Freedom from trafficking: a story from Kenya

By October 31, 2016

Kenya (MNN) — When we’re truly listening for God’s call, it’s amazing where He might lead us. Set Free Ministries has seen this over and over again as they seek to help people break through the bondage of sin in this world.

Set Free works with many schools that give children, some orphans, a chance for a better life (Photo courtesy of Set Free via Facebook).

Set Free works with many schools that give children, some orphans, a chance for a better life. (Photo courtesy of Set Free via Facebook)

Dean Vander Mey, Executive Director, says, “What we discovered at Set Free is if we just are faithful to our Heavenly Father, and listen to His heart, He leads us to those people and those places.”

One of their newer ministry focuses is rescuing women from sex-trafficking, particularly in Kenya. A few years back, Vander Mey received a disturbing email from a contact in Kenya who said a small “Christian” orphanage was a front for trafficking a group of young girls in the cities. They asked for help rescuing the girls.

Vander Mey contacted their friends at the boarding school nearby — an institution Set Free Ministries was already supporting. With the police, they were able to confirm the allegations. These 24 girls were taken to the cities every weekend to be sold for sex.

The director of the orphanage ran. But what was going to happen to the girls? Vander Mey says they had to help.

“Sincere love hates evil enough to do something about it,” he says, referencing Romans 12:9.

The boarding school worked with Kenyan officials and brought the girls to live with them. Because of the relationship they’d built with the officials, they were able to rescue over 100 girls throughout the next couple years. That is how Set Free has been privileged to be a part of God shining into the darkness in Kenya.

Fast forward to last summer…

When visiting the boarding school, Vander Mey was approached by a man who had traveled eight hours to meet with Set Free. This man, Pastor Edward, had been doing everything he could to help protect girls from trafficking. The area he lived in was known for sex trafficking, and many girls were extremely vulnerable. But, Pastor Edward had no more resources to give and needed help.

(Photo courtesy of Set Free Ministries).

(Photo courtesy of Set Free Ministries).

He had sold his family cow to pay for food for the girls and was teaching them with nothing more than the shade of trees for a school building.

After vetting this man and the situation, Set Free was able to help purchase a school through the generosity of a donor. This school now provides a safe place for these girls to get an education, live, and grow as well as learn about Jesus.

Vander Mey says, “When we find people like that over in Kenya who are already engaged in helping orphans and widows in distress, and helping the vulnerable children in distress, we want to come alongside them and say, ‘You know what? We’re in. We want to be a part of this.’”

But what about the director of the orphanage who was exploiting the girls? Is his sin too great to be forgiven?

Set Free has helped rescue these girls from the consequences of other people’s sin, but they also desire to help people turn from their own sin. Vander Mey recently met with somebody who committed a sexual sin and was paying the consequences for it. But there was one message he wanted this man to hear.

He told him, “There’s no sin done that can’t be forgiven — that’s already been bought and paid for at the cross of Jesus. And he wept, openly, as he received the grace of God that was needed to deal with the guilt and shame of what he had done.”

If we can’t accept that God can forgive the darkest and most evil of sins, Vander Mey says we must remember Saul of Tarsus. He was the great persecutor of Christians and committed horrible crimes against them. But then Jesus arrested him on the road to Damascus and changed his heart, forgave him, and gave him a new calling in life.

“For those who think they’ve done something so heinous and so wrong that they can’t be forgiven, they don’t know God the way He should be known. They don’t understand the sin they have done has already been paid for, and all they have to do is grab hold of salvation through confession and renouncement.”

To learn more about Set Free Ministries and how you can get involved, click here.

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