We have opened our first Project Bethany home for girls in Recife!
To rescue children in prostitution, abusive situations and from the streets. To provide a place of safety and recovery where these children will be surrounded by trained Christian men and women who will consistently speak love and destiny into their lives. To provide necessary services for recovery including counseling, nutritional guidance, medical care, education, adoption support and legal assistance. To restore broken families and assist in creating new ones. To help these children, not only survive, but to overcome and achieve the dreams that God has for them. To create an atmosphere saturated in the presence of God through 24-hour worship, prayer and art. To cultivate compassionate hearts and spiritual gifts within these children. To raise sons and daughters of the living God who are radical worshipers and who will preach the gospel, heal the sick, cast out demons, raise the dead and reveal the heart of the Father.
There are an estimated 700,000-1,000,000 children in prostitution in Brazil and Recife has become known as one of the worst cities in the world for child sex-trafficking and sexual tourism. It is a part of the Northeastern Triangle, along with Fortaleza and Natal. Recently, an ex-trafficker from São Paulo told us, “I used to fly to Recife all the time to buy young girls from poor families”.
In our time on the streets of Brazil we have talked to hundreds of prostitutes and transvestites, mostly adults, and they all have a story. Almost all of them were physically, sexually or emotionally abused as children. Many of the transvestites were sexually abused by a man at a young age and that caused a switch in their mind to dress and act like a girl. We recently heard the story of a girl who was sexually abused by her step-father so she shaved her head and said “I’ll act like a boy so that a man won’t want to touch me anymore”. We’ve realized that if you just go to the streets there will never be an end to it, we see new people every night. There needs to be some kind of prevention. In addition to children in prostitution we also rescue children who have been abused to love them and bring them to restoration before they ever go to the streets. To show them that what happened to them was wrong and not a reflection of their identity or value. We are also sharing about sexual abuse in prostitution in the churches here in Brazil to help raise awareness and education.
There are three ways by which we will be able to receive children. First, we can find them on the streets and invite them to come and stay at the house, if they decide to do so, within 24 hours we need to report that to child-services, but the child will be allowed to stay in the house. The second way is through child-services and the judge sending children to the house for our care. The third way is through local churches who know of children needing rescue.
Life at Projeto Betânia
One of the keys to rescue and restoration for abused children, children in prostitution or children from the streets is routine. The weekly schedule includes going to school, tutoring, chores like cleaning and cooking, arts, music, church, play, counseling, family time and devotions. And of course, worship and prayer will be a big part of our house and where the spirit of the Lord is there is freedom (2 Corinthians 3:17). Each house is run by social parents, a husband and a wife who live at the house and are involved with all phases of the children’s lives. Unlike an orphanage or a rehab with constant rotating staff, it will be a home with a family structure. In addition to the social parents our other staff members will daily serve at the house in various roles. We will also have a nutritionist, a psychologist and a doctor visit the house 2-4 times per month to check on the girls.
Family Restoration and Adoption
For the children that came from broken families our desire is to bring restoration not just for the child but also the family with the ultimate goal being total family restoration. However, there will be situations where that is not possible and we will work with local authorities to find good families to adopt the children. Unfortunately in Brazil adoption is a lengthy and difficult process, we are praying for that to improve. Some of the girls will stay at Project Bethany until they graduate. Regardless of the circumstances our desire is to have a true family atmosphere within the house so that the children have a family experience and realize their own value and the value of family.
How Can You Help?
The biggest need for help that we have right now is in the area of partnerships and finances. The average cost per Project Bethany home is about $10,000 per month, or $600 per girl. Brazil is an expensive country to live in and therefore an expensive country to rescue in. Pray and consider becoming a monthly partner or making a one-time donation to help us fulfill this vision with excellence. We also love to have volunteers and visitors, if you’re interested send us an email!