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The Question

“Papa, may we ask you a question?” the shy, young West African girl asked on behalf of the four other girls she was with.

Her question was directed to the senior pastor of the local Presbyterian church. “Yes, of course,” he replied. “May we be baptized please?” she asked.

The five girls all live in one of the national Presbyterian Church’s girls homes for at-risk girls. There, they had participated in Bible studies, attended local church services, and experienced the love of Jesus in the care they received each day. As a result, they had come to faith and now they desired to be baptized.

This is just one example of the spiritual fruit in the lives of the 37 at-risk girls, ages 6 to 15, who live in one of the church’s two girls homes. The majority of the girls come from Muslim families that have been stricken by an extreme crisis, often the death or abandonment of a parent. When that happens, there is no safety net to provide the substantial help young girls need. As a result, growing numbers are being trafficked into the sex trade or sold into slavery.

It is the church’s strategy to intervene before that happens. Research shows that early intervention is 90 percent more effective and costs one-tenth of what it would cost to rescue them after they are trafficked. Local pastors who know the family situations refer the girls to the homes where their needs for a family, food, shelter, healthcare, and education are met.

All of this takes place in a loving environment where the girls are part of a local church and the house parents provide a nurturing environment and lead them in daily devotionals and prayer.

So, it’s really no surprise that five girls came and asked to be baptized. God is at work in these young hearts.

Learn more about MTW’s ministry in West Africa at West African Reformed Mission (WARM)

Photo: A girl, not one of the five, is baptized in a local church.)

WARM Staff, Church planting Mercy Jul 6, 2017
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