March 28, 2024

Students Traumatized by War Find New Home

marketplace ministries partner endures harrowing experience amid armed conflict

Late this past January, when fighting broke out between government and opposition forces in a volatile region of Southeast Asia, a student center run by Silver Lining Missions (a partner organization of The Alliance’s marketplace ministries) found itself in a war zone. The center’s mission is to break the cycle of poverty and exploitation engulfing many Southeast Asian orphans and other vulnerable youth. The teachers acted swiftly and heroically to evacuate the children. However, during the evacuation, the military captured the staff and students, detained them for 10 hours, and made them watch the fighting. By God’s grace, they were safely released, but deeply traumatized. That evening they found shelter at the home of a staff’s relative.

“Our former center is situated on a hill and is a strategic vantage point for fighting, so we’ve been advised that returning there would be dangerous,” says Josh, a representative of Silver Lining Missions. “We found a new building for the center, which our local staff say should be much safer than the previous one. It is also bigger and can house up to 60 children. We were able to successfully rent the building, and the kids have been quick to adapt to their new home. They’ve been excited about the surrounding areas and the new church community now that we’re in the city center.” Because the children are unable to attend public school, the center employs its own teachers. Since the evacuation of the previous site, students have resumed their lessons, attending classes six hours a day in English, math, science, and the local language.

The youth center also plays a vital role in the spiritual development of the children. Through Silver Lining Missions and its partnership with The Alliance, students grow in their understanding of God’s Word during devotionals, worship sessions, and Bible studies. They also deepen their connection with God and one another through group prayer and fellowship. In a recent Zoom call from their new building, the children performed “Come, Now Is the Time to Worship” for Alliance National Office staff as a testimony to the adversity they have overcome through the sustaining love of God and the steadfast prayers of the worldwide Alliance family.

Please pray for the children’s ongoing transition into the new building and for their emotional and psychological healing after witnessing the horrors of war. Pray that in their new location, the staff can provide more opportunities for the kids to grow and thrive. Also, pray that the center can accept more children soon. “We are realizing that the need is becoming greater with the conflict in the area increasing daily,” Josh says.

Josh also conveyed that “a recent law has us deeply concerned.” In February, the government mandated that all males ages 18–35 and all females ages 18–27 be conscripted into the nation’s military, with the exception of those who are married.

This law was withdrawn a decade ago but has resurfaced since government forces began to suffer heavy losses. “We ask for prayer that God will keep our children and staff safe and away from conscription.” Pray, too, for a swift resolution to the conflict and for peace to be restored in this region and throughout the country.

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