All Hands In is a non-profit organization located in Arlington, MA dedicated to raising awareness about human trafficking and assisting survivors who have been exploited and trafficked. Through their events they work to dispel the myth that human trafficking only happens overseas. It happens in our own backyard. The Department of Justice estimates that over 300,000 children in the United States are at risk of being trafficked into sexual slavery.
One of the major goals of All Hands In is to provide and support a house in the Greater Boston area for survivors. Through this residential program they hope to offer a Community of Healing - mentally, physically, and spiritually. Currently, All Hands In offers an annual retreat, Sanctuary by the Sea, for survivors and is working one-on-one with local survivors and other organizations.
First Baptist Church of Weston is committed to assisting All Hands In in any way we can. On April 6th at 7:30 pm we are attending a showing of "Caged No More" at the Showcase Cinema in Woburn. Tickets must be purchased at www.allhandsinma.org/#events by March 31st.
If this topic speaks to you, won't you join us? We need ALL hands in!
Cows for Bulgaria
One of our favorite mssions is the donation of cows to Bulgarian farmers through American Baptist International Ministries. To date, we have raised enough money to purchase two cows for Bulgarian farmers by selling stuffed cows wearing our "Moooved to Share" slogan. These adorable cows are available for a mere $10 donation at any church function.
Here are a few words about the project from Tom and Terry Myers, American Baptist missionaries in Bulgaria:
"One of the biggest issues we have faced is changing regulations because of Bulgaria's entrance into the European Union. This is especially true for the families that have dairy cows and are selling the milk. We have been working with them to get the correct information on steps they must take to meet the new regulations.
The major concern for these families is their milking barns. Many of the new regulations deal with sanitation issues, so the milking barns must be updated. This includes plastering walls, putting in tile, adding septic systems, and having hot water available.
Fortunately, not everything has to be done at once, but the families must continue making steady progress during the next year in order to be considered for registration. Being registered makes them eligible to receive government assistance and any European Union subsidies that might be available. In the time since that meeting, each of the families has been working on individual plans and estimating the costs of the work that needs to be done. Tom is now working on finalizing the course of action with each of the families involved.
The process of moving forward with this cow project has been lengthy. We want to be certain that the steps that are taken are well thought-out, and that the families will be able to continue to sell their milk and make a living for themselves."
Bulgaria is a country still struggling to find its way in a free market economy. Many areas outside the capital city of Sofia have unemployment rates greater than 90%. Here, Tom Myers and the local Baptist churches are developing ways to help families by creating long-term solutions to the problems of unemployment, while ministering to the families’ immediate needs. One of the ways they are helping is to provide micro-enterprise loans that enable individuals and families to start their own businesses or to expand existingbusinesses. In addition, Tom and the local churches are helping families by providing animals, seeds, fertilizers, and the necessary training so the people can raise some of their own food.
At the same time, Terry is involved in teaching English to a group of teenage orphans who attend an after-school program near the orphanage where they live. She is also involved in developing markets for handicrafts made by the women of the Baptist churches. In addition to these responsibilities, Terry coordinates the partnership between the Baptist Union of Bulgaria and International Ministries. In this position, she provides the link between American Baptist congregations and individuals in the U.S. and Puerto Rico and Baptist churches in Bulgaria that are interested in developing closer relationships.
The vibrant and growing Baptist Union of Bulgaria currently has 65 churches and 4,562 members.