Archive for June, 2009

Hi Friends!

I hope this note finds you well and enjoying the beautiful sunshine of late spring! It has been absolutely lovely here these past couple weeks – I’m especially enjoying the warm evenings, extra sunshine, blossoming flowers, and short lapse in schoolwork. : ) With term papers in and finals taken, I’ve shifted my attention to the months ahead… I’ve been given an extraordinary opportunity to spend a month working with Bombay Teen Challenge (BTC) in Mumbai, India!!!

For years I’ve been interested in international relief and development work, particularly in working with people who are in a state of transition and trauma (i.e. victims of natural disasters, refugee populations, women coming out of prostitution). I’ve taken classes on war and human rights, watched documentaries on trafficking, and written papers on honor killings in India. I am also taking a class on global sex trafficking this summer to prepare for this trip. 

I’ve learned so much this past year (I started working on a master’s in pastoral studies at Multnomah)… and yet in the forefront of it all is simply God. He loves each of the prostitutes in Mumbai, just as He loves each of you who are reading this, just as He loves me. That truth is powerful – incredibly beautiful and sincerely humbling. ..I don’t have all the answers to the problems in Mumbai, but as this opportunity unfolds before me I am walking one step at a time toward it. I invite you to walk with me… I even started a blog for the occasion! Ok, here’s a little more about the internship…

The internship is through the Home Foundation, a Nashville-based organization dedicated to helping victims of sex trafficking. Founded by Christian musician Natalie Grant, the organization has partnered with World Vision, International Justice Mission, Not For Sale Campaign, and others in its efforts to “educate communities, build shelters and orphanages, and provide medical equipment to those ministering to the victims of trafficking”(thehomefoundation.net). 

The internship (July 12 – August 9) involves working both with people who have come out of the commercial sex trade, and those who are vulnerable to becoming entrenched in it. In the past interns have volunteered in a variety of different capacities: at women’s homes ministering to those coming out of prostitution and their children, with children at an AIDS orphans home, and with the mobile feeding program to the homeless (bombaytc.org).

The internship is unpaid, but the foundation has graciously awarded me a scholarship that covers 70 percent of the travel costs. They have asked me to raise financial support for the remaining 30 percent (approx. $800). If you would like to share in my journey in this way, please send your tax-deductible donation to the Home Foundation Inc. Their mailing address is PO Box 50165 in Nashville, TN 37205. Please indicate that it is for my internship by including a note along with your check (made payable to the Home Foundation). The accompanying note is important; it will ensure the donation goes toward my internship instead of into the organization’s general fund.

Devon, my fellow intern, and I would LOVE to have your prayers as we head out this summer. Specifically, please pray for wisdom, health, and safety. Please also pray for the women we will be working with – they have been through much! Mumbai, India’s principal port, has four-times the population density of New York City. Of its 18 million residents nearly half are homeless. It is hot, crowded, corrupt, and has been bombed in 1993, 2003, 2006, and (by gunmen) 2008. Please pray!  

Thank you for being a wonderful part of my life! All my very best, -Heidi : )


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… a little info on the city formerly known as BOMBAY…

Mumbai is the capital of the third largest state in India, Maharashtra. It’s the home of Bollywood, where more than 900 films are produced each year. The estimated global audience of Bollywood films (3.6 billion) trumps even that of Hollywood (2.5 billion).

There is money in Mumbai… for some. Though the city’s citizens pay a third of India’s taxes, and the port deals with half of India’s foreign trade, almost HALF the population is homeless. In a city of more than 18 million people, that’s a lot of people. Perhaps you saw a glimpse of the underbelly of Mumbai in the recent Oscar winning film “Slumdog Millionaire”.

It’s crowded. The population density is four times greater than that of New York City. The city exists on a narrow spit of land. Originally the area consisted of seven islands, which were inhabited by fishing communities. The largest island was given to the English in the 1600s, and it took on the name Bombay.

Peace is not always present. Strikes, riots, and bombs have cast their shadows on the city. In 1992-93 mobs murdered thousands. In March of 1993 ten bomb blasts killed 260 people. In August 2003, bomb attacks killed 107 tourists by the Gateway of India. In July 2006, bombs tore apart seven crowded commuter trains. And most recently, in November 2008, gunmen killed 160 people during a three-day siege.

It’s tropical. Located on the Arabian sea, on the western coast of India, Mumbai sits at just 8 meters above sea level. There are a number of beaches! The weather is hot, and sometimes humid; monsoon rains come during the summer months.  

Different religions are represented. Hinduism is the most widely observed religion in Mumbai, but Islam, Jainism, Zoroastrianism (Parsi, too), and Christianity are also found here.

Can you find MUMBAI? ...look on the West coast (green color)

Can you find MUMBAI? ...look on the West coast (green color)

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