Project Rescue – Hope Unstoppable
Though COVID-19 threatened to slow down its ministry to survivors of sexual exploitation, God’s provision made it possible for Project Rescue to expand its reach like never before.
By Jessie Chew
Since its inception in 1997, Project Rescue has worked tirelessly to restore hope to survivors of sexual exploitation. From operating safe homes for women to nurturing the next generation in children’s homes, their multinational ministry has changed the trajectory of hundreds of thousands of lives over their multi-decade ministry.
“Project Rescue is a story of the Lord’s redemption. Our goal is the make His name and His power known to the world.” – KK Devaraj, Co-Founder and Coordinator for India
But like so much in our world, the ministry also felt the impact of COVID-19. “When the pandemic intensified in early 2020, we started seeing donors and donations pulling back. We were prepared for significant budget cuts. My biggest fear was not being able to provide for those who needed it,” shared Jonathan Barratt, Project Rescue’s Chief Operating Officer.
Yet only God could use COVID-19 to be a force for good. For when the world stopped, the hope of God was unstoppable.
As the pandemic spread, brothel customers started staying away from the red-light districts, fearful of catching the virus. And with the huge loss of income, traffickers began releasing the women and children they were exploiting. With no prospects, no money, and no food, the situation looked dire for these women and children.
However, Project Rescue was ready to provide them with fresh hope. Ministries that had been there for years suddenly saw the opportunity to meet their needs.
“COVID-19 is the single greatest ministry opportunity I’ve seen in my entire life,” said Pastor Rajnesh, a ministry partner in South Asia. “It is a friend to us because the red-light districts were closing down. What we could do in the next six months is more than we can ever do in the next 10 years.”
Unfazed by their financial situation, the ministry reached out to their core supporters for help. “This is a God moment, and we will not miss this moment,” declared Project Rescue’s Co-Founder Beth Grant.
One of these calls was to Trinity. For over 13 years, the church has partnered with Project Rescue on various initiatives: providing Divine Exchange and Wholeness Ministry (DEW) workers to Spain for inner healing, sending Missions Impact Teams (MITs) to children’s homes in India, and providing financial support. But with travel restrictions and safe distancing, the church was quick to pivot its support during COVID-19.
Virtual events such as e-MITs were streamed into the children’s homes. Caregivers were equipped through online workshops.
“COVID-19 will not stop what we want to do for the Kingdom of God. COVID-19 will not stop what God wants to do for His people. Project Rescue will continue its call to rescue, restore, and release people into the community. And Trinity will continue our calling of being ‘blessed to be a blessing.’” – Pastor Allen Loh, Director of Missions, Trinity Christian Centre
With the expansion in ministry opportunities came an expansion in provision. “We never got to a place where we had to make budget cuts,” Jonathan shared, “so you can imagine the surprise of our directors on the ground when we called to inform them that we would instead be sending significant additional funding for COVID-19 relief and intervention.”
In 2020 alone, Project Rescue’s partnership with Trinity and other organizations has impacted nearly 64,000 lives.
The ministry is already preparing for life after COVID-19. “Currently, our model is to raise money in the US and send it to various countries,” Jonathan explained, “But over the years, we are starting to see Project Rescue in a ‘business as missions’ light. During COVID-19, some of the more mature ministries started to consider initiatives such as agriculture, large-scale sewing operations, and product creation.
"With the help of churches like Trinity, we can create partnerships to sell those products and to create sustainability, because what keeps these women from going back to sex work is to have a means, a business, an occupation that will provide a sustainable living for their family. We’re very excited for the potential, not only for what it could mean for sustainability but what it could mean for the dignity of those we serve, to ultimately have them find their God-given potential and purpose.”
“We’re so grateful for what Trinity and Trinitarians have done for Project Rescue and the communities we are working with – not just in the past 18 months but over the past decade,” shared KK.
“Trinity has helped launch Project Rescue into new levels of ministry. We’ve seen doors open for new opportunities and because of your partnership, we’re able to walk through those doors. During COVID-19, one of the communities we were working with would not have been able to survive the pandemic. Only children with laptops could survive, especially with classes going online.
"Through Trinity, we were able to provide laptops for all our children. It’s been an amazing experience and blessing to have a partner that asks how they can serve alongside us.”
This story was first published in Trinitarian Issue 1/2022.
Reflect & Respond
Partner in Prayer with us:
New homes to house the many women and children that are rescued
Strength and protection upon the staff on the ground
God’s victory over the spiritual strongholds in places where there’s been generations of prostitution
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