One of our greatest joys in S.E. Asia is working with the fine folks at SDSU, which ministers to those in need throughout the country.
SDSU is the social development arm of the largest protestant church in the country. They minister to immigrant workers helping them receive health care and education for their children. SDSU also works with government agencies to help refugees obtain legal status in the country. They also do agricultural projects such as cattle, chicken and pig farming for poor hilltribe communities.
SDSU works within the chosen community and provides training for those villagers who willingly meet the requirements. SDSU starts with a small number of participants but each program is to be self-sustaining. The participants know that other community members are depending upon their success and ability to repay the project for others to begin. SDSU provides the startup money to initially buy the livestock and then the program participants repay that money so others can join the project.
Another ministry involves providing a children’s educational and youth sports center in the capital city’s largest slum. Day laborers come from all across the country hoping to be able to find work in the nearby shipyards. Most of these desperate people have little or no education themselves. They survive from day to day with what work they can find. The housing in this slum is actually built on top of a swampy area. The housing is makeshift.
The education and sport center provides a safe sanctuary for the children. The staff themselves live in this area and have been ministering to this community for decades.
The children living here face unbelievable hardships and would not be able to further their primary education without the center. Not only does the center provide the educational boost needed for some of these children to be able to attend primary school, it also provides one meal a day. For many children, this may be the only nutritious meal they receive each day.
The educational center has recently celebrated graduation, and graduating from the educational center is a significant achievement for the children and their parents. The sense of pride and accomplishment they experience provides hope and encourages them to keep moving forward.
Hunter is a CBF field personnel serving alongside his wife, Mary, in Southeast Asia. Learn more about and support their ministries at www.cbf.net/huntermary.