July 2023 THE WORK OF GOD IS EVIDENT HERE
We flew to a Latin American country on May 8, 2023, to see the girls we rescued from sex trafficking. Unfortunately, for security reasons, I cannot reveal which nation to ensure the safety of the children. We rented four large off-road vehicles or our team. By chance, all the vehicles were silver, and all the men were big guys, so we attracted the unwanted attention of the criminal gangs. We traveled to an area of the country where children are sold. Gabriel (our in-country director) brought federal law enforcement officers to this area, and the traffickers mistook them for interested predators looking to have sex with young girls and boys. The trafficker offered to provide as many as eight very young girls. He guaranteed them to be pure, untouched virgins and would provide a place for the predators to rape them. He told the men he had a place nearby that would provide secrecy and noise to cover the screams of the girls. One of the two officers carried the ruse further, saying, “But the girls will see our faces.” Without hesitation, the trafficker replied with an evil smile, saying, “People fall into the water and drown all the time.” He insinuated that after the children were raped, they would be drowned, and the animals would remove every trace that the girls ever existed. Gabriel said, “I do not know how to handle this.” I responded, “We know how to deal with this.” The other retired Marines on our team agreed with me. But you have to ask yourself, would you let this happen if it were in your power to stop it? Truthfully, I made that choice many years ago. The visit had a profound effect on me.
Earlier, I had sent Luke, Edward, and Dave to see the work, but I had been too busy with other Hot Spots in the world and many other places around the world to go there myself. Vicky kept prompting me to make the time to go and see the work. I thought I would visit the region once and then turn the oversight responsibilities over to other staff members. I function best in war zones, so I saw this as something for others to handle. But one encounter changed everything for me. At churches, we share a video where one of the girls from our orphanage is seen playing the piano. Her smile has always touched my heart; she looks so sweet, so unscathed, and so full of hope and promise. While visiting the orphanage, the therapist shared with me the extent of abuse this girl and her sister had endured. I could not imagine how they survived. When I met the little girl from the video, she was much smaller than I had imagined, and I could not fathom why anyone would do such evil to her. I keep thinking of I Corinthians, in chapter 13, which says love always protects (NIV).
And I know the Lord has called us to do what others will not: protect. On Saturday, we took all the children to a mall to allow each one to pick out a new outfit. This included shoes, dresses, trousers, blouses, and undergarments–all the things’ children need. Vicky ensured that each child and each caregiver on the staff were outfitted. We had the children shop first, and the caregivers for their new clothes. During the three hours, we spent with the children, no one disobeyed, acted rowdily, or even raised their voices. I sat beside a two-year-old and helped her with her single scoop of ice cream. She sat down with me, and at first, I fed her, but after a short time, she was determined to try it on her own. I thought that she would not be able to finish because the scoop was so large. But she ate every last bite, and when the ice cream was finished, she drank the melted drops. As I sat her down, she let out a big sigh of contentment which made me laugh. Then, I walked with her through the mall, and not once did she misbehave. Gabriel and the team have done a tremendous job with the children. They were better behaved than any other children I have seen around the world. Also on our team was a group of pastors who left to get home for their Sunday services. Afterward, the remaining Far Reaching Ministries (FRM) team met with seven senators and the country’s vice president. One senator is a strong believer, and over dinner, he and his wife expressed a deep love for the Lord and dedication to protecting children. The next day we met with Christian leaders from his political party, and he asked me to share about FRM’s work around the world. When I came in, he seemed very sincere and embraced me as a fellow brother in Christ.
After a few days with the children at the orphanage, the two sisters touched me deeply. If I had time, I would want to bring them home and raise them as my daughters. But I know it is not possible because the laws of this country prevent abused children from being adopted. And even if it were possible, it would take at least four years. By that time, I would be 70 years old. Vicky and I agree; these girls have been through too much suffering and loss to have a father love them and possibly not live long enough to raise them. But I will do everything in my power to make sure they are taken care of. In my heart, I know that I could easily love them as a father, but I recognize I just do not have enough time.
Recently, a pastor told me that he had been speaking with a pastor of a large church about our ministry. I told him I was surprised they even knew about us. He said, “Oh, Wes, everyone has an opinion about you.” What I learned is that many find it hard to believe that we have not embellished our story because it is so extreme. So, I prefer to let you hear from pastors who have seen it firsthand.
From Pastor Billy Penna of Calvary Chapel Grace Fellowship, Tuxedo, NY.
I joined FRM on a trip to Latin America. From the home for sexually exploited children to the indigenous people, plans are being made to build future homes to rescue sexually abused children. The work of God is evident in FRM. First, they come alongside what God is already doing in a country. Second, they make sure God gets the glory. Last, they are unapologetically committed to Jesus Christ, boldly sharing the love of God. The FRM team is the real deal and legit. It reminds me of Daniel 11:32, But the people of God shall carry out great exploits.
From Pastor Johnny Zacchio of Calvary Chapel of Grace and Truth, Yonkers, NY
The highlight of the trip was when we met the precious young girls who have survived the horrors of the sex trade and the amazing work that is being done to restore their lives and give hope that can only come through Jesus Christ. Not only was FRM meeting the physical needs of the children, but the spiritual need is also at the forefront to care for these young girls.
From Pastor Shawn Frasher of Calvary Chapel Morgantown, Morgantown WV
It is difficult for me to comprehend the depth of evil that leads a man to travel to a foreign country to sexually assault a little girl. Interacting with these sweet girls as young as three years old and seeing their smiles and their obvious aversion to men stirs within me a pain beyond words and a desire for God’s vengeance and justice for these innocent ones. To witness the joy and bright smile of a little one so violated has restored to me the hope of healing Jesus brings to a life. My heart breaks for the staff that serves them in their journey to healing and aids them in carrying such a heavy burden of scars. I am unable to comprehend the immense evil of these acts suffered by these beautiful girls. At the same time, I have immense empathy for these little ones so brutally wounded. Now that I know, I am compelled to act and remain unwilling to ignore what I have seen. At the close of the trip, we blessed the orphanage by purchasing a new Ford Everest with the gifts you have given for helping in the rescue of the children. Their current bus, for transporting the children, also needed a complete overhaul of the engine, so FRM spent about $5,000 to get it in tip-top condition.
We are currently preparing to build two new dormitories for boys at the orphanage. There are 40 who need a home, but currently, we have no space for them. The cost is about $80,000 for each dorm. Gabriel has asked for help sponsoring these children, and I shared that we will, but it just takes time. As we continue into an ever-darker world of evil, it is my prayer that we follow the example of our Lord, who gave His life to save ours. And we would likewise be willing to sacrifice ours for these children.
Far Reaching Ministries