Thank you for your encouragement! It truly means a lot.
Prayer: I appreciate you asking how you can pray for the ministries. I think sometimes, especially in overwhelming situations like where Wellspring works, we can think of prayer as a secondary thing. We say we’ll pray for someone passively, but in cases like these we want to actually DO something. But of course, that is exactly what prayer is-it is doing something. It is a powerful tool to engage with the heart of the Lord.
One of the biggest needs many of the ministries need prayer covering for is the well-being of their staff. They are truly in the trenches day in and day out. Burnout, compassion fatigue, and secondary trauma are common for them. When one walks closely with others who are hurting it affects them and they carry it into their personal lives. Wellspring is aware of this and has made staff care a priority, providing counseling and staff outings when possible, but the need is vast.
Pray for the protection over their hearts, their relationships with their families, their relationship with the Lord. Pray for wisdom on how best to serve, pray for the vulnerability to reach out for help and guidance when it is needed, pray for the resources to do their work. Of course, another prayer need is the actual individuals they work with: women caught in the sex industry, refugees, burn victims, children who have been abandoned, and more.
Local church: As far as the local church, we do not necessarily work through them. Each organization we support is a little different in how they operate. When an existing organization applies for funding with Wellspring, we have an extensive due diligence process to determine which organizations to financially support, but we do not oversee the running of the organizations. Therefore, their engagement with the local church is at their discretion. Some of the organizations are tied really closely to one church. Others have staff members involved with a variety of churches. Others are not connected to the church at all. While we do believe in the value of a local church and encourage that especially for support and community, this ultimately falls back on the organizations themselves to decide the level at which to engage with the church.
Obstacles: As far as obstacles we face, the ones you listed are definitely a reality. Each organization in their specific cultural context may answer that question differently. But on the whole, I think bureaucracy is a big one. Many of the leaders have strong stances on not paying bribes and following a legal process. While in our cultural setting here in the US that may not seem like a big obstacle, in many of the countries where we work paying bribes or finding shortcuts is the norm. To have a strong stance against this can be not only unusual but also dangerous.
As you mentioned, stigma is another obstacle. I think of the project we support in Romania. They work with Romanians who have been trafficked both inside and outside of the country. They assist with the repatriation of those individuals back to Romania and the after-care for them. Their work is viewed in a negative light by much of the culture. Generally speaking, in that culture, victims of trafficking are not seen as victims. The assumption is that she must have done something to end up in this situation. She must have ‘asked’ for it. Additionally, trafficking is tied to prostitution, which is looked at as a one of the lowest disgraces to their society. So not only do the individuals who have been trafficked carry a stigma, but the staff who chooses to work with them does as well.
Thank you again, Sean, for your heart and your prayers!