she was in a very bad living situation and that’s when ACTION missionaries Daren and Jodi Beck met her through Shalom Mission Cambodia.

Jodi writes, “Sophy quit her job at the factory, moved in with us, and began to train as a house cleaner. Around the same time, her sister, who also lived with us, became a Christian and invited Sophy to go to church. God’s grace was at work. Sophy found herself compelled to rip off her Buddhist bracelet during one sermon, deciding that she wanted a new life in Jesus.

“Being a school teacher has always been a dream of Sophy’s. We encouraged her to go back to school to get her high school diploma. The summer she graduated, she was invited to join Asian Hope’s Teacher Training Program in 2012. That year, she trained with me in my 4th grade classroom. She recently finished her second school year as a Khmer language and math teacher at Logos International School and as an afternoon teacher at a remedial program in our neighborhood for Cambodian students. She has found great joy in introducing kids to Jesus as she teaches them to read for the first time!

“We feel so privileged to be a part of Sophy’s life as God’s grace is working mightily through her. Please pray for Sophy as she shares the love of Jesus with her students and strives to live a life worthy of the Lord in this country that is so dark. Praise God for Cambodian Christians, just like Sophy, whose greatest desire is to reach their own people with the Gospel!”

Four-year-old girl comes to know Jesus in Colombia

Girl praying

Girl praying

Raquel de Jesús writes, “We praise and thank the Lord we can serve Him in providing spiritual and physical feeding for 100 children and young people.

“Linda started coming to our ministry center when she was four years old. She likes attending Bible classes and learning about Jesus. At her young age, she accepted Jesus as her personal Savior and acknowledged that without Jesus, things won’t go well in her life and in her family. She is praying that someday her father will come to church also and believe in Jesus. She said, ‘Jesus is helping me behave well and be obedient to my parents, do my homework, and not fight with my brother and sister.’”

ACTION Pastors’ College graduation

Graduating class

Graduating class

12 men graduated from ACTION Pastors’ College in Zambia on November 15. Tracy Singleton writes, “Our pastor, Emile Mazabarakiza, admonished the students from Acts 19, Paul’s words to the Ephesian elders. Peter Mung’omba, the class spokesman, expressed appreciation and thanks to the lecturers and staff. Each graduate received a parcel of five books .

“Family and friends gathered on our lawn afterwards for some refreshments. Over 150 people joined us for cookies and juice. After the reception at our house, a four-course meal was served to the students and their guests.

“We praise God for this graduation ceremony; it was the culmination of three years of study. This accomplishment was achieved at great cost to these men as they often had to give up employment in order to study.”

We Need a Little Christmas Now!

Children at a Christmas party in Zambia

Children at a Christmas party in Zambia

Dear Friends of ACTION,

In a Broadway musical, Auntie Mame, after the stock market crash of ’29, told her household, “We need a little Christmas now!” We have the same situation right now, so I am writing to you about ACTION’s annual Christmas Outreach way before you have even turned your calendar to December!

Each year we take the opportunity to evangelize those who have not heard the Gospel and provide a venue for celebration to those who could never have a Christmas party otherwise. Let me share with you just a few of the reports we received from our outreach last year.

In Jinja, Uganda, (the source of the Nile), the Lord brought out 1200 kids and adults, mostly non-Christians, who heard the Gospel and were blessed with gifts, a good meal and some goodies to take home. The children also memorized Bible verses during the party.

In a barrio of Bogotá, Colombia, 154 kids, most the children of prisoners, were accompanied by some of their relatives in one outreach and 322 children attended at another ministry center in the same district. The pastor clearly presented Jesus as the reason for the Christmas celebration and the one who died for our sins. The children prayed with him, dedicating their lives to Jesus.

Missionaries in Metro Manila, Philippines, packed gift bags for nearly 100 men in a maximum security penitentiary. In the Philippines there were a total of 25 parties attended by 2908 children, 295 youth and 663 adults. The number of attendees indicating their turn from sin and trusting in Christ as Savior was a whopping 3589!

As friends of ACTION, you know that our hallmark as a mission is to reach out to the very lowest strata of society in the worst corners of the world’s megacities. Thanks to Christ, our Christmas outreaches have accomplished so much over the years in terms of individual conversions, building up churches, and giving hope to the down and out.

To meet the requests of our fields, our worldwide budget this year is $57,500. Your contribution sent before the holiday season allows us to transmit funds overseas in a timely way, enabling our missionaries to plan their outreaches.

Thank you so much for your part in underwriting ACTION’s Christmas 2014 around the world. May you and yours have a very blessed Christmas.

Celebrating with you,

Rex Lee Carlaw
USA Director

To read more or to donate, please click here.

Upcoming Christmas outreach in Colombia

Colombian children praying

Colombian children praying

Phil Legal writes, “Every year, ACTION Colombia hosts a Christmas Outreach. The purpose is to share the Good News of Christ and provide a small gift and dinner for the children and their families. We are expecting 350 people in Chia and the surrounding areas. For many it will be the only Christmas event they will attend. It will cost US$5.50 per person.”

If you are interested in giving toward any of ACTION’s Christmas parties, please click here.

Short-term trip to East Africa

Kyle in Uganda

Kyle in Uganda

Kyle Hansen, ACTION USA Communications Manager and International Short-term Coordinator, just spent a month visiting ACTION missionaries in East Africa. He writes, “The last 4 weeks have been fast-paced and exciting. In Uganda and Malawi, I visited with our missionaries and served with two short-term teams from the USA; one in each country. My time with both teams was fruitful and informative as I am learning how teams and interns can come and encourage and strengthen the work our missionaries are involved in on a full-time basis.

“In Zambia, I’ve spent most of my time with Kelly and Tricia Huckaby, a missionary couple that coordinates ACTION’s work at Camp Ciyanjano, a 20-acre camping facility used to strengthen local Zambian churches by hosting conferences and retreats.”

Street kid outreach in Uganda

Children eating lunch

Children eating lunch

Jim Robinette writes, “In our ministry to street children, we evangelize, disciple and seek to integrate street kids into the church and then eventually to reconcile them with their families, as God allows. We minister to children at a drop-in center and day shelter which meets in a church building where the kids are given shelter, friendship, food, baths, the gospel, sports and counseling.

“In total this year, street kids visited the day shelter and attended Sunday church services about 1100 times and enjoyed over 1400 meals and 70 Bible times. Seven boys were reconciled with their families or given permanent shelter.”

Please pray that God will continue to bless this ministry and that the street children will come to know, love, and serve the Lord.

Retreat for ACTION Pastors’ College students

Pastors doing a team-building exercise

Pastors doing a team-building exercise

Kelly Huckaby writes, “We had a great weekend at Ciyanjano with our ACTION Pastors’ College (APC) students. Next month the students will graduate from APC after three long years of hard work. We held a retreat for them full of excellent teaching, good food, times of worship and praise, laughter, and fun.

“Please pray for these pastors as they graduate next month. Pray that God will bless their ministries and families.”

Graduates of ACTION Pastors’ College in Zambia

Children at Pastor Patson's school

Children at Pastor Patson’s school

Kelly Huckaby writes, “One of the most amazing things we get to do is to visit the graduates of ACTION Pastors’ College. We recently visited Pastor Bruce Kaumba in Kanyama compound and Pastor Patson Sakala in Ngombe compound to see their families and ministries.

“Please pray for these pastors as they preach the Word and serve children for the sake of the Gospel and the name of Jesus.”

Upcoming Christmas outreach parties

Children at a Christmas party in Zambia

Children at a Christmas party in Zambia

Do you enjoy the Christmas season? If so, chances are you cherish in your heart warm childhood memories of December 25th family love and gift giving!

However for many at-risk children, this season of hope becomes a time of increased hopelessness. Their sense of worthlessness is confirmed as their deep poverty and fractured family relationships exclude them from participation in the beautiful celebrations they can only observe.

ACTION missionaries worldwide are passionate about grasping the opportunity to replace these lies with the truth of Jesus, and the hope he brings. At special ACTION Christmas Outreach parties, needy kids are welcomed with food, fun, a small toy, and most important, the story of our wonderful Savior’s coming—for them!

And these outreaches are effective! After a party in Manila last December one girl from a temporary slum shelter exclaimed, “I will never forget this delicious food! I cried when I heard the story…I thought I was the only one with that kind of experience with my broken family.”

Another young guest also understood that he was included in God’s love: “When I saw other kids like me and heard the story, I began to realize that Jesus cares for poor kids like me.” Even more, as they hear the gospel, many respond. A fifteen-year-old orphan said, “At the party I received Jesus as my Savior and through Bible studies I want to learn about him.”

If you are interested in giving toward this project and enabling ACTION missionaries to bring the hope of Christ to those who are longing for him, please click here.