After a wonderful and busy furlough in Holland, we started our next big trip: seven months travelling in various Asian countries. We then plan to be back in Holland by the end of September to start preparing for the special Children at Risk School that we will offer in January 2018 at YWAM Heidebeek in Holland. The focus will be refugee children.
But for now, we will spend a few months in the Far East. Children are at risk all over the world. We are happy to find there are young people here who want to help those children and are willing to learn the best ways to do it.
We are staying in a big city and are impressed with the thousands of high rises under construction. Beautifully landscaped neighborhoods are constantly being added. Spacious 8-lane roads cross the city where cars, electric scooters, bicycles, buses and pedestrians mingle, seemingly without any problems.
In the city center is a beautiful pond which is home to thousands of goldfish. On Sunday afternoon, we saw lots of parents and grandparents sitting around it, with their small children holding little fishing rods and buckets. They were fishing for goldfish to take home and put into their aquariums! Too cute! The people smiled and were friendly to us when we took their photos. They are so proud of their city and their country, and they want us to enjoy it too, with typical local hospitality.
But there are also many deep needs here. Millions of children living in smaller villages are left in the care of grandparents or other family members, so the parents can get a job in a distant city, where they can earn more money. Some do this because they are extremely poor and really want to provide a better living for their family. Others do this simply because they want to have more money, better houses, nicer cars, more luxury, etc.
Since only the parents move into cities without their families, this society has been able to avoid the formation of slum communities in the big cities. But this comes at a high cost to families and to family relationships; what a terrible dilemma to face!
As we have talked with these children, many have expressed the deep pain they’ve experienced—feelings of being abandoned, neglected and rejected. Often they are pushed from one family member to another, which forces them to change schools and lose their friends. They frequently don’t feel very welcomed by the families that have taken them in and may see their own parents only once a year during a very short vacation.
Many of the young people we’ve talked with have had the same experiences and can identify well with the realities these children face.
But there are also many children who don´t have an extended family and are placed into some sort of orphanage/boarding school. Of course, they are not really orphans, because their parents are alive, living far away in a big city to make money. It is even harder on these children as they grow up without any family relationships. Not only are their childhoods and teenage years more difficult, they will have many more psychological and social problems throughout the rest of their lives.
We also hear how the interruption of pregnancies through abortion is considered a most normal practice. It is also very inexpensive. It is so normal that the first question a doctor will ask a new female patient is:
“How many abortions have you had?”
We know quite well that abortion doesn´t just kill a baby, but that the woman who has an abortion will deal with increased risk of physical and psychosomatic problems in the future.
Young people make themselves available.
It is wonderful to see that there are so many young people here who are ready to help children, teenagers and families. We have spoken to young people who have plans to start shelters for pregnant girls, and there are those who want to start organizations to promote adoption. Families are being trained about family values and child rearing, either through weekend camps or websites with good articles. There are also regular holiday camps for children, community centers with afterschool programs, and counseling clinics for treating childhood trauma in chose have been abandoned by their parents. It is wonderful to hear of all these plans and how steps are being taken towards these goals.
Both of us have enjoyed getting to know this beautiful region and its wonderful people. But we had not expected to also become familiar with local medical services through a hospital admission!
Johan has suffered from a rheumatic illness called Ankylosing Spondylitis since he was a teenager. One of the symptoms is nasty eye infections. Whenever we travel, we carry medicine prescribed for these infections. Usually these prednisone eyedrops work quite well, but this time his eye didn´t respond to them, and we had to rush to the hospital.
Admitted to the hospital
Close to where we are staying is a beautiful, brand new 20-story hospital, and that is where we went for help. It is always a challenge in a country where you cannot speak the local language. But we didn´t need to worry, because the doctors were so nice and did everything they could to help us.
Thankfully, with the help of many prayers from people around the world, as well as intravenous antibiotics, injections of corticosteroids around the eye and lots of eyedrops, the infection slowly began to diminish. Please thank God with us for this healing and pray for our health for the remainder of this trip.
We are so thankful for each of you, loving and faithful friends, who surround us with prayer, finances and all kinds of support. It is such a comforting feeling to know that many of you carry us in these times of change and insecurity, and pray for us, our family, and our work on behalf of children at risk. We pray that many of these children will be reached with the love of the Father. And we also pray God’s richest blessings on all of you!
Much love from
Johan en Jeannette
Please pray for the “left behind” children who feel neither wanted nor loved. Pray that these families will see their children as a precious gift.
Give thanks for those young people who are preparing themselves to help children with love and counseling.
Pray for the women who have had abortions, or who are at the point of deciding to have an abortion.
Thank God for those young people who are preparing to help these women and promote adoption as an alternative to abortion.
Please continue to pray for our health during the rest of this trip.
Give thanks for the different Children at Risk Schools in Brazil and around the world.
Pray that many young people will be trained and prepared to obey God and offer their lives in serving children at risk.
Pray for preparations for the Children at Risk School that will be given (in English) in Holland, starting January 2018: http://ywamheidebeek.org/car/