God spoke the vision of Homes of Hope 22 years ago to a couple of very young, ignorant, idealistic Americans. He spoke about the HoH mandate to break cycles of sexual exploitation and to create a culture of freedom. That crazy American couple had no idea what they were in for.
Through the years, we have come to realize that running a residential campus is the easy part. Our campus has dealt with over 1,000 women, girls, and children who have bi-polar issues, depression, suicidal tendencies, run-aways, demonic possession, fights, self-harming, parental abandonment and/or abuse…the list is endless. But, working with those issues is easier than getting centuries-old mindsets to change within families, government, communities and villages.
The first Fijian inhabitants came from Melanesia some 3,500 years ago. That is a very, very long time for a people group to become set and entrenched in beliefs, cultural norms, and attitudes. It hasn’t been until the last decade that churches, politicians and individuals are willing to even mention the word “sex”, yet alone to discuss it. Even then, most rural villages still consider anything relating to “sex” taboo.
If you look at some of the work that we do within communities when we reintegrate a resident you can see we are replicating ourselves and helping to establish new paradigms. Every outreach session conducted and every resident’s family that is educated and sensitized replicates the ideologies of Homes of Hope: sex is holy and God-ordained when it is between a husband and wife; women and children have value.
Another way Homes of Hope replicates our work is through our staff. Each staff member has groups of people surrounding them whom they can sensitize and educate. We provide regular staff training regarding issues, policies and laws surrounding forced sex. We also encourage our staff to receive further formal education that can deepen the services of HoH. Sometimes, staff leave our employment for a job elsewhere, but they take the knowledge gained with them to help sensitize others.
Three of our Social Service Department employees received their Diploma in Counseling (APTC – Australian Pacific Technical Coalition) at the end of November, from left to right: Seki, Makarita, and Alita. Seki will remain working at HoH, but Ma and Alita will be moving on to other opportunities.
Would you consider investing into one of our staff so that we can continue to replicate our work? Are you available to come to our campus and run a staff training time? Would you be willing to help pay for a salary? Would you consider providing financial support for one or more of our staff to attend a short course training provided for by an accredited institution?