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Defending the Vulnerable- Our heart for the Bateyes

Lantern Rescue / Lantern Rescue
The Truth Network Radio
March 2, 2024 12:00 pm

Defending the Vulnerable- Our heart for the Bateyes

Lantern Rescue / Lantern Rescue

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March 2, 2024 12:00 pm

Leo & Micah share about their recent trip to the Bateyes in the Dominican Republic. Known for the poverty and rejection occurring within the small villages, Bateyes hold thousands of Haitians who live in isolation from the countries around them. Micah's church has stepped in to support two of the Bateyes, giving them essential support and aid. 

 A warning: this program contains sensitive content. Listener discretion is advised.

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The following program contains sensitive content, listener discretion is advised. Welcome to Lantern Rescue, a ministry program dedicated to bringing light into the darkness of human trafficking. It's time to light the way to freedom. This is Lantern Rescue. We tell the stories, we talk about rescues, and we empower you to do something about it.

William Wilberforce once said, Let it not be said I was silent when they needed me. This is Lantern Rescue. Welcome back. Lantern Rescue with you all today. We've got some folks have been working with the Dominican Republic, both Leo again and a new friend, Micah.

And so Leo set it up for us. Hey, how you doing? Thanks.

Thanks for having me on again. So, Lantern has historically done, you know, over the last couple years, some work in the bad days in the Dominican Republic, and I know that we've talked about them on here before, but I'll kind of give a little bit of a background again, about what they are and you know what they entail and who is there. So, I visited several of them, you know, over the last couple years. And essentially they are villages comprised of mostly Asian nationals, they were brought over to the Dominican Republic generations ago to work sugar cane plantations primarily. These individuals have been at these plantations since they're, you know, now generations removed from when they were brought over. Many of them do not have birth certificates or any kind of government paperwork. So essentially, they're stuck in a limbo in these communities.

You know, if they leave, they face the possibility of deportation back to 80. And you know, for a lot of them, that's worse than where they're at, which I'll get into the conditions at these currently. There's a large number of these communities across the country. They're extremely impoverished. Some of them don't even have bathrooms, showers. And that's a significant issue, especially for kids, women.

It's not uncommon for children or women to, you know, go to the bathroom in the sugar cane fields and to be sexually assaulted. So, historically, Landon has, we've done a little bit of relief efforts with the Batase, we've donated school supplies, we've donated food, and some other things like that. But nothing long term, or in my opinion, you know, anything that would make a substantial dent in the way that these folks are living in these communities. So I got with the team here at Lantern and we discussed some different options for long term solutions and sustainability for these communities to build them up. And one of the things that I brought up was to bring in churches. You know, that's a huge resource that we haven't historically asked or utilized or tapped. And I asked the team about bringing churches in to provide better, you know, relief efforts and capabilities than we could.

And that's how I got linked up with Micah. And so, just to go back a little bit, and for a lot of listeners who I'm sure, like me, would have no idea, that the Dominican Republic and Haiti share an island, right? Correct. And so, essentially what's happened is that these Haitians were brought over as slaves into a country where they were totally treated as completely almost like classless people. And so, they literally don't speak the same language and they're like a people without a country. In Haiti, they'd be treated worse if they went back because they're not considered Haitians anymore. In the Dominican, they're not even really considered people, right? And they have no rights at all to anything whatsoever. And as a result, like you said, they're being abused, you know, by the Dominicans because what does it matter if I abuse one of them? They're not people anyway.

And so, what a horrible thing. And then isn't it true that they don't even necessarily share the language with the people of the Dominican Republic? Actually, a lot of them do speak Spanish now, but that presents one of the issues for being accepted by other Haitians.

They don't speak Creole, but that's not across the board. However, like you said, they truly are, you know, classless. They aren't belonging anymore with the Haitian population and the Dominicans, they're just kind of there. So, they are. They're stuck in these villages.

And like I said earlier, you know, if they leave, they face possible deportation to arguably an even worse part of the island. Right, right. And so, would you say bring in churches, like would those be like indigenous churches where some of the people that were in the church are actually the Batays? No, no.

I'm talking domestic U.S. help, like churches in the United States, yep. Good, good. Okay. So, that brings Micah into the equation, right?

Correct. Yeah, yep. So, I met Micah through a mutual, you know, Lantern volunteer and friend after I, you know, kind of explained to them what I had in mind with bringing in churches from the United States to be able to help in these communities. So, I met Micah not quite a year ago and talked with him about, you know, what I envisioned with these communities and asked what kind of help would even be able to be provided. So, long story short, we planned a trip to take him down and have him tour some of these communities to see firsthand what they could possibly do and what they envisioned even more than what I had in mind. So, I'm pretty excited to see not only what, you know, this particular church does, but hopefully other churches in the future.

Wow. And so, Micah, tell us about your role and your position there. Yeah, I actually just volunteered at our church and I helped serve leadership there and be a part and, you know, we've been praying at the church what we could do this past year. And the pastor actually approached me and said, hey, I think we want to start doing mission trips again to start praying about it.

And it was witnessed a couple of weeks I crossed possibly. Oh, and this opportunity rose up. So, it was already in our hearts and already on our mind to start getting more active. So, it was a pretty quick fit and we're like, we've been praying God shows the need and the need pretty much came to our front door. And so, we took advantage of this and I went along with the team to come check it out and experienced myself and kind of take notes thinking on my mind what we could do. And it just, our hearts just exploded for the opportunities that are endless there and how we could help out. Oh, so for our listeners, since this was a new experience for you, certainly, when you got there, can you kind of explain to our listeners what you found?

Yeah. And like Leo introduced, like the people with the batés, the Haitians are left there, they're not in a class. It was the first time I met someone who, in society's eyes, wasn't even a human. Like, that's how disregarded they are. And you walk into the batés and your heart just burdens for these lives.

Like, how can someone say that there is a society out there that doesn't exist to be alive or even recognized as human beings and they have no say or no part whatsoever in communities anymore on the island and there's really neglected. And it just, our hearts just broke. It was like, you know, we can't overlook this.

This is a need. And this is a group of people that, you know, God loves just as much as all of us. And we immediately wanted to respond and it was pretty easy.

Like, it was within seconds. Like, it was like, all right, we can make a difference here. We can help out. And I think the best way and the easiest way to look at that was, you know, we know that God works in love and even though there's a language barrier there, it's very easy to demonstrate love to any age group there. And just the fact acknowledging them and recognizing them and loving on them.

And like Leo said, they like to give financially good support and do food. We had the opportunity that day to feed 100 kids. And just to see the reaction in the community, you know, even when you're at home witnessing, you sit down, have dinner with someone you're trying to witness to and having food with, it really opens up the door.

The same thing happened there. And the moment we reached out and were able to help them, the response was overwhelming. And parents are walking up to us and guardians and even older kids were just high-fiving and loving on us and trying their best to understand what we were doing and what we were about. And I think it was like one of the few times where they didn't see someone come in out of hate or someone come in where they felt fear because if the Dominican government comes in there, there's a good chance they're coming to take people away.

Because they don't have papers there. But we came in and we recognized them as life and that, you know, these are vessels that God has chosen and that love's on and we just pour back onto them. And it was just, the opportunity was just overwhelming just to see how we can help out.

Right. So from, you know, if you think back to how are they clothed, what kind of conditions did they live in? It was very, very basic. If they had two outfits on them on hand, it would be a miracle.

Most people I didn't see with shoes on and if they did have clothes, it very rarely fit the way we would want our clothes to fit. And the facilities we did see there, like my personal garden shed here in the States would have been a Taj Mahal to most of the homes compared to down there. And my shed is just for gardening and lawn tools. It's nothing elaborate about. So I'm in a workshop.

It's very basic. And I'm standing at these homes and like, I don't know if I keep my own lawn tools and stuff in something like this. And how many people were in each home? We visited two different patés and I would estimate at least 30 plus families in each one.

So the one that we went to, if there's roughly 30 families, we fed 100 kids and there were still other kids there. Yeah, unbelievable. Yeah. Yeah, they're just small communities of just hundreds of people there in little pockets.

Yeah, so obviously. And what church are you involved with? Well, I hate we got to go to a break, but we do to hear a little bit more of what Lantern can bring to you. We're going to come back with a whole lot more of a long term solution and more ideas of how you can pray, how you can get involved with the patés. And we'll be right back with a whole lot more Lantern Rescue. Lantern Rescue is a USA based organization that conducts international rescue operations for people suffering from human trafficking. Lantern specializes in sending former U.S. special operation law enforcement and intelligence personnel to partner with host nations and assist them in creating specialized units to combat ongoing security problems such as genocide, terrorism and human trafficking.

As a nonprofit charity, they offer services free of charge to their host nations. Human trafficking has grown into the second largest criminal activity in the world, reaching an estimated 150 billion dollars in annual activity. Lantern Rescue has developed rapidly to combat trafficking. Lantern operates through a trained international network in order to rescue women and children from sex and labor slavery and facilitates holistic aftercare services. They're gearing up for operations right now, and you can go to to see how you can support them financially. Welcome back to Lantern Rescue today.

We're talking about some folks in the Dominican Republic called the Batés. And, Micah, a little bit more background on how did your church, you know, get connected? What's the back story behind that with Lantern and this project?

So I'll run with that one. I know I touched a little bit earlier about how we got linked up, and I just feel this is kind of a powerful, relevant, you know, story. But I had taken another Lantern volunteer down on a trip and explained to them, you know, what I wanted to do long term, as I was saying with the Batés. And this volunteer got back to our area, and it was maybe two days, and they called me super excited and said, you know, hey, I just ran into this guy.

I haven't seen him in forever. And, you know, just it was weird, like I felt like I needed to go up to him and talk to him about this because I know he's heavily involved in a local church. So he did. And when he pulled Micah aside, and that was when Micah said that they had, you know, as he said earlier, been praying for their mission trips and to, you know, get some guidance with that with God. And here this volunteer pulled him aside and asks about if they'd be interested in helping us, which Micah didn't know who we were at the time. But soon after that meeting is when Micah and I met up, and I, you know, kind of filled him in about who we are and what we do. And I just wanted to highlight this story because, you know, God's timing. And although it's kind of, you know, minute circumstances just with he and I, but to take down one volunteer, comes back two days later, finds Micah, and we get linked up. And now the incredible things that they're willing to do in the Dominican, you know, what other explanation than God lining up, you know, individuals to help these people. Yeah, and I call it God raises up people for such a time as this. And so Micah, as you came through there, you know, God began to give you a vision on a way to create some long-term solutions, right?

Yeah. And like Leo mentioned in the first half, the need there because the women and children, because they don't have facilities there. And even the young boys and others, when they go into the sugarcane fields to go to the bathroom, that's when they're being assaulted or sometimes even taken. Um, so lantern then, and the team has been talking and we're like, Hey, maybe bathrooms. And so as we're there at the back is, um, we just had a vision for it and like, Hey, we can, we can build these bathrooms. They're very simple to build. And I even got talking to my contact down there and started doing the math and something as simple as building four bathroom stalls and two showers in the wash basin, um, enclosed. So they have privacy can be done for under 4,000 US dollars. And I was like, that's a no brainer.

Like you can't even build a half bath for that in the States right now and we can get four bathrooms and showers like that. That makes total sense. And so we got talking to some of the community leaders there and they explained the need and how simple is, um, but these are the materials for it. Or even a lot of the men we were there weren't there because they were out working the sugarcane fields all day long.

So by the time they get back, they're just sleeping and going right back out there again. And so there's just a need out there to just to help out. And so we're going to take advantage of that and we're going to look at.

Um, setting up a program and we're getting ready, we're going to do a pilot one, hopefully a little bit later this year and kind of get that layout done. So when other churches contact lantern, like, Hey, we want to help physically, I know the financial needs amazing. And the prayer need is phenomenal.

We don't want to overlook the prayer needle, but they ever want to give it physically and be a part. We will have it laid out and we'll out plan turn, just have a plan. Like here's, when a group comes down, here's how we get the materials, so much in the cost.

And here's the outline of how to build these bathrooms. And, and we think long-term to just doing a simple need like that or for us. Um, so the people that that is our hearts be prepared to even receive more.

Um, we've heard of other programs where they give gifts to Katie's and out of that, they end up doing a VBS because the kids get involved and how the VBS then a small group forms. The next thing there's a church. And so if we can build a bathroom to get us access into these that tastes just a level on them and start small church programs and it eventually grows and becomes a full blown church and community.

Then we're fulfilling more than we could ever do in our own. And this is just a God opportunity to be able to bless the people that way. Yeah.

I love what you said to me a little while ago during the break that if we were known as the church of the bathrooms, that's still perfectly okay. If it's, if God's using that obviously to, you know, bring light into his community and this a community could use some light, right? Yeah.

Yeah. And it's not about the name of the church on that, above that door or whatever. It's just, you know, we're the church representing God.

And so if we call it the bathroom church, like I kind of said, jokingly beforehand, um, then so be it. That's what opened the opportunity for us to just reach and say these people, cause you know, we talked about how neglected they are, but if you're at that lowest point, they are definitely searching and they're searching in the wrong areas to be satisfied. And they're looking for whatever to grasp and, and that's why voodoo is popping in the areas cause they're just looking for something to give them help. And it's a spiritual battle, but they're also looking to substances and, um, other things to help fill that hurt. And so we want to come in there and just replace that with God's love and let them say, Hey, you know, you don't need a search anymore.

You don't be satisfied by any substance or any action, but you know, God can fill that void and he can be your satisfaction. And there's cause the God there loves you and wants to be real things. And so, and even in that short time we were there, we laid hands on some of these kids and actually got to pray with them and our one interpreter was shocked because he did not think they would be open to that. But I know it's because we came down and gave food to the kids. The parents didn't want to reject that they were like, all right, these people were here for a positive reason.

Let's see what else they can do. And so it was just a blessing to go to lay hands on some of these kids. Cause there's, there's sores, they have sores and sicknesses and there's kids crippled and you know, some have eye issues and other, other health issues and it's a big deal.

And so, but they can't even get the basic needs of being covered. And so, um, we just wanted to see God move and do some miracles and we're really believing for signs and wonders that happened because of us doing this and working on the bathrooms. That's so awesome. And so Leo, you wanted to make sure we got word on how, you know, there's plenty of room for more, right?

Yeah, exactly. So outside the Dominican Republic, we are, we're a global organization and, you know, just in the time that I've been with lantern and the discussions I've had with churches, um, even outside the one that Micah is a member of. But, uh, other organizations, a lot of these organizations and churches are just looking for direction, direction on, you know, who to help, where to help, how they can help. And I think with lanterns, you know, outreach and our networks, you know, we can provide an avenue to connect these organizations and churches to be able to help in areas around the world that need it, such as the bad days. And, uh, you know, we're not done, we're not done growing. We're not done, you know, getting to some of these communities that we haven't been able to in the past.

And, you know, we're ready for it. We're ready to tackle it, um, with, uh, with, you know, Micah and this particular church and hopefully more in the future. And so if I were like a youth leader or what kind of groups, you know, are you hoping to get to come down there?

Just, you know, similar, um, uh, obviously it's not for everybody everywhere that we're at. Um, it would be, you know, we're gonna, we're gonna do our own vetting obviously, but church groups as far as, you know, youth groups, um, other nonprofits that humanitarian related. Um, but I'm curious to see where this heads and we're just getting started out down this avenue. So I'm hoping it's successful. And I'm, I have a great feeling already with, uh, Micah and the church that's involved that it's already headed down that path. Yeah, it sure sounds like it is headed down that path.

There's no doubt that it is. So people go to, right? And there, and there you're going to see all different ways to connect to people. And certainly you can just mention the batés and that that's something that you want to work on. And believe me, these guys are going to get back with you as they are looking for resources, you know, maybe just feel the need to give to the batés and to the bathrooms or to this situation.

Again, just mark that on your donations or reach out to somebody there through the Land and Rescue contact page. And we want to make that happen, right, Leo? Yeah, absolutely. Like, you know, at the end of the day, human trafficking is our mission. And we can't turn a blind eye in some of these countries that we're in, just because something may fall a little bit outside of our mission. Maybe we can't help directly with that because of our mission, but I'm going to do my best with our networks to find the people that can and to point them in the right direction.

Right. And so one of the giant things we all can do, right, Leo and Micah, and if you could be thinking about it while the other one speaks, we'll start out with you, Leo, you know, how would you have our listeners pray for this situation specifically? For this situation in particular? Everything that, you know, Micah touched on with what he saw in these communities, and this is just two communities in, you know, the grand scheme of things, a much bigger picture. So I would, I would pray first and foremost, for these children, for their parents, for everyone in the communities that's affected. I mean, I honestly don't even know where to begin.

The conditions there by our standards are horrific. You know, just pray for general health, pray for physical conditions to be improved and, you know, just give them some hope. How about you, Micah?

Yeah. Other than echoing what Leo said, I think let's continue to pray for wisdom. I feel like God's going to give us discernment and how to, one, reach the need, but also be faithful with the talents we have and the finances that come through. But we need to continue to pray for the victims. And I think it's also important to continue to pray for the traffickers too. I mean, we've heard this in other episodes, these traffickers were victims, a large number have been victims themselves, and this carries on its cycle. And so let's just pray that they get the love of Christ and they have opportunities.

I mean, we'll make sure that the law carries out and does what it needs to do to make correction, but we want to see these people, everyone ultimately make it and go to the kingdom of God. So continue to pray for the team. And even when I was down there, we knew our local church was praying and other team members were from around the world. We knew other churches were praying and we actually could steal that.

And you could actually sense that. God was up before us and the opportunities we had just to be able to be a blessing. And I know Lantern can't tell every day exactly what's going on. And so I just, I mean, my kids, we pray every night for Lantern.

He mentioned it by name and we don't know what's going on today, but decisions are being made and wisdom is needed every day. And so I would just encourage the church to just add this to their prayer list daily and just keep lifting it up and allow God to move and have his way. That's so awesome. Well, thank you guys so much. God bless you. And we will keep praying.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-03-02 14:25:25 / 2024-03-02 14:36:00 / 11

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