In April 2018, ONE man attended a HOPE61 training program in Kiteezi, Uganda, to learn how to prevent human trafficking in his area. In HOPE61 training, participants learn what is causing people to be vulnerable to becoming involved in human trafficking. They also learn that EVERYONE has assets, skills, and resources to help those in their community who are vulnerable. This man realized that young men in his community were vulnerable to becoming involved in human trafficking because they were uneducated and unable to obtain good employment to provide for their families. Many young men, in this situation, end up seeking work overseas, and this is one of the easiest traps that traffickers can use to enslave people.
This young man also knew that he had a skill for furniture making and other types of woodworking. He decided to begin training these young men in carpentry and furniture making skills as a way to reduce their vulnerability to human trafficking. He opened a storefront and called the business Blessed Furniture. At Blessed Furniture, these young men have learned to make beds and dressers, as well as more detailed woodworking like turning bowls and chalices on a lathe. They are making a good wage now and will soon have the skills to open their own businesses. The activity around the small shop is all based on the love of Jesus Christ, and the message of the Gospel is being shared with the young men working there and many other people who pass by the shop. This young man understood that as he ENGAGES ONE, HE IS ABLE TO REACH MANY.
There is a particular Muslim girl who is a friend of one of the young men. She has been hanging around the shop with her friend and hearing about the love of Jesus and his desire for all to be saved by calling upon his name. Although she has not accepted this gift yet, she is well on her way to welcoming Jesus into her life. This is what HOPE61 is all about. Encouraging people to use their own gifts and resources to help those around them, sharing the Gospel with them, and welcoming them into the community of the local church to be discipled in the Word is the vision for the HOPE61 ministry.
By Tom Overton, Director of HOPE61